Matchroom and the Sky Sports cameras return to Belfast this Saturday night, however the chief support bout for the Ryan Burnett v Lee Haskins card has been struck from the bill.
A cruiserweight fight, for an unspecified title, between Belfast’s Tommy McCarthy [9(5)-1(0)] and Cork-Cuban Mike Perez [21(13)-2(1)-1] had been agreed for the card at the SSE Odyssey Arena on June 10th.
Over the weekend however, following a period of rumour, it would emerge that the fight would no longer take place – and from this there would be claims that the fight was never a runner in the first place.
Matchroom boss Eddie Hearn would claim that McCarthy’s manager Pat Magee, after having agreed to the bout, had pulled out. The English promoter described how Magee had fears that Perez would not show, that he has no visa, and that he is overweight – all of which were rebuked by Hearn.
The Lenadoon man explained how “I never received any terms or a contract to fight Perez.”
“Pat [Magee] negotiates on my behalf and emails have been going back and forth, but there hasn’t been any contract sent to me.”
“I am game as a badger as long as the money is good, but a fight purse has never been mentioned to me.
“I never received a contract or was allocated any tickets to sell. There were no terms discussed with me. How can I agree to a fight when I don’t know how much the purse is and what title I am fighting for?”
Also today, Hearn would speak to IFL TV where he claimed that a purse and terms had been agreed with Magee for the fight – before reiterating how the Belfast manager pulled McCarthy out of the fight due to his fears over Perez’s reliability.
Hearn outlined how, after initial discussions on the fight, “Pat Magee came back back and said ‘we’re up for the fight, this is what we want.'”
“I came back, deal done, all agreed.”
“Then, last week, he came back to me, Pat Magee, McCarthy’s manager, [and said] ‘I’m concerned about Perez.'”
While Magee remains sceptical of Perez’s place on the card, and pushed for McCarthy to face another opponent, Hearn noted how the fight with ‘The Rebel’ is still a possibility.
“He [Magee] came back and said ‘there’s going to be lot of disappointed people in Belfast that Tommy McCarthy is not fighting,’ – this was last night.”
“I said ‘Pat, he [McCarthy] can fight, he can fight Mike Perez who we’ve already agreed the fight for.'”
“[Magee said] ‘No, if you want him in another fight I’m happy, but not Mike Perez.'”
While Hearn, and indeed the vast majority of the Irish boxing community, does not believe that McCarthy is in any way avoiding a fight with Perez, the Matchroom boss feels Magee is unwilling to see the clash take place.
“They [Team McCarthy] have just decided they don’t want to fight Mike Perez, basically. I don’t even think it’s Tommy McCarthy.”
“When it came down to it, it sounded like a great idea at the outset, and then over time though ‘maybe not.’
Watch Eddie Hearn’s interview with IFL TV below (McCarthy-Perez discussion from 29 minutes onwards)
The Burnett-Haskins undercard at present comprises of an Irish cruiserweight title fight between Luke Watkins and Ian Tims, Feargal McCrory v Paul Holt, James Tennyson v Ben Jones, Paul Hyland v Adam Dingsdale and appearances from Carl McDonald, Sean Magee, Matt Wilton, Tyrone McCullagh, Padraig McCrory, Paddy Gallagher, and the return of Mike Perez.
Tickets for ‘Belfast Boy’ on June 10th at the SSE Odyssey Arena cost £30, £40, £60, £100, and £150 (VIP), and can be bought from the boxers involved or HERE.