JEFF FENECH MERCHANDISING - JUDGEMENT DAY, 1991
The big fight Jeff''s fans had been waiting for was his bout against Azumah Nelson from Ghana, Don King had finally put it all together for June 28, 1991.
All I could remember about that Las Vegas Fenech versus Nelson fiasco...was how one more time one of our fighters had been badly done by. The LA sports writers made a point that Nelson was the bigger hitter, but what does that mean when Fenech ''seemed'' (to me at least), to out class, out maneuver, out speed and out point Nelson on every move during every round...
Then how could Don King judges have given that a draw at the end of 12 rounds? Or was I just the most bias Jeff Fenech fan in town.
Wind the clock forward to March 1st 1992 Princes Park, Melbourne and its Jeffs sweet revenge, if he looked that good in Las Vagas, then what do I think he will do to Nelson infront of a good ole'' ozzie crowd.
An American associate of mine was also a mutual friend of Jeff''s, he discussed the benefits with Jeff of giving the Bob Jones Corporation the world merchandising rights to the Fenech/Nelson fight in Melbourne.
|General Manager Michael Bikiki & Bob Jones
counting thousands of Fenech t-shirts
On signing contracts I immediately took a BJC - five man marketing team to America, and we sourced manufacturing costs and quality control, different strengths of distributions networks, advertising and marketing cost effectiveness to our ''sales potential''. The sales potential for the United States was that id Jeff won another World Title he would go into the boxing history ''Hall Of Fame'' with only an elite few.
Our company, Fighting Fit Leisureware was responsible for Australian production etc. We decided to call the event ''Judgement Day Downunder''. This seemed like a good idea until we were told by Toohey''s solicitors that their group had contracted the television rights for the Australian production/filming rights and that they were calling the event ''The Big Blue''. We finally got over this small hurdle just in time to be hit with a major hurdle. Jeff''s hands were again giving him trouble. On this nation wide tour promoting the event and his/our ''Judgement Day Downunder'' merchandise, his hands were too sore for him to do any sparring...no sparring, no promotion of merchandise.
Another major hurdle, Mr Dave Hedgcock Senior (the father -since deceased- of my best mate) a good ole'' buddy of mine said to me "Bobby, is there any way you can get out of that merchandise deal?"
Dave Snr was an authority on the history of boxing and every time Bill Mordie, Australia''s premier boxing promoter, did any fight card in Melbourne he had Dave Snr look after all international fighters. "I''ve been watching Azumah Nelson train and spar, Jesus Christ, he''s gonna do some damage - and Jeffs hands..." Now I''d known Dave Snr for twenty years, and not once had he ever been wrong with the facts either with boxing or kickboxing.
That week I sold off the rights to a well known Doctor involved in the fight game, after having explained the dilemma, he still thought it was worth a shot.
The final major hurdle, at the press conference just prior to the fight Azumah Nelson, in a very calm and confident manner told the eager media, "On the flight over here I wrote on the back of a napkin five reasons why I will easily knock Jeff Fenech out - and ''after'' the fight, I will give this list to Jeff personally."
Dave Hedgcock Snr and Azumah Nelson were both right - Oh! The headaches of the fight game...