Matchroom Boxing promoter Eddie Hearn spoke with iFilm London about Saturday's Carl Frampton-Kiko Martinez fight, plus the Mayweather-Alexander-Brook situation, and Froch-Kessler II.
On Carl Frampton vs Kiko Martinez
"That's why we love coming to Belfast, over 1,000 people in it just for the weigh-in. Atmosphere, fantastic. Martinez is up for this, he looks in great shape. It was quite funny seeing the trainer and Barry McGuigan, Barry McGuigan I think thought he was 25 again, but it was alright. It was just the right amount of aggro to keep everything respectable but realize there's a lot on the line for both fighters.
"This is a massive fight, the undercard is absolutely stacked. I'd go as far as to say this is the best show I've put on from top to bottom. There's 11 fights, so much variety. But that top one's really becoming more and more mouth-watering by the moment. First the press conference yesterday, and now the weigh-in. Just can't wait."
"We had the darts here last night, we had 7,500. We're gonna have 7,500 at the boxing tomorrow. It's virtually back-to-back events. They love their boxing, they love their sport, but they really get behind their fighters. Frampton sold a load of tickets, you've got (Jamie) Conlan on the undercard who sold a load, (Martin) Lindsay sold a load. Of course, Andy Lee against (Anthony) Fitzgerald, they've brought plenty up from southern Ireland as well. It's just a brilliant night of boxing.
"I said to Adam Smith before, you look around, you never really see this kind of passion at a weigh-in. You've got to remember what this is. It's a European title fight. It's not a world title fight, it's a European title fight. And we've seen the response we're getting. 7,500 at the venue, thousands at the weigh-in. When it kicks off over here, in terms of fighters becoming superstars, it really kicks off. There's three, four pages in each paper about the bill. We never get that back in the UK, only for the monster fights. When you come here, boxing feels like a massive sport again. That's why we love to come."
On Froch-Kessler II tickets going fast
"What you've got to remember is, a bigger venue is logistically very, very difficult. Whether it's the weather, the lay on the pitch, finding a venue that can comply on that date we wanted, which is the Champions League final, May 25. As a promoter, from a business sense, the gross revenue of the ticket sales at the O2 Arena is kind of line with 25-30,000 at an outdoor event.
"Don't get me wrong, that's not being lazy. I want as many people to come to the show as possible, but I love fights in big arenas. I don't really like outdoor events. I think you lose some of the atmosphere, you lose some of the intensity, and that's what we're trying to create to help Carl Froch win this fight.
"When you look at the O2, 17-18,000, I knew we'd sell out, but I thought it might be a week, or a month or so, before everything went. But, you know, it shows how big Carl Froch has got. He's the biggest fighter in the UK, bar none. It shows how big the fight is, with Mikkel Kessler. We've got four months to go. You can't buy a ticket. It's a massive, massive fight."
On complaints about Froch-Kessler being a pay-per-view
"I think generally most people understand that it is a pay-per-view fight. Why is it a pay-per-view fight? Because the money is not there to make this fight happen without pay-per-view. And it's all very well, people saying, 'But Sky pay billions for the football.' Boxing is not football. There's a set amount of budget for each individual sport, and it's not a case of pulling out more money to make the fight happen.
"If I could make this non-pay-per-view, and I had that option, of course. I would make sure as many people could watch it as possible. But if it's a choice between the fight happening and the fight not happening, I'm going to make the fight happen. Whatever I have to do to make the fight happen, and it is pay-per-view. And the only thing I can say to that small minority saying that is, I'd rather give you the opportunity to buy it than not make the fight at all. And the other thing I'd tell you is, if there was one person that deserved the pay-per-view fight, if there was one fight that deserved to be the pay-per-view fight, it's Carl Froch, and it's Carl Froch vs Mikkel Kessler."
On the Mayweather-Alexander-Brook IBF triangle
"I'd already known about (Alexander's) withdrawal (from the February 23 fight). When I got back from Copenhagen, I saw the tweet from Mayweather. The tweet looked a little bit strange to me, it looked like a setup. I thought it was just a play to make Guerrero sign a little bit quicker, which I think we've since found out it is. ... Lindsey Tucker and the IBF told me straight away, no, Kell Brook is the mandatory challenger, the contracts are signed with Devon Alexander. He fights for the world title next against Devon Alexander, and if Alexander takes another fight, it's a vacant title."
"Where are we now? I spoke to Richard Schaefer last night. I believe they're trying to pair it with Garcia-Judah in New York in April. We're ready. Kell's ready. He's frustrated, he's ready to go."
"I'm hounding Golden Boy nonstop for dates. With all due respect to them as well, it's not easy just to magic up a date and say, we'll do it then. You've got to find a venue, you've got to pair it right, you've got to get Showtime."
"I don't know what's happening behind the scenes. Mayweather might want Devon Alexander not to say anything at the moment, because they're trying to drop the Guerrero deal. I don't know. The only thing that matters to me is Kell Brook will fight for the world title in his next fight, whether it's next week or six weeks."