“Never believe words, only actions,” was Promoter/Manager Steve Goodwin’s response to the massive offer made to Idris Virgo (7-0-1, 1KOs) to box Brad Pauls (14-0, 9KOs) being turned down.
The reaction follows an offer made to the Love Island contestant on September 8, after a weekend of antics from Virgo when he disrespected his journeyman opponent, Scott Williams (0-8), ahead of their Channel 5 fight on September 5. Virgo defeated the away fighter 40-36 on points but became the most hated fighter in Britain overnight, which prompted promoter Steve Goodwin to attempt to match him with his Southern Area middleweight champion Brad Pauls, with a view to humble the 27-year-old show-off.
“We offered to accommodate any date he wanted, we offered to do it on a show of his choice with a basic purse paid by us if on our show which increases to £100,000 should he win and £125,000 should he win by stoppage.
“I hope that this will mean the end to the insults aimed at boxers but I won’t hold my breath,” said Goodwin. “At the very least everyone in boxing knows what the reality is, and he should no longer get the airtime to talk his trash that he is not prepared to back up.”
Pauls was naturally disappointed “He should not call himself a professional boxer. I would fight anyone if someone offered me the same deal. We now move on and I am scheduled for a final eliminator for the English title and have my own career to focus on now. He has just made himself a boxing irrelevance and maybe he is more suited to WWE.”
The situation was further summarised by New Age Boxing’s Martin Theobald in a recent article he wrote:
“Any boxer worth their salt would surely take up such an offer. Yet the offer has been refused. Turned down. Rejected. If the fight was ever to be signed, Brad Pauls would start as favourite, but it should by no means be a one-horse race.
“Ignoring the self-driven hyperbole of Virgo, the fight should still be a relatively tight affair. Neither man has gone past Area level and the chance to earn such high rewards for minimal risk would surely be jumped at by a man so confident in his abilities. Worst case scenario, he still picks up his purse.
“There is a lesson to be learned here. Virgo has made headlines by the latter of two available routes; either boxing superbly or acting the villain. Although it is safe to assume that he knew what the reaction would be, he probably never realised that someone out there would be willing to make a substantial offer. In Steve Goodwin, Virgo has found his match and, in turn, had to retreat.
“The behaviour came too soon. Virgo has years ahead in the sport, he should have waited. He has created a moment that he wasn’t ready for. Further down his career path, maybe he would have been more willing to accept the bounty put on his head. As it stands, his opportunity appears to be passing.
“The limelight doesn’t last long in boxing. Attention spans are short, fans’ tolerance low. Having raised the bar of provocation so high, so early, Virgo will have to go to some depths to beat it in the future. Without doing so, he loses the interest of the public. If he does, he risks the wrath of the Board.
“It is a checkmate scenario. Take the fight and likely lose. Ignore the fight and the next ring walk is against another journeyman, and that says a lot about Virgo’s self-confidence. The opportunity of a career-high payday will be gone and, with it, the brief moment of interest from the boxing public.
“May this be a lesson. Headline grabbing actions by boxers, despite the manner in which they occur, are typically a good thing. But be ready to back them up, because you never know when someone is willing to call your bluff.”