By Bob Ryder
Fightnews spoke with Kronk boss Emanuel Steward regarding comments that appeared on the site last week concerning the cancellation of last month’s show at Madison Square Garden in which promoter Eddie McLoughlin stated that the “real reason” the show was scraped was due to difficulties in dealing with headliner Andy Lee and his people. Steward was eager to respond. “We did everything that was asked of us. I think the real problem was the promotion’s legal issues regarding John Duddy that caused them to lose focus. We participated in the original press conference and Andy and all of us were ready to do whatever else was necessary to help the promotion. However, there were no flyers, no TV, no radio, no posters, virtually nothing to promote the card consequently ticket sales were naturally soft.”
When asked why McLoughlin would make the statements he did, Steward could only speculate. “Look, I feel that the people at Irish Ropes are decent, nice people. I think it is frustration talking. The only thing we disagreed on was Andy’s original proposed opponent Walid Smichet, who had given Duddy a real tough fight. We did not want to embarrass Duddy by fighting him. Andy was very upset by the cancellation as there were folks from Ireland who had already bought air fares to attend the fight. In addition, we passed up three other potential fights for Lee in order to do this one at the Garden.”
Steward also stated that Andy Lee was anxious and prepared to take on scheduled opponent Antwun Echols for McLoughlin’s card and they were all just about ready to depart for New York when they learned of the show’s cancellation.
“Sad thing is we did not even hear about the cancellation from the promoters. We heard from a third party. They (the promoters) did not have the courtesy to tell us themselves,” said Steward.