Eddie Hearn felt a bit guilty after watching greatness unfold before his very eyes Saturday night.
Having paid Avni Yildirim more money than Juan Francisco Estrada for their disparate efforts in recent weeks didn’t sit quite right with the British promoter as he discussed Estrada’s admirable performance against Roman Gonzalez in their 115-pound title unification fight Saturday night at American Airlines Center in Dallas. Whereas Estrada earned every penny of his undisclosed purse, Hearn didn’t walk away from Yildirim’s mandated shot at Canelo Alvarez’s WBC super middleweight title with the same feeling February 27.
Yildirim (21-3, 12 KOs) reportedly was paid $2.5 million, but he wasn’t remotely competitive with Mexico’s Alvarez (55-1-2, 37 KOs), who dropped the Turkish contender with a right hand in the third round at Hard Rock Stadium in Miami Gardens, Florida. Joel Diaz, Yildirim’s trainer, wouldn’t let him start the fourth round that night.
“Sometimes I pay a fighter, I’ll give you an example – Yildirim,” Hearn said during a post-fight press conference following Estrada’s split-decision win Saturday night. “Right? So, I pay Yildirim. Yildirim got more than Juan Estrada. Right? And it makes me feel a little bit sick. Right? But then I watched [the Estrada-Gonzalez rematch], and I think those guys should get more [money]. Do you know what I mean?
“But it’s not a charity. It’s a business. So, it depends how many people want to watch the fight. More people wanna see the third fight. So, you know, listen, [Estrada] has [Srisaket] Sor Rungvisai, he has [Kazuto] Ioka, he has [Jerwin] Ancajas, he has Roman Gonzalez. He has many options.”
Sor Rungvisai (50-5-1, 43 KOs) is the mandatory challenger for Estrada’s WBC super flyweight title. The Thai southpaw is supposed to challenge Estrada next, though there figures to be a lot of interest in an immediate rubber match against Gonzalez, a four-division champion and former pound-for-pound king.
Whenever representatives for Mexico’s Estrada (42-3, 28 KOs) and Nicaragua’s Gonzalez (50-3, 41 KOs) negotiate for them to fight again, Hearn expects Estrada’s team will want more money because he won what is widely viewed as a controversial split decision in their rematch (117-111, 115-113, 113-115).
“I can’t speak on behalf of Juan and Latin Sports, but I believe that he was very happy with his purse tonight,” said Hearn, whose company co-promotes Estrada. “But, you know, fighters always want more money. We have this conversation a lot at the moment. There’s a lot of women fighters who also campaign [for higher purses]. Really, the value of the product represents the value of the purse. OK? So, the money that a fight generates reflects on the purse that a fighter is paid. It doesn’t matter about their weight class. It doesn’t matter about their sex. It doesn’t matter about their race.
“It matters about subscriptions, ticket sales, the commercial interest from broadcasters. So, the smaller weight classes – now, I don’t know what Juan Estrada received for the first fight [with Gonzalez]. But I’d like to think he made 10 times more tonight for the second fight. And I’m sure his manager will be asking for more for the third fight. You know what I mean? Yeah, mucho dinero.”
Hearn suggested Dignity Health Sports Park as the site for their third fight, whenever the venue formerly known as StubHub Center can accommodate a capacity crowd in Carson, California. The first Estrada-Gonzalez fight, which Gonzalez won by unanimous decision in November 2012, was held at the Los Angeles Memorial Sports Arena.
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.