By Keith Idec
NEW YORK – Luis Arias gave Eddie Hearn a backhanded compliment during a press conference Thursday.
Arias, who will fight Daniel Jacobs on Saturday night, thanked Hearn for the opportunity to knock off the established middleweight Hearn and HBO have signed to exclusive contracts. Arias also made sure to point out that Hearn had plenty of help from his father, Barry Hearn, in making Matchroom Boxing a promotional powerhouse in the United Kingdom.
The card headlined by Jacobs-Arias will mark the promotional debut for Matchroom Boxing USA, the new American division of Hearn’s company. Brooklyn’s Jacobs, a cancer survivor and former WBA middleweight champion, is the first fighter Hearn has signed to fight under that promotional umbrella.
“Finally, Team Arias, Luis Arias, has finally made it to the big stage,” Arias said. “And I’m grateful for the opportunity. I’d like to thank HBO, Peter Nelson. To be approved to ‘HBO Championship Boxing,’ at only 18-0, it’s an accomplishment in itself and I’m grateful for that. Thank you. Thanks to Roc Nation for the opportunity. Thank you to Eddie Hearn. I was wondering how somebody so young could be running such a big company. And I found out you got a little help from your dad, but you’ve gotta give credit where credit is due.
“And Eddie has taken Matchroom Boxing to the next level. And because of Eddie Hearn, this fight will be watched all over Europe, all in the UK, and we’re starting to get some global eyes and people watching. So I’m glad for that, because the world will get to see me shock Daniel Jacobs.”
The 38-year-old Hearn, a polarizing figure among boxing fans in the United Kingdom, laughed and took Arias’ verbal jab in stride.
“Thank you, Luis. Excellent,” said Hearn, whose company promotes British heavyweight superstar Anthony Joshua. “Thank you for the kind words. What you said, facts, yeah. I was born with a silver spoon in my mouth, but I did turn it gold. Now, the great thing about boxing is, once they get in the ring, the talking is over. And Luis Arias has done a wonderful job talking what he believes to be the truth, what people wanna hear, what people wanna see to grow this fight.”
HBO’s broadcast Saturday night also will feature Brooklyn heavyweight Jarrell Miller (19-0-1, 17 KOs) in a 10-round heavyweight fight against Poland’s Mariusz Wach (33-2, 17 KOs). The telecast is scheduled to start at 10 p.m. ET/7 p.m. PT, when Cletus Seldin (20-0, 16 KOs), an undefeated junior welterweight from Long Island, meets Mexico’s Roberto Ortiz (35-1-2, 26 KOs) in a 10-rounder.
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.