EXCLUSIVE: Manager Peter Kahn addresses Van Heerden v Mbenge possibilities
Peter Kahn, the man behind the current run of welterweight Chris Van Heerden, along with Manny Pacquiao sparring partner George Kambosos Jr. (promoted by Lou DiBella) and Saul Rodriguez (promoted by Top Rank), has aired his views on the recent WBN interview with South African promoter Rodney Berman.
Asked his thoughts on Van Heerden’s move to the United States, after the pair shared successes in his homeland, Berman chose to stir up talk of a potential clash with current IBO welterweight title holder Thulani Mbenge.
Van Heerden, a former holder of the strap, is involved in the semi-final stage of the WBC Invitational tournament. ‘The Heat’ told WBN in the wake of Berman’s comments that the clash could interest him in the future if the money was right.
Getting his point across, Kahn had his own feelings on what Berman was hoping to achieve.
“The truth of the matter is that Berman is doing what he’s supposed to do as a promoter,” Kahn exclusively told World Boxing News. “His fighter obviously wants big fights and opportunity and they’re trying to make that happen in South Africa.
“I’m sure Berman’s feeling the pressure to deliver something big going into most likely the final year of his promotional agreement with Mbenge.
“It’s obvious that both Berman and Mbenge have no intention of leaving South Africa nor does Berman have the financial resources to make it worthwhile for Chris to come back to South Africa to fight. So none of this is on our radar. I would love for him to prove me wrong.
“Let Mbenge come to the United States, fight a few guys that people have actually heard of or actually seen and then see how his power stacks up.
“I also don’t need a history lesson from Berman regarding the traits of what makes a great fighter. It’s easy to talk about how great your guy is when you don’t have to worry about him actually fighting anyone.”
On Van Heerden making the break from Berman to follow his American dream. Plus, the prospects of the Mbenge fight actually making it across the line, Kahn added: “Chris has nothing but admiration and respect for his and Berman’s time working together.
“Berman has a long history of success in Africa and his track record speaks for itself. But none of that really matters. Money talks. Berman’s backhanded compliments don’t really matter much to us. This is a business.
“Here’s the issue. If Berman were serious about making the fight against Mbenge happen, then he’d offer the right dollars. We’ve already been down this path with him seven months ago. It’s no surprise he keeps trying to resurrect a fight with Chris.
“Everyone in the fight game knows what Chris is made of. He is also evolving and still a work in progress. Berman says he’s in his twilight, I say Chris is in his prime. He is well respected by everyone.”
“Chris has nothing to be ashamed of regarding his loss to Errol Spence Jr. In addition, Berman’s comments about Chris’ lack of power is nothing more than bait. We have bigger fish to fry.
“We chose to enter the WBC Jose Sulaiman World Invitational for strategic reasons. It guaranteed Chris activity against quality welterweights.
“Right now, we’re in a holding pattern after the August fight was postponed by the promoter. If Berman wants to make the fight with Mbenge for the IBO world title, then simply offer the right purse to go along with the offer.
“In the meantime, Chris is focused on his next opponent,” he stated.
Van Heerden is awaiting details of his rearrange contest against Fredrick Lawson after the semi-final was postponed due to visa issues.
Phil Jay is Editor of World Boxing News. Follow on Twitter @PhilDJay