The Lost Soul of Eamonn Magee by Paul D. Gibson

The Lost Soul of Eamonn Magee by Paul D. Gibson

Author:Paul D. Gibson
Language: eng
Format: epub
Publisher: Mercier Press

6

HATTON AND THE RA

Any novice with more than five minutes in the game will tell you that professional boxing is not a sport. It is in reality a business, the ultimate risk-versus-reward business. Up until this point in his career, the calibre of fighter Magee needed to face to progress up the rankings had viewed the Ardoyne man as all risk and precious little reward. Now, though still a dangerous proposition for any light welterweight on the planet, he at least had a coveted belt around his waist to attract potential suitors. Eamonn, his eyes firmly set on more titles and more money, immediately signed another four-fight deal with Panix and instructed Callahan and Maloney to sift through the options as they began crawling out of the woodwork within which they had been safely cocooned for years.

Mark Winters and the opportunity to finally settle that long-running domestic grudge match was one possibility, but Winters had lost his British title to Jason Rowland the previous year and followed that defeat with another to the young up-and-comer, Junior Witter. In truth, any spite between the old amateur rivals had largely dissipated over the years as well and when Winters could only eke out a draw with James Hare, the Antrim man ceased to be a serious figure in the reckoning.

Another blast from Eamonn’s amateur past threw his hat in the ring when the unbeaten Danish European champion, Thomas Damgaard, claimed he was willing to take on the Terminator. Magee had comfortably outpointed Damgaard in Copenhagen a decade earlier in the Belfast man’s first overseas trip representing Ireland and he was confident of doing even better now they were both mature professionals. But the Dane refused to fight outside his homeland and, not being a particularly big name in the division, a quick risk-versus-reward analysis determined he was not worth much consideration. It would be another seven years before Damgaard finally agreed to fight away from home, when he flew to Atlantic City to face Arturo Gatti and record the only defeat of his thirty-nine-fight career.

For his part, Maloney was keen to make a fight with an impressive Mancunian by the name of Ricky Hatton. The twenty-one-year-old WBO inter-continental champ and young fighter of the year had been walking through his opponents to date and when his promoter, Frank Warren, mooted a match-up with Magee, Maloney tried to convince Callahan that it was the best offer on the table. But Mike and Eamonn only had eyes for one opponent at this time, Liverpool’s WBU champion of the world Shea Neary.

Neary, known as the Shamrock Express due to his Irish heritage, had been on Magee’s radar for a while. When the Englishman fought Mike Griffith at the National Stadium in Dublin earlier in the year, Eamonn was not only ringside, but he also had 1,000 fliers printed and placed on the arena’s seats, each one calling out Neary and attempting to embarrass him into a fight. Neary was an attractive prospective opponent, not just



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