Page last updated at 16:39 GMT, Tuesday, 17 March 2009

Calzaghe wins case against Warren

Joe Calzaghe
Joe Calzaghe outside the High Court in London during the case

Former world champion boxer Joe Calzaghe has won his High Court battle over money with his ex-manager and promoter Frank Warren.

Calzaghe, who retired last month from the ring unbeaten, claimed he was owed £2m in unpaid fees.

But Mr Warren claimed the Welsh super-middleweight owed him £1m for breaking a verbal contract for one more fight.

Mr Justice Wyn Williams dismissed Mr Warren's claim and ruled he should pay Calzaghe around £2m.

Mr Warren said he intended to appeal against the amount he owes Calzaghe.

The Newbridge boxer denied breaking a promise to Mr Warren, who managed him for 10 years from 1997.

Calzaghe then took over promoting his own fights.

He counterclaimed that he was owed more than £2m in fees for his Bernard Hopkins win last year.

Mr Justice Wyn Williams said he had formed the clear view that he had to treat the evidence of the witnesses "with caution".

He spoke after hearing evidence from Mr Warren, and his Sports Network company secretary Edward Simons, Calzaghe, his solicitor, and the boxer's father Enzo.

He said: "I say now that there are aspects of the evidence given by each of these persons which has caused me to reflect long and hard upon their credibility, accuracy and reliability.

"If an oral agreement was concluded as alleged, I have no doubt that some written record would have been created prior to the fight with Mr Hopkins."

He said written terms had covered all of Calzaghe's fights for Mr Warren from January 1998 onwards.

He said it was "inexplicable" Mr Warren, the claimant in the case, and Mr Simons, who were both "astute and experienced businessmen" had failed "to produce one shred of paper" to record their alleged verbal deal over the Hopkins fight.

Sports Network, throughout the litigation, has always said that it would pay Joe Calzaghe but we disputed the sum he claimed
Frank Warren

The judge said Mr Warren's persistent claim of a verbal contract with Calzaghe had "a powerful motivating factor" - the fact that he owed Calzaghe "a very substantial sum of money".

He said: "In my judgment, the claim in his case has been raised as a smokescreen by the claimant... as an attempt to avoid payment."

However the judge rejected claims by the boxer that Mr Warren, through his company Sports Network, managed to persuade him to sign an agreement under duress while he was suffering under the pressure of preparing to fight.

Speaking after the case, Joe Calzaghe said: "I am relieved and delighted at the court's decision to award me £1.8m.

"It totally vindicates what has been my stance.

"The fight with Frank Warren was not one that I sought, but I am delighted to have remained undefeated through it."

In a statement, Mr Warren said he had never disputed he owed money to Calzaghe, but said the pair disagreed the amount.

"Sports Network Limited has always paid every fighter what he was due, but in this case Joe Calzaghe demanded $4.6m (at a conversion rate equivalent to around £3.25m) which Sports Network regarded as exaggerated and fanciful," he said.

"Sports Network, throughout the litigation, has always said that it would pay Joe Calzaghe but we disputed the sum he claimed.

"We were right to do so and feel vindicated in defending Joe's claim which we have reduced by almost £1.5m.

"Our lawyers have advised Sports Network to appeal to reduce the sum even further, which it fully intends to do."

He added: "I am of course extremely disappointed that the judge did not go further in accepting we had an agreement with Joe to promote his last fights."

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