Prince Patel, Ohara Davies examples of the downside to being outspoken and controversial

Phil Jay 04/01/2018

Two of the most recent examples of gaining a reputation from being a controversial figure have now fully backfired on the pair involved.

Prince Patel and Ohara Davies, two young stars who believed the way to get noticed was to be brash and controversial have both been pegged back in their attempts.

Super-flyweight Patel, 25, burst onto the scene in a 2015 interview with IFL where he proclaimed after his debut to ‘have greatness between his legs’ and was soon noted as one to watch.

In the ilk of a young namesake Naseem Hamed, Patel thought the only route to the top was to say the most putrid and disgusting barrages he could from the outset, a choice which to an extent did help the Londoner gain a contract with Frank Warren.

That was short-lived though as an ill-advised appearance on BoxNation with Steve Bunce produced one of the most shocking displays of disrespect seen on television by a young boxer in recent times.

Patel insulted a former world champion in sofa regular Barry Jones and was roundly criticised by the boxing fans, who proceeded to ridicule the British title contender and called for Warren to sack him.

Soon after, Patel issued a regretful statement to BoxNation outlining his comments were only in jest to maximise his first big TV interview.

“Honestly where that came from was that I am a big wrestling fan and when they are shooting promos they are often disrespectful to someone else. I was going for something along those lines, thinking how can a scripted sport generate so much publicity? I copied that. It backfired badly man!

“It wasn’t really planned, I was going to say something about him then it escalated. It was only supposed to be a little dig but turned into something big and ended up being another video that everyone was talking about.

“When I left the room and thought ‘did I just do that?’ It is another video where I have made an idiot of myself… I have apologised,” he added.

To get his career back on track following an inevitable split with Warren, Patel, who said ‘he asked to leave’, has gained a Hungarian boxing license and won two fights on the spin.

Davies, on the other hand, has been forced to go on the defensive to save his reputation after being accused of being insensitive regarding the Hillsborough Disaster in a distasteful exchange with Tommy Coyle.

Speaking in an interview with Sky Sports this week, Davies, also 25, said he felt he’d been forced to continue with a persona he created solely to sell his breakthrough world level win over Derry Mathews in March, 2017.

“I feel like I have lost the real me,” said Davies to Sky Sports. “Since the build-up to the Josh Taylor fight it hasn’t been in me, and I have felt like I needed to act in a certain way.

“The Derry Mathews fight humbled me. Since then, it has all been an act. It has been forced. I meant everything I said in the build-up to fight Mathews but, since then, I have become an act. I haven’t meant anything.

“The last time I enjoyed [the act] was before the Mathews fight. Before the Josh Taylor fight I didn’t feel like acting arrogant, and people noticed how I didn’t say much. I felt like it wasn’t me anymore. That was a phase that I wanted to leave behind but I felt like I had to keep up my image.

“Then I didn’t want to say the things that I said to Tom Farrell, I wanted to be humble. When I won I didn’t say anything,” he explained.

With the threat of being sacked by Matchroom boss Eddie Hearn hanging over his head, suspended Davies has been supported by none other than snooker legend Ronnie O’Sullivan who believes the Hackney man is nothing like the personality he potrays in the media.

Whatever lies ahead for these two undoubtedly talented boxers, events have highlighted that politeness and being humble certainly go a long way in the sport, and anyone thinking of heading down a similar route should maybe think again.

Tyson Fury has made a career of headlines for his straightforward and candid views but has been able to back up those words inside the ropes, for his trouble, and largely brush off any comebacks.

Phil Jay is Editor of World Boxing News. Follow on Twitter @PhilDJay