Home Boxing News Dennis Hobson left feeling angered at Ricky Hatton and Jamie McDonnell

Dennis Hobson left feeling angered at Ricky Hatton and Jamie McDonnell

Fighter, trainer, manager, promoter – Dennis Hobson has been involved in boxing at every level for decades.  

From small halls to the bright lights of Vegas, the Sheffield businessman has helped guide the careers of a number of world champions, including Clinton Woods and Ricky Hatton, and continues to operate at the pinnacle of the sport today.

In a regular feature, we’ll be putting your questions to Dennis as the Yorkshireman voices his opinion on the talking points in the world of boxing.

Read on…

Which fighter has left you feeling the most angered in your promotional career?

There are two main ones, Ricky Hatton (pictured) and Jamie McDonnell.  I treated both as family.  People say that [disloyalty] is just boxing, but morally it isn’t right.  There were outside influences in both camps so in a way I don’t blame them 100 per cent, they had their heads turned.

Obviously Frank Warren did a great job with Ricky up to Kostya Tszyu, but I did a very good job afterwards and got him into the position to earn massive money against Floyd Mayweather.  The deal we shook on, he reneged on it, although I don’t 100 per cent blame Ricky because he wasn’t there when we did the handshake.  I still respect him and we’ve got some fantastic memories.

Jamie McDonnell, it’s crazy what he’s done.  I don’t think he’ll ever be the fighter he could’ve been if he’d stayed with me.  He’s got a version of a world title, but he’s not the true WBA champion.  He would have been the IBF [champion] and he would have maybe unified with me.  And I can tell you he’d be a lot wealthier.  But, on the back of it, I’ve turned Stuart Hall around, so you move on and learn.

You think you know people but when you think someone is family you drop your guard.  Jamie went behind my back, it’s wrong what he did, and we’re still in litigation.  As far as I’m concerned I still manage him, it’s not David Coldwell who’s parading around as his manager, and if he’s not careful he’ll get involved in some litigation himself.  I invested a lot of money to get Jamie where he was and it’s such a shame he wasn’t loyal, and he’s got that to live with.  He did the dirty but karma comes around and maybe one of my fighter’s might end up fighting him and putting him in his place, you never know.

What is the hardest aspect of being a promoter?

It’s the disloyalty.  It’s the lies and deceit, they seem to be the rules of the game, but it doesn’t mean it’s right.  There are a lot of promoters and managers who, if they were in my line of business which is scrap metal, they wouldn’t last two minutes because no one would stand for them.  But in boxing it seems they can stab you in the back one day, and then ring you the next and try and do more business.  That’s the worst aspect.

Hi Dennis, clearly it seems you try hard to do the best by your boxers. If your son was a boxer who would his promoter (other than yourself), manager and trainer be and who would you steer clear of?

I’ve got a few close associates as trainers.  Chris Smedley has been a great amateur coach and he’s made a good transition into the pros.  Sean Thickett works at my gym who is a genuine kid.  And I think Ryan Rhodes is going to be a top trainer too.  They would be the three trainers.

In terms of a manager, I’d say Asif Vali.  What I like about him is that he’s a genuine pal.  His son is very ill and when my dad was ill this year, he was very supportive.  And he will also go and be the bad guy, and face the bullets in the front line.  I like that about him.

A promoter?  I’d say Golden Boy because I’d want my kid to be on the big stage.  And, without mentioning names, I’d stay clear of anyone who hasn’t been honourable in the past.

Will you be contacting Eddie Hearn on a possible Stuart Hall rematch with Jamie McDonnell, and do you think the fight can happen next?

I would never stand in a fighter’s way to make a fight.  If I thought it was the right fight then I wouldn’t stand in the way of whoever promoted it.  Obviously I’d like to promote it myself, but I think it should happen and I’ll do whatever I can to make it happen.

I think it can be built up to be bigger, it’s a great fight and I think it’s a fight that Stuart now wins.  Stuart’s improved.  Jamie won his title against someone who I’m not sure how they managed to get rated number one, and he’s been beating kids who aren’t credible opponents.  Whereas Stuart has been in with live, credible opponents.  So Stuart has moved out in front, and I think he’s now a lot more experienced than Jamie at that level.

It should happen and it can happen.  Eddie just has to lose a little bit of ego and I think we could make it happen.  Obviously there’s a bit of litigation going on between us but it doesn’t mean to say we can’t deal with that afterwards.

Dennis also wanted to give a special mention to colleague James Powell, whose father passed away recently: “I’d just like to send my condolences to James Powell and his family.  James’ dad sadly passed away suddenly recently.  James doted on his dad and they were very close.  They’re a lovely family, they’ve my upmost respect, and James’ dad would’ve been very proud of James.”

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