Vivian Harris Speaks Out about Frank Warren and Ricky Hatton
Interview by Benny Henderson Jr. (Aug 14, 2004)
Two weeks ago it looked like one of the best fights in the junior welterweight division between unbeaten Ricky Hatton and WBA champion Vivian Harris was on the verge of being made. But this is boxing, and circumstances can change in the blink of an eye. Since the fight fell apart accusations have been flying back and forth across the Atlantic, with Hatton's promoter Frank Warren casting blame on Harris and his promoter Main Events for reneging on the deal, while Harris claims that it was Warren who pushed the potential fight to breaking point for refusing to pay him what he believed he was worth. The question here is should the champion have the right to call the shots if he is the one being challenged? Or should he take what he can get and face the challenger under his terms? Who is the real reason the fight didn’t go through? These questions are simple but they need to be answered. In this interview the champion Vivian Harris tells the Doghouse his side of the story and his thoughts on Hatton and his promoter Frank Warren.
Benny Henderson Jr: What happened in with the Harris-Hatton fight?
Vivian Harris: To be honest with you that is a fight I defiantly wanted. But I’m the champion, and I’m having to go to England to fight Ricky Hatton? First the rules say that if I am traveling I get 80% for the fight, I’m not looking for that. I was gong to do 50-50 with Ricky Hatton. They want to give me $750,000 and give Ricky Hatton over a million dollars and I don’t think that is right. I am the Champion. When I fought for my championship title I didn’t ask for any money I took what they would give me. All I wanted was that belt cause I knew that that belt would bring me more money. That is why everybody around the world trains hard so they can get that championship belt, because when they get that belt that is when they get the money. Ricky Hatton is being baby sited by his promoter Frank Warren. I didn’t have a strong team that was protecting Vivian Harris, but now I finally have a strong team and manager in Emanuel Steward. Main Events would send me all around the world and make money off of me. As a champion I would fight and give them 30% of my purse also, because I would fight on somebody else’s card. Ok, you are telling me that you can’t get any fights for me in America because nobody wants to fight me? But I see that you are having young fighters fighting these bums on HBO and stuff like that. Francisco Bojado just fought Jessie James Leija and couldn’t even beat Leija. Arturo Gatti is fighting people but you still can’t find a fight for Vivian Harris. Why don’t I get some of the fights these guys like Gatti or Bojado get? Why I couldn’t of I have fought Jessie James Leija? You know what I am saying? But yet they want to send me to England and I would have no problem with doing it, but they want to send me there and I make $750,000 and they take $225,000 because I fight on the next promotion. But they don’t want to promote me over here and I don’t think that is right, that is unfair to me because you are not doing no work for me or promoting me in America. Nobody will know who Vivian Harris is if you do not promote me. But each time there is a big fight out of the country you want to send me over there and then take 30% out of my purse because I am fighting on the other persons promotional card. My promotion contract never says anything like that, it says if I fight on a purse bid and I lose then I have to give you 30% and I respect that. But my last fights didn’t go to a purse bid so I asked now for it to go on a purse bid. Because I know if I go to a purse bid I will get more than the challenger because I am the champion. The law never says that who fills up the seats gets more but it says that the champion receives 75% and the challenger receives 25% if the champion is fighting at home. If the champion is going out of the country than he receives 80%. So if they want to play like I will just go to purse bid. When I mentioned going to purse bid Frank Warren said he will not go to purse bid because if he put 2 million dollars that means Vivian Harris will get 1.6 million and Ricky Hatton would get $400,000. That is what Hatton is supposed to get. Is Vivian Harris worth that to them, no. Why is Ricky Hatton worth that to them? Who has Ricky Hatton beat to be worth 1.6 million? Hatton hasn’t fought whom I have fought, Ricky don’t even want to leave his country. The point if Frank Warren is scared that he will lose the purse bid. So they pull out the mandatory and look whom Ricky is fighting now. Michael Stewart, a fighter that just lost to Sharmba Mitchell.
BH: Who actually pulled out of this fight?
VH: Frank Warren and Ricky Hatton. They pulled out of being my mandatory because they don’t want to go to purse bid. And why don’t they want to go to purse bid? Because they are scared if they lose that purse bid the fight would be right here in America, and even if they won the first bid I would make more than Ricky Hatton and Frank Warren don’t want that. So why should I give Hatton a shot at my title if I am not making more than him?
BH: Do you feel that Ricky Hatton even cares about winning the belt, or does he just want to blanket his record with easy wins?
