Paul McCloskey is being lined up for a World title eliminator at the King’s Hall in April after Amir Khan’s camp failed to come up with an offer worthy of the European champion.
McCloskey’s promoter Barry Hearn had said a week ago that the fight with WBA light-welterweight champion “was dead” but there were further negotiations although last night they came to an end.
It is understood that Hearn had suggested a deal with the Khan camp on pay-per-view buys in Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland as well as an increased percentage on ticket the European champion would have sold — in order to top up the purse he had been originally offered but it all came to nothing.
Clearly the blame for an April 16 MEN Arena clash not happening lies at the feet of the champion but now Hearn is pursuing a world class opponent for McCloskey in order to push the unbeaten Dungiven man into the mandatory position for a shot at Khan later in the year.
Hearn described the offer from the Khan camp as “totally derisory”.
He added: “Amir Khan lives in America and wants to earn a living popping over here and underpaying British fighters.
“The deals placed on the table were an insult to Paul, an undefeated fighter and a European champion.
“Amir cannot fight himself, and I’m afraid you have to pay opponents to step in the ring with you, and pay them fairly.
“I can’t believe that any world class fighter will get into the ring to fight Khan for the money he is offering.
“There was never any chance that I would allow Paul to fight on the cheap.”
Hearn will be monitoring tomorrow’s big light-welterweight showdown between WBC champion WBC champion Devon Alexander and WBO champion Timothy Bradley before he heads off to New York for discussions with World Boxing Council officials.
McCloskey is currently ranked four by the WBC and five by the WBA and Hearn believes that he will become number one challenger for either of the major titles
Should Bradley defeat Alexander, the WBC have said that he will not be able to hold the belt and the title will become vacant.
Hearn said: “If Bradley wins and the title becomes vacant then we’ll look to see if Paul can fight for the vacant title. He’s ranked four so that is not out of the question and should Alexander win then we’ll look at getting Paul into an eliminator.
“And of course if he won the WBC title then a fight with Khan is so much bigger.”