Croke Park not hosting Katie Taylor would be a “dreadful miscarriage of justice”, Anna Moore of the Irish Athletic Boxing Association has said.
Ms Taylor is due to fight Amanda Serrano in May and fans had hoped Croke Park would be used as the venue; however, negotiations stalled amid questions of cost.
Croke Park charges €400,000 in rent for the night and Matchroom, Ms Taylor’s promoters, would have needed to pay additional costs for security as well.
A poll on Newstalk’s Twitter account found most people opposed the State subsidising the event in order for it to take place at Croke Park; at 3.30pm on 3rd February, 54% had voted ‘No’ to State funding, 19% had voted ‘Yes’ and 26% wanted the Boxing Promoter to pick up the tab.
However, Ms Moore believes that there is a case for the State to stump up some cash for the event.
“I wouldn’t expect them to foot the whole bill but I would hope that they would maybe get sponsors or they could pay half of it,” Ms Moore told Lunchtime Live.
“After all, she is an icon, she is the most successful sportsperson - man or woman - that ever has come out of Ireland.
“I was listening yesterday, somebody said that Croke Park made €17 million last year - surely to God, they should be willing to put the extra money in to get Katie Taylor, who is an icon, to box in Croke Park?”
The fight will instead be held in the 3Arena but Ms Moore thinks it is not large enough to do the event justice.
“Because it’s only 8,000 [seats] I think in the 3Arena, they will put their prices up sky-high,” she said.
“I think it would be a dreadful miscarriage of justice to Katie Taylor if everybody in Ireland from the Government to the GAA to anybody who can put money into getting this on [didn’t help].
“But I definitely do think she should be allowed and should be honoured for all the honour she’s brought to Ireland throughout the whole world.”
Boxer Eric Donovan believes the issue is a “tricky one” and urged both sides to compromise.
“I honestly don’t think the State should take full responsibility for it,” he said.
“But… the promoters of the event need to come to some sort of compromise along with the GAA.
“Because, as everyone has stated, this is a once in a lifetime opportunity for everybody in Ireland to get behind and see our greatest athlete fight on home soil.”
Ms Taylor has not fought in Ireland for some years and Mr Donovan said it would be a shame not to host her in Ireland’s most famous stadium.
“We need to bring her home because the clock is ticking,” he said.
“We need to celebrate her one final time on Irish soil and I just think the iconic venue of Croke Park and our greatest ever athlete, it’s a match made in heaven - it really is.
“I think it’s a shame to even consider the 3Arena… brilliant venue but you’re going to have a terrible lot of heartbroken children, young boys and girls… will be left heartbroken because the ticket prices for the 3Arena for an event like that will be through the roof.”
Main image: Split of Taylor and Croke Park. Pictures by: Alamy.com