A WAR of words has broken out between the father of boxer Jeff Horn and one of the fighter’s earliest sponsors, who is now backing a rival ahead of an upcoming clash in the ring.
As you might recall, we reported last week that IT industry headhunter Steve
Scanlan first started supporting Horn in 2013 when he was an unknown commodity. But he parted ways with Team Hornet two years ago and is now fully behind Tim Tszyu, who fights Horn in Townsville on August 26.
Claims surrounding that version of events clearly stuck in the craw of Jeff Sr (illustrated). He wrote us a lengthy and unsolicited screed over the weekend taking issue with just about all the claims made by Scanlan, who now heads up recruitment firm Technology People.
“We were grateful for Steve’s support while it lasted, but it took a lot to manage and in the end we were also happy for him to walk away,’’ he said. Ouch!
Jeff Sr also poured scorn on the idea of Scanlan getting a $15,000 diamond and ruby ring made for Horn to honour his shock win over one-time champ Manny Pacquiao in 2017.
“It is a ring so large and obtrusive that it hasn’t seen the light of day since Jeff received it and in all likelihood will eventually be the subject of a future charity auction. It is certainly not something that a down to earth, grounded young man like Jeff Horn would ever ware (sic)!”
BEYOND the business angle of it all, Jeff Sr said his son and Scanlan have never been close mates. “They had a simple business arrangement,’’ he told us.
Scanlan maintains he was Jeff’s first major sponsor but Jeff Sr described that claim as “totally false’’. “There were great companies, the likes of Ausiebum (sic), Sommer and Staff Constructions and Barrier Reef Pools all supporting Jeff before Steve Scanlon (sic) came on board with his company,’’ he wrote.
“Jeff could never have trained full time on Steve’s sponsorship alone. Steve had the position as Jeff’s major sponsor for a very short period of time before Phil Murphy came on board with very significant support as Jeff’s major sponsor with
Properties.’’ In case all this wasn’t enough, Jeff Sr disputed Scanlan’s claim of spending more than $600,000 on the Horn sponsorship.
“Wining and dining your associates and taking them to the fights is NOT providing sponsorship to Jeff Horn!’’ he said.
“For his sponsorship Steve wanted plenty in return. In the end he decided he wasn’t getting enough and was happy to walk away.’’
HORN JR declined to comment on this little flare up, which is certainly not the first time that head games have had the potential to mess with the minds of boxers in the lead up to a fight.
But naturally we had to chase up some reaction from Scanlan, who was at first reluctant to wade in to the rather unseemly dispute, which he called “obviously disappointing’’.
“My association with Jeff Horn has been a mutually beneficial relationship and I’m proud to have been part of such a great career,’’ Scanlan said.
“Jeff and I remain friends and if anything the recent publicity around the demise of our professional arrangement has strengthened that friendship.
“After reading recent reports, Jeff expressed his thanks for my years of sponsorship and apologised over the perception that my contribution had been taken for granted. That was an important gesture and my respect for Jeff is now as strong as ever.
“He is a wonderful athlete and I’m enormously proud to have been able to support his boxing journey.”