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BECAUSE BECAUSE WE'RE WE'RE WORTH WORTH IT IT; Bellew defends move to make Cleverly fight pay-per-view.

Byline: PHIL KIRKBRIDE Boxing Reporter philkecho @

TONY BELLEW has defended the decision to make his rematch with Nathan Cleverly the headline fight on a pay-per-view show.

The 'Bomber' locks horns with his bitter rival at the ECHO Arena on November 22 in a hotly-anticipated rematch of their 2011 clash.

All 10,000 tickets sold out in less than 48 hours making it one of the fastest selling events the dockside venue has hosted since opening in 2008.

The grudge match will be broadcast live on Sky Sports Box Office with the satellite giant charging viewers PS16.95, on top of their standard subscription, to watch it.

Bellew understands some fans' complaints about the fight being made pay-per-view but says the showdown could not happen without it.

Asked for his opinion on the PPV debate, Bellew said: "I can give you two answers.

"I can give you the media friendly answer and I can give you what I think.

"The media friendly answer is that it's payper-view and that's not my decision. That's down to Sky Sports, (promoter) Eddie Hearn and (Sky Sports managing director) Barney Francis.

"Do I think it's worthy of pay-per-view? I've seen worse that have been on pay-per-view.

"Do I think me and Cleverly on our own is pay-per-view? No, I don't.

"But do I think the bill Eddie has put together is pay-per-view? Yes, I do.

"That's the best way of putting it." The undercard to Bellew's bout with Cleverly includes two world title fights, supermiddleweights Callum Smith, James DeGale and George Groves as well as heavyweight hope Anthony Joshua among others.

And the Wavertree cruiserweight says the show is worth the extra money.

"Everyone is kicking off that it's pay-perview but if I went out and made a fight between journeymen Peter Buckley and Sid Razak, just to say, and made it pay-per-view everyone would just laugh and not whinge or moan," he said. "They would just say 'I'm not paying for that. It's a joke' and that would be the end of it.

"But people are going crazy about this fight because they know it's a good fight and they know they want to see it - they just don't want to pay."

He added: "I know there are boxing fans out there who really want to see this fight but can't afford it.

"I understand that and can sympathise with that.

"But for big fights to happen and for the fighters to get the money they want - and believe me he (Cleverly) wanted a lot of money and so did I - then normal TV money isn't enough.

"So something has to break. "Something has to give and Sky Sports Box Office has come to the rescue.

"Has it come to the rescue of the fans? I don't know. But at the moment it has come to the rescue of boxing because it is allowing big fights to happen, which is a good thing for boxing."

Bellew concluded: "If you want to watch things that have a big demand then you are going to have to pay and this fight has serious demand.

"I ain't seen many fights that have sold 10,000 tickets in less than 48 hours. That says it all really.

"Tony Bellew sold 10,000 tickets in 48 hours. Not him (Cleverly), he's the most boring man in the world and no-one cares about him. He's boring and annoying."


Tony Bellew (right) and | |Nathan Cleverly square up ahead of their fight next week
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Publication:Liverpool Echo (Liverpool, England)
Date:Nov 13, 2014
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