Promoter Eddie Hearn appears to have taken a page from the deficit hawks on Capitol Hill.
The Matchroom head, who has made a name for himself based, in part, for his extravagant payouts, recently expressed some uncommon financial discretion after he was asked if he would submit offers for potential purse bids, particularly as it relates to the Teofimo Lopez-George Kambosos IBF lightweight title fight and the recently mandated Terence Crawford-Shawn Porter WBO welterweight title fight.
Hearn actually bid for the Lopez-Kambosos fight back in February, coming in second with an amount of $3,506,000, which was well over Lopez’s promoter Top Rank ($2,315,000), but not enough to beat out Triller’s, which was a whopping $6,018,000.
Triller, however, has yet to stage the fight. Repeated postponements and resistance from the Lopez side have seemingly imperiled that show. As BoxingScene.com previously reported, Top Rank has a contingency plan in place to promote and televise the fight should Triller end up defaulting on its initial bid. Under the IBF rules, if the first bidder defaults, the fight goes to the second bidder, which would be Hearn’s Matchroom (Top Rank is third). However, Matchroom is under no obligation to move forward with the fight.
Asked if he would be interested in promoting the Lopez-Kambosos, in the event that Triller defaults, Hearn offered a lukewarm response.
“Possibly,” Hearn said on the SI Boxing Podcast. “I just – I don’t know. Sometimes when something’s such a mess…It seems like Triller want to do the fight in Australia. Logistically, I don’t know. What a mess. You have a guy (Lopez) who beat Vasyl Lomachenko and was celebrating the fact that he was going to make an absolute fortune, and you got George Kambosos whose life was completely going to change by a monstrous seven-figure payday. It all fell apart. Right now, probably, [it] seems like Triller don’t want to spend the money on that fight, looking in as a fan.”
The timing and volatility of the fight aside, Hearn also seems to believe the fight is no longer worth what it used to be back in February, which is, if nothing else, a marked shift in his usual gung-ho attitude. After all, ever since he announced his multi-year, billion-dollar deal with streaming platform DAZN in 2018, Hearn has made it a point to pay over and above for fights that did not necessarily deserve such a price tag, primarily in an effort to bulldoze his way into the American boxing market. Having now established the previously unknown DAZN to some degree as a brand, Hearn has shifted to a more prudent fiscal outlook, one that, he says, accurately reflects the changing mood of the market.
“The next answer to your core question to us, ‘Do you want to spend the money on that fight?’” said Hearn. “The market changes every day. One day everyone wants to spend a load of money, the next day everyone’s going, 'That’s ridiculous money and actually we’re going to batten down the hatches.' That’s just boxing. To answer your question, I’m not sure. Ultimately it would be a DAZN decision. Because that purse bid would be backed by DAZN. We’re not obligated to do it because it doesn’t really suit our schedule anymore. If the IBF wrote to me and asked me if I want to do this fight, we would go to DAZN and get a decision.”
As it relates to a potential Crawford-Porter purse bid, Hearn was equally circumspect. The fight was recently ordered by the WBO, meaning if both Top Rank, which promotes Crawford, and Premier Boxing Champions, which backs Porter, fail to come up with a deal, it will go to a purse bid, that is, the open market.
“We have a very sensible approach to these fights, in the sense that we will bid what we believe the commercial value of that fight is,” Hearn explained. “In boxing that doesn’t really exist a lot, to be honest with you, and Kambosos against Lopez is a good example of that. We will talk to DAZN – to answer your question, yes, I think we will probably bid on that fight [Crawford-Porter].”
Hearn stated that the “commercial value of the fight” would be devised mainly on the basis of how many subscribers the fight could attract to DAZN.
“We will talk to DAZN and we will establish the value of that fight and that value is based on, quite frankly, the subscribers it would drive,” explained Hearn. “Terence Crawford has never been a pay-per-view fighter on ESPN. We saw his numbers with Amir Khan were very poor. But he’s also a very tremendous fighter who has never really had any great dance partners. Here he has one in Shawn Porter…it’s a good fight.
“We will weigh our options, we will speak to DAZN, and we will establish the true value of that fight. That’s what we will bid. It won’t be a genital measuring contest.”
“When you bid the right money, you pay your bills,” Hearn continued. “I can’t tell you how many people win purse bids and then phone me up and say, ‘Look I know I beat you in the purse bid but do you want to do the fight? Like what? Why did you even bid? Just so you can say you won it?”