NEW YORK— Eddie Hearn couldn’t help but laugh at the irony.
The veteran promoter from England had to endure insults throughout fight week heading into unbeaten lightweight Devin Haney’s eventual stoppage win over Russia’s Zaur Abdullaev in New York City. Only it wasn’t anyone involved in Friday’s show at Madison Square Garden’s Hulu Theater, but rather Hall of Fame promoter Bob Arum who was on the other side of the United States promoting Tyson Fury’s clash with Sweden’s Otto Wallin in Las Vegas.
“I’m an experienced promoter and I would never, ever refer to any fight that Hearn is putting on, because I’m not gonna publicize another promoter’s fights,” Arum told BoxingScene.com’s Keith Idec last week in Vegas. “All he does is talk about my fights. You know, ‘Unwatchable, Tyson Fury-Wallin.’
“Well, if he said that after the fight, then maybe that’s not so good for me because I can’t do any more business, right? But if he says it before, hey, say it a few times. He’s publicizing my fight.”
With an announced attendance of 8,249 for Fury-Wallin, it appears such cross-promotion didn’t quite do the trick. Of course, it made for plenty of fun storylines and also keeping Hearn’s names in the headlines without even asking for the extra attention.
“I (hosted) a press conference in Los Angeles (for the Nov. 9 KSI-Logan Paul rematch to be held at Staples Center) in front of more people than (was) at his show in Las Vegas,” Hearn quipped to BoxingScene.com and other reports following Friday’s DAZN show in NYC. “Bob Arum said that I’m an idiot because if you talk about someone too much, you’re just promoting them.
“Well, all he’s done all week is talk about me. So, I want to thank Bob Arum for all the publicity this week.”
The back-and-forth comes just two weeks after the leading promoters on both sides of the Atlantic worked together for a memorable Aug. 31 show at London’s O2 Arena. Vasiliy Lomachenko—the two-time Olympic Gold medalist from Ukraine whom Top Rank has promoted since his Oct. 2013 pro debut—became a three-belt lightweight titlist following a 12-round win over England’s Luke Campbell, who captured a Gold medal in 2012 London and has since been with Hearn’s Matchroom Boxing outfit.
The show was a rousing success, just not to where Arum can—or will ever—hold his tongue.
“Bob is Bob,” notes Hearn. “He’s two-faced… he was all up my backside in London, saying I was the greatest thing since sliced bread. Now he’s been slagging me off all week.
“It’s boxing, I don’t take anything personal.”
Jake Donovan is a senior writer for BoxingScene.com. Twitter: @JakeNDaBox