Matchroom Boxing head Eddie Hearn believes that the sweet science needs to soon get better with matchmaking its stars in order to survive as a sport.
“We have to make sure our sport, our brand needs to thrive, but you only do that by making the big fights and making the fights that people want to see,” Hearn told IFL. “We cannot afford s--- fights where fighters get a fortune but don’t deliver for the broadcasters because they will kill the sport. So these kinds of things will put more pressure on us to deliver numbers, to deliver content.”
Hearn is one of the principal promoters in the sport who drives the careers for the likes of Anthony Joshua, Gennadiy Golovkin and Devin Haney. He’s also been the promoter of record for Canelo Alvarez’s last three fights, but the Mexican superstar pretty much serves as his own matchmaker.
Alvarez is boxing's pound-for-pound king and sports the best resume of any active fighter.
Hearn wants the rest of the sport to step up their class of competition, or the recent run of celebrity boxing and old-man exhibitions will run them over.
“That’s why I get frustrated about [Jermell] Charlo against [Demetrius} Andrade. This is why I get even more frustrated about Errol Spence against Terence Crawford. What are you doing?” said Hearn. “Jake Paul is an unbelievable self-promoter. Did you see how hard he pushed that fight [with Ben Askren]? All day, every day. He did an amazing job. A super-smart kid. But this is a guy that understands content. He knows how to push numbers.
“In many ways, it was good for boxing. One way I love it is it makes everyone buck their ideas up. [Celebrity boxing], whatever you want to call it, is doing good numbers.”
Regardless of the amount of traction the events led by Paul and the retired likes of Mike Tyson bring, Hearn is committed to staging high-quality boxing shows.
“It’s light entertainment. Do you understand what I’m saying about boxing? We have to make sure that boxing continues to thrive. I almost feel like we’re in competition with it,” said Hearn.
“I did KSI against Logan Paul. I’ve seen the numbers. I know the world, but I want to stick to our world. I’m not saying ‘I’ll never rule out doing that ever again,’ but I want to stick to our world and show how great boxing is. But we only do that by showing great fights.”
Manouk Akopyan is a sports journalist, writer and broadcast reporter. He’s also a member of the Boxing Writers Association of America and MMA Journalists Association. He can be reached on Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn and YouTube at @ManoukAkopyan, via email at manouk[dot]akopyan[at]gmail.com or on www.ManoukAkopyan.com