Charles ‘The Killa’ Whittaker world title dreams have been knocked out after the Cayman Government decided not to underwrite the cost of putting on the big fight here.
Whittaker hoped to challenge Vernon ‘The Viper’ Forrest for his WBC light-middleweight title on April 24.
But the cost of putting on the promotion was deemed too expensive by the Government even though Whittaker said he was given the impression it would happen for five weeks before the whole thing was scrapped.
Killa is understandably upset when he considers the Government spent over $1 million on the Cayman Knockout show last June even though the main bouts were all United States based fighters and the there was not a world title at stake.
Tourism Minister Charles Clifford said in a statement: ‘Over the past several weeks the Ministry of Tourism, along with the Ministry of Sports and some of our departments have been in serious negotiations with Gary Shaw Promotions in an effort to bring a world class, televised boxing event to the Cayman Islands that would feature our very own Charles Whittaker.
‘However, given the current global economic climate and its impact on available discretionary Government funds; coupled with the fact that this Showtime bout was an unbudgeted item of very large magnitude which only presented itself this year, the Government decided that it was just not possible to move forward with the event at this time.
‘The first Showtime boxing event, Cayman Knockout, was held in 2008 at the Royal Watler Terminal, and cost US$1.1 million. The proposed event for 2009 would have featured Charles Whittaker as a headline bout, but would have cost US$1.85m, or over 60 per cent more.
‘We hope that similar opportunities to work together for the benefit of Charles Whittaker and the Cayman Islands tourism industry will be available in the future when circumstances allow us to pursue them.’
In conclusion, Clifford thanked Gary Shaw Promotions and said: ‘The Government is truly disappointed that we were not able to pursue this opportunity at this time. We hope to eventually work together to find an opportunity for our local champ.’
Whittaker, 35, said: ‘I’ll never get a show on Showtime now. People will interpret this badly.
‘Gary Shaw is upset too with the Government. When I emailed him asking for a fight on one of his shows, he replied by email and said: ‘We were had. Your Government played me like a fool.”
Whittaker’s manager Raul Alvarez said from his office in Florida: ‘We’re devastated. Every major TV network was involved and everything up to last Friday had led to a deal being on.
‘It was like buying a house. You don’t go into negotiations first without knowing that you already have the funds.
‘Promoters are not going to take Charles seriously from now. Shaw is a major promoter and he honestly felt he was jerked around.
‘We turned other offers down, including a pay-per-view fight, because we felt this deal would go through. We also had an opportunity to spar with Kelly Pavlik and get paid but didn’t take it up.
‘Had Charles got this fight and won, his defence would have brought HBO here.
‘Unfortunately, in boxing they don’t forgive quickly. Charles may be forced into a fight he didn’t want to take where the odds are stacked against him, like on short notice.’