Daniel Gregory’s column - Boxing fans getting a raw deal with television deals

Share your opinion on Daniel's column - Tweet @mrdanielgregory or email daniel.gregory@jpress.co.uk

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I was really disappointed when news broke that Ricky Hatton’s return to the ring against Vyacheslav Senchenko on November 24 will be televised on pay-per-view channel Primetime.

That means that despite paying the already scandalous subscription fees for the full Sky Sports packages and also paying an extra £10 per month for new channel Boxnation, I still won’t be able to watch Hatton’s big return unless I shell out another £14.95.

Boxer Ricky Hatton poses for photographers after announcing his opponent Vyacheslav Senchenko for his comeback fight on November 24th, during a photo call at the Manchester Arena, Manchester. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Friday September 28, 2012. Photo credit should read: Dave Thompson/PA Wire

Boxer Ricky Hatton poses for photographers after announcing his opponent Vyacheslav Senchenko for his comeback fight on November 24th, during a photo call at the Manchester Arena, Manchester. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Friday September 28, 2012. Photo credit should read: Dave Thompson/PA Wire

This is a real shame for boxing fans all over the country. Whose fault it is is hard to define, but someone somewhere is lining their pockets at the expense of boxing fans.

When you factor in that boxing is a predominantly working class sport, you see that this really is a sorry state of affairs.

Do you point the finger of blame at Sky?

Rumour has it they drastically overspent on renewing their deal to televise live football, predominantly the Premier League games, meaning they had to cut back on their budgets in other sports, including boxing.

Kell Brook (left) in action against Hector Saldivia during there bout at the Motorpoint Arena, Sheffield. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Saturday October 20, 2012. See PA story BOXING Sheffield. Photo credit should read: Nick Potts/PA Wire.

Kell Brook (left) in action against Hector Saldivia during there bout at the Motorpoint Arena, Sheffield. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Saturday October 20, 2012. See PA story BOXING Sheffield. Photo credit should read: Nick Potts/PA Wire.

Other people are diverting their attentions to promoter Frank Warren and his role in new boxing channel Boxnation TV.

The channel has split boxing coverage right down the middle with Sky channeling their attentions with Matchroom and promoter Eddie Hearn, including his successful creation, Prizefighter.

Promoters like Frank Maloney have joined Warren on Boxnation, leaving the likes of Hatton Promotions and Coldwell Boxing in no man’s land.

If you pay about £60 per month for the full Sky package, you expect to be able to watch almost every single event on earth when you want to.

Showtime's Stephen Espinoza (left), Golden Boy's Richard Schaefer, Boxer Amir Khan, and his manager Asif Vali (right) during the press conference at The Mayfair Hotel, London. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Tuesday October 9, 2012. Photo credit should read: Jonathan Brady/PA Wire

Showtime's Stephen Espinoza (left), Golden Boy's Richard Schaefer, Boxer Amir Khan, and his manager Asif Vali (right) during the press conference at The Mayfair Hotel, London. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Tuesday October 9, 2012. Photo credit should read: Jonathan Brady/PA Wire

It is hugely unsatisfactory then, when you have already parted with extra money to subscribe to an extra channel that you STILL can’t watch all the big fights.

I now face a moral dilemma in whether or not to fork out the £14.95 for the Hatton fight.

The under card looks superb, with main support fight between Rendell Munroe and Boxing Writers Young Fighter of the Year Scott Quigg looking like a real cracker after their first fight was prematurely stopped with Munroe severely cut over his eye.

The promoters and tv companies are really doing boxing fans a huge disservice though in my opinion.

The return of Hatton is hugely exciting for the domestic welterwight division - setting up some potential superfights between Hatton, Kell Brook and Amir Khan, who will make the inevitable step up from the light welterweight division in the next 12 months.

Brook has burst onto the scene over the last 12 months and despite a slight wobble when beating Carson Jones on points earlier this year, has elavated himself to world level and a mandatory challenge at Devon Alexander’s IBF world crown.

Brook and Khan really don’t get on at all.

They almost needed separating when they were both on Sky Sports’ boxing review show Ringside a couple of weeks ago, such is their disdain for one another.

It would be almost impossible to say who would win that fight. It would be an absolute epic and one that would sell a vast amount of tickets and drum up a huge amount of interest.

Khan would be a totally different animal at 147lbs and will undoubtedly improve under new trainer Virgil Hunter, whose speciality is defence and counter punching.

Brook’s timing and power are nothing short of spectacular - but the only time he has stepped up to the top level, against Jones, he almost lost.

If I had to put my money on it, I’d say Khan, just.

Khan has a huge amount of pressure on his shoulders going into his next fight against unbeaten Carlos Molina after defeats to Lamont Peterson and Danny Garcia.

Credit has to go to the Bolton man - he could and possibly should have taken an easier opponent to re-discover his confidence and get a win under his belt with his new trainer. But he hasn’t taken the easy way out and he will be going in there with a point to prove.

Now throw Hatton into the mix and you have some superb fights in the offing.

It is almost a shame Khan and Brook weren’t coming through when Hatton was in his prime - he would have been very hard to beat.

They say you should never go back, and I hope Hatton proves that wrong next month, but I can’t see him being as good as he was back in the day.

Time will tell - but you have some potentially massive domestic dust-ups in 2013. Big question is, how much will fans have to pay to watch them?

What do you think? Email me: daniel.gregory@jpress.co.uk or Tweet me @mrdanielgregory