VH: I think Ricky Hatton doesn’t care about the belt or being a real world champion. He just wants to keep winning the fights that Frank Warren gives him. Than he says that he is forcing Frank Warren to get him tougher fights. Ricky is happy that this fight didn’t happen between him and me. Ricky Hatton knows that he doesn’t want to leave England. If Ricky really wanted to leave England and fight for this belt he would told Frank Warren to go to purse bid and you don’t want to come out the mandatory spot.
BH: Ricky Hatton stated in another interview that you were not as confident in fighting him as you made it out to be. What are your thoughts on his comment?
VH: Why am I not confident if I am talking about going to purse bid? I just want to be treated fair, that doesn’t have anything with me being confident. I am confident but I have to also be smart. I am not going to be stupid and confident. And that is what Frank Warren and Ricky Hatton want me to be. I am not going to do that. I really don’t care what anybody has to say. This is my championship belt. I have fought a lot of better fighters than Ricky Hatton has ever fought, so I am gong to protect my belt. I am not going to give away my belt for chump change. I don’t think it is a lot of money and they know it isn’t a lot of money. Ricky Hatton is not going to get more money than me if he fights me, or if he fights another other champion.
BH: What was the actual offer?
VH: First is was $750,000 than they called me back and said $500,000 and then they come back and said they would give the $750,000. I never agreed to any number with Frank Warren. All the numbers was agreed with Main Events and Frank Warren. All I was telling main Events was that I wanted the fight to go to purse bid. I asked Main events how much is in this fight for me and they said they didn’t know. Then I asked how much Ricky Hatton was getting and they said the same thing. So I was like you know what let’s go to purse bid. They say I don’t mean what I say. I don’t care what they say; I know I am the best Jr. Welterweight out there. I am the one who traveled all over the country and defended my title. This fight with Hatton was not going to be on TV, what is that going to do for me? Nobody was going to see Vivian Harris beat Ricky Hatton anyways. But Ricky has his people over there in England and they might rob my ass over there.
BH: What is next? Is there going to be a Harris-Hatton bout ever in the future?
VH: There will be a chance. I am the champion and I will remain champion till I retire. I am looking to defend my title against the winner between Shambra Mitchell and Kostya Tszyu. Or I got Floyd Mayweather right there. I am not going to go backwards, that is what Ricky is doing. He talks about who is coward and who is not. Come on, Ricky Hatton is going to fight somebody that just lost. The winner between Shambra Mitchell and Kostya Tszyu isn’t going to go to England and fight Ricky Hatton, so why should Vivian Harris. Who is Ricky Hatton? He does not want to leave England and fight.
BH: Why not just go ahead and take what Frank Warren gives you and expose Ricky Hatton by beating him in England?
VH: Ok, listen to this. I will do that for $750,000 but they want me to do it for $500,000. $225,000 goes to my promoter for something they have not done for me. They are not doing their job. They want to send me out of the country to fight so I can give them 30% out of my money. They take that money and promote them young bums they have and I don’t think that is respectful. It is like I am taking the fight with Ricky Hatton so Main Events can go pay these young fighters, I am not doing that. Bojado couldn’t even beat Leija that shit pisses me off. Main Events will make a deal with Frank Warren just to get me over there and they are making more money than I am, that shit isn’t happening. I am going to protect me because Main Events is not protecting me. I don’t think it is fair for me to have to go out of the country to defend my title.
BH: What about all that Frank Warren and Ricky Hatton has to say?
VH: They can say all they want to say, because Ricky Hatton will not make more than me in our fight. All that trash talk they have been talking makes it even worse.
BH: Do you think Ricky Hatton just talked all that he did because he knew this fight would never happen and he wouldn’t have to face you and pay for what he said?
VH: Ricky Hatton knew that he wasn’t going to fight me. He knew the fight was going to happen. All that crap that Frank Warren is talking he doesn’t even want the fight. They don’t want to go to purse bid because I would win. Frank Warren is not confident in Hatton or he would let him come to America to fight me. I don’t need Ricky Hatton he needs me.
BH: Why do you think Ricky Hatton doesn’t come to the states and fight?
VH: I don’t know, he is just scared. He doesn’t want to come fight a top fighter in America he has been baby sited too much. I have never had a hand picked opponent. My 16th fight I fought a fighter who had 37 wins and 7 losses. I lost to Ray Oliveira by decision and that fight taught me a lot. Ricky Hatton has never fought a solid contender. He fought guys who was out of the game and finished
BH: So you believe in the future there will be a Harris-Hatton?
VH: Yes, but it will be on Harris’s terms not Ricky Hatton or Frank Warren’s terms.
BH: Well when you do finally get to fight Hatton will you be able to stick to your fight plan or will you lose your cool because of all this?
VH: I will defiantly stick to my fight plan. I know and the world knows that Ricky Hatton can’t beat Vivian Harris. I don’t care what Ricky Hatton or Frank Warren says. They say I am a coward? Yeah I am going to be a coward. I am going to be a coward and cover my butt, but when it comes to the ring I will not be a coward. I am never a coward in the ring. What I do Ricky Hatton will never do, he will not travel and fight like me.
BH: How do you think the American fans would react to Ricky Hatton fighting here in the states?
VH: They would react like it is any other fighter. They loved Lennox Lewis here. If Ricky comes here and does what he is supposed to do here they would love him too. Just like when I went to Germany, they didn’t like me at first. But after I won the fight they loved me.
BH: Do you have a good fan base?
VH: Yes I have a good fan base. I got fans in England writing me and telling me about how much of a joke Ricky Hatton is or a joke Frank Warren is. I know that I am champion.
BH: If they offered you 50-50 right now to travel to Manchester you would fight him now?
VH: Yes, but it would have to be 50-50. I am not going to treat Ricky Hatton like he is a slave like they are wanting to treat me. Why can’t the fight be 50-50? Who the hell is Ricky Hatton, who has he beat? Look whom Hatton is going to fight now and then see who Harris fights. I will not fight somebody under me I will fight a top contender. I don’t care what people think. I know I will beat Ricky Hatton Even when people say that Harris will beat Hatton, I don’t care. I thank them for their support and I thank all my fans for their support. But when it comes to fighting I believe in me, because I get the best out of me. I thank all my fans that send me emails everyday, I thank them and love them and I will guarantee them that Vivian Harris will be the undisputed champion. Ricky Hatton isn’t shit and I am saying that. They say I talked a lot of crap and I didn’t want to back it up. Why didn’t I back it up, because I didn’t want to fight under his stupid ass terms? That doesn’t make any sense. This would be the biggest fight for Ricky. Tell Frank Warren I said he could kiss my ass and he is going to ruin a good chance for his fighter to fight a real world champion belt. If he is going to fight real championship fighters then he needs to respect the rules and fight under the champion’s rules. And that bullshit that Frank Warren and his fighter are trying to pull off is not going to happen here. No real champion is going to fight Hatton for chump change. The only people that will fight for Ricky Hatton’s stupid ass money are the ones who are out of the game and have no place to go. Tell Michael Stewart to keep my name out of his mouth. He is not a champion so he will have to take what Frank Warren gives him, he is not me and he can never be like me. I didn’t lose to Sharmba Mitchell and I wouldn’t lose to him. He can be stupid to Frank Warren but I am not going to be. Frank Warren isn’t going to rob me Frank Warren is going to rob him. I am the best Jr. Welterweight in the world and I don’t care what Hatton says cause I will knock his ass out. This fight is not just about beating Ricky Hatton, it is a business I have a family to take care of and this is how I support my family. Frank Warren and Ricky Hatton will try the same shit to Sharmba Mitchell and Kostya Tszyu and I bet you it won’t happen. He has to take what he gets to fight one of us. Frank Warren offered Arturo Gatti 3 million to go to England, you know what Main Events said to Frank Warren, we are driving this boat right here. You are not in no position to make an offer to our fighter. I’m Main Events champion, and when Frank Warren brought that stupid ass offer to me why didn’t say the same thing to him? They want me to go there and fight and come back and give them $225,000. Why didn’t they send Arturo Gatti there? Why not take 30% from Gatti like they do me? They have never stood up for me. I’m getting treated like a fucking slave man and it’s not right.
BH: Why do you think they do this to you?
VH: I don’t know why they want to take 30% from me and pay their younger fighters. They were trying to bring up Bojado like he was Fernando Vargas, but Vargas trained and wanted to be champion. Bojado don’t want shit they want it more than he does. And that is why he couldn’t even beat Jessie James Leija because his ass don’t even fucking train. And they promote him more than Vivian Harris. I train 3 months for every fight and I will win those tough fights. Man I would have knocked Jessie James Leija out; I wouldn’t have asked to fight him. What would that prove to me? Ricky asked to fight Leija and Oktay Urkal, and now he is asking to fight a fighter the Mitchell beat up. What does that tell you about Ricky Hatton? Ricky Hatton isn’t shit, he don’t want to move any where. Until he proves me wrong I will not respect him. I will step in the ring for Main Events and I hope to fight in October or early November. I will not fight a garbage fighter. I’ll leave that to Ricky Hatton. Let Ricky say that he is the toughest, because I am the smartest. And I will remain the real champ.
I would like to thank Vivian Harris for taking the time out for Doghouse and the fans. For more information on Vivian visit his website: Vicious Vivian Harris.
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