Article by Declan Taylor
“50 bring a smile to your face. 60? They’re damn-near barbecuing on that motherfucker.
“Go down to 20, they get their bitch on. Get their blood complaining.”
“But 40? Nobody gives a fuck about 40.”
Now for all of us who choose to pay monthly for Sky Sports and Box Nation while keeping a close eye on offerings from the likes of Channel 5 and Eurosport, it’s fair to say we have grown accustomed to 40 degree days or should I say Saturday nights.
That’s not to say the temperature doesn’t creep up towards 50 or 60 but sometimes we wait weeks or months for those really sun-kissed evenings.
That is why Eddie Hearn should be commended for the show he and his team have constructed for Saturday night at Liverpool’s Echo Arena.
First I’d just like to make clear that I am not suggesting that Hearn or any of the Matchroom mob have ever sold crack cocaine or any other type of drug in west Baltimore.
But what they do is stack their cards high and sell them cheap, £16.95 to be precise.
Again, some of us who already pay a hefty monthly fee to Sky in order to watch their sports programming may feel we’ve had our pants pulled down somewhat. Why are we paying more for a service that we already shell out for?
The answer lies in the ‘product’, as Stringer Bell would say.
You don’t need telling that this card is piled with talent. Forget the main event: George Groves, James DeGale, Anthony Joshua, Scott Quigg, Jamie McDonnell, Callum Smith and others. Ok they might not be gearing up for the kind of war you’d write home about but these people need paying and they’re not cheap.
Then of course there is Tony Bellew and Nathan Cleverly who are gearing up for exactly that. They need paying even more and rightly so.
So it is a simple question of mathematics. How much does Hearn get paid by Sky for a normal 40-degree day? How much will he need to pay everyone in Liverpool? The sums don’t add up. That is where your nearly-17 quid comes in.
Or not if you don’t want to. And rest assured if enough people choose not to pay to watch this particular night of boxing it won’t go unnoticed. Hearn, so often a master of hyperbole, needed none this time around when he said ‘don’t like it? Don’t buy it’. Call it voting with your feet.
But cast your mind back over the past few years and consider what we’ve had to pay for on Sky Sports Box Office before. When it comes to value for money, pound-for-pound, this is one of the best ones, Wembley aside.
And the main event could turn into one of the best fights we’ve seen for a long time, if you take into account their first 12-round war, the water under the bridge since and the evident bad blood throughout the build-up.
If you haven’t seen it yet, make sure you watch the footage of the head-to-head from the final press conference and do your best to make out what Bellew’s saying. These two properly loathe each other.
“I think he’ll hate me a bit more after today,” Bellew told Kugan after Thursday’s final press conference.
“Hate is a very strong word and I only hate two people in this world – I think you know who those two people are.”
But he wouldn’t be pushed on exactly what he said to Cleverly in their heated face-off. When asked what he said: “Nothing. I just asked him a couple of questions. Nothing important.
“You’d have to ask him that. I asked a question and he answered it.
“People say: ‘he’s said this, he’s said that’ but I’m not making stuff up, I’m just bringing things to light.
“If you want to get under someone’s skin, you’d tell lies or assasinate their character. Say things to undermine them.
“I’m not saying anything like that. I’m just telling the truth.”
Cleverly, meanwhile, reckons it is Bellew’s feelings towards him that will end up costing him.
Clev told Kugan: “If someone makes you hate them so much, they’ve obviously got inside your head, to make them hate you.
“I’m in his head, I’ve beat him once, he’s bitter. I’ve won all the titles he’s had and he hates me for that. It’s a weakness.”
To watch both interviews in full, and catch up on all the pre-fight build-up with the other boxers on the card, make sure you stay tuned to IFL TV.
And while you’re at it, you might be well advised to dust off the BBQ and get out the suncream.
We could be set for a November heat wave on Merseyside.