Calzaghe disliked the least

March 24, 2009

Commercial, contract



Read the full case here: Sports Network Ltd v. Joe Calzaghe CBE [2009] EWHC 480 (QB)


The High Court has finally decided on the outcome of the Frank Warren (Boxing Promoter, and director of Sports Network Ltd) vs Joe Calzaghe CBE (world champion professional boxer) fight. It was a closely fought battle, but arguably Calzaghe narrowly won on points, and Warren has been told to pay Calzaghe £2m in unpaid fees.


If you read the case, it is clear that the Judge (Mr Wyn Williams) is very critical of many of the participants in the case. Both Calzaghe and Warren’s behaviour was shabby at best, and both men were complicit in the deception of the governing body in relation to avoiding fees [62]. Calzaghe’s lawyer (Mr Gareth Williams) was also accused of misleading the court [107], and Calzaghe himself was accused of lying while giving evidence [138]. Warren came off little better and his counterclaim for £1m was described at [155] as a “smokescreen… avoid payment by the Claimant to the Defendant of a very substantial sum of money”


The facts of the case concern whether an agreement was reached for Warren’s company – Sports Network Ltd to promote Calzaghe’s last (and ultimately successful) fight on 8th November 2008 against Roy Jones Jr. Warren claimed that because Calzaghe promoted this fight himself, he was in breach of contract, and Warren therefore withheld payment of the fees from the previous fight against Bernard Hopkins in compensation for this breach. The issue before the court was therefore whether a contract (oral or written) was in existence for Sports Network Ltd to promote the Roy Jones fight. Ultimately, the court held that this contract did not exist and found for Calzaghe, despite Warren’s claim of an oral agreement and a handshake (or hugs) between the two parties. What was material about the case was Mr Justice Williams’ view that if a contract had been agreed between the two parties, Warren was such an astute businessman that the contract would quickly have been written up and signed. The fact that nothing was ever put in writing, seemed to suggest that an agreement was never actually reached.


That said, neither party emerges from the case with any distinction. Indeed, the facts of the case are muddier than a very muddy footpath. It seems not so much that Calzaghe won, rather that Williams J disliked him the least.

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About Kris

Associate Professor in Sports Law, Staffordshire University; British Gymnastics Senior Coach

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One Comment on “Calzaghe disliked the least”

  1. Ryan Ericson Canlas Says:


    Ryan Ericson Canlas
    SAP Practice Manager – SAP COE
    International SAP Basis Consultant


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