One of the most anticipated boxing purse bids in recent memory will have a key promotional player looking to steal the show.
Matching Boxing head Eddie Hearn has declared that should the potential fight between WBO welterweight champion Terence Crawford and former world titleholder Shawn Porter head to purse bid, he’ll look to land the fight by being the highest bidder.
Crawford (37-0, 28 KOs) is promoted by Top Rank and Porter (31-1-3-1, 17 KOs) is tied with PBC and Tom Brown’s TGB Promotions.
On Aug. 23, the WBO ordered a purse bid to take place in front of a live audience on Sept. 2. However, on Sept. 1, both sides requested an extension, and thus, the WBO moved the deadline for a deal to get done to Sept. 14.
If Hearn has it his way, he’ll look to take the fight away the fight from the competition.
“I was supposed to [bid on Sept. 2],” Hearn said on DAZN. “I send someone to Puerto Rico to bid for that fight and then they canceled the purse bids. They extended the negotiations period. Look, there's a lot of players in the market at the moment that could be bidding a lot of money for that fight, and we're one of them. Whether our bid is sufficient enough I guess we may or may not find out. But it's interesting in that dynamic because you have a fighter in the PBC and a fighter at Top Rank. They don't really want it to go to a purse bid. When you extend a negotiations period, both sides have to agree to that extension ... The fighters on the other hand are probably secretly thinking, 'a purse bid won't be the end of the world, will it?' ... the fighters might even say, 'OK. Let's see who bids what. It's quite a time for purse bids.”
Should the fight end up going to a purse bid, it would be a 60/40 split in Crawford's favor.
Matchroom Boxing has precedent in showing up to pursue bids involving fighters from rival promoters. In February, Matchroom Boxing placed a $3,506,000 bid looking to land a lightweight fight between Teofimo Lopez Jr. and George Kambosos Jr.
The Lopez-promoting Top Rank offered $2,315,000, but both were ultimately trumped by Triller’s $6,018,000.
Hearn’s move drew the ire of Top Rank boss Bob Arum, who told BoxingScene.com at the time:
“We would have been pissed if Eddie Hearn and Matchroom put in the winning bid. That’s bad policy for him to do that because he has nothing to do with Teofimo. Hearn gets into a lot of purse bids and we don’t ever get involved if we don’t have a connection with the fighter. It makes no sense for them to put Lopez on DAZN. It’s just wrong.
“But he lost and pissed us off at the same time. It sent a message to us. But he better watch out the next time he goes to a purse bid when the fighters have no connection to ESPN or Top Rank. Maybe we’ll jam a bid up Hearn’s ass. We’ll get back at them. I’m angry at them, yeah.”
Hearn clapped back at Arum after hearing the comments, telling BoxingScene.com:
“They let it get to this … You know, Bob’s been out there, ‘Oh, Eddie Hearn, I’m f------ pissed off that he’s bid and he’s gotta watch himself now.’ F--- off! It’s an open market. If you can’t do a deal with your fighter, and that comes into the open market, you pay the consequences. And the consequence is someone else has popped up from nowhere and taken one of your biggest assets on your platform, for ESPN, and put it on another platform. It’s a disaster for Top Rank.”
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