As a fight fan, I enjoy Eddie Hearn. Promoters are promoters, but of the current crop, Hearn seems by far the most in tune with things that might raise boxing’s profile. Boxing is not likely to ever become a truly mainstream sport again, but there is definitely room for it to become bigger than it has been.
In MMA, UFC has had Dana White as a charismatic, controversial public face of the company. Boxing has no “company,” at least not now, but if it did, Hearn would probably be the best choice for the White role. That’s my opinion, anyway.
But Hearn’s latest bit of promotional bluster is a bit dorky even for me, as he’s trying to sell the public on that idea that Dillian Whyte may attack Alexander Povetkin ahead of next Saturday’s DAZN and Sky Box Office main event if the two aren’t kept in separate accommodations during fight week.
During Matchroom’s Fight Camp series this week, all the fighters have been staying in the same place during fight week, inside a “bubble,” keeping things as safe as possible to keep boxing moving during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“If we don’t separate these guys they will be rolling down the hill towards the A12. It is a serious, serious point I’m making to the British Boxing Board of Control. We need to make sure those two are separated and segregated.
“I’m not worried about Povetkin, I’m worried about Whyte because he has already told me: ‘If I see this guy in my face on fight week in that hotel, I can’t be responsible for my actions.’ So we need to make sure that we don’t have issues. Keep them apart to make sure the fight goes ahead.”
Whyte (27-1, 18 KO) is certainly a character, and I can certainly see why Hearn is trying to use this sort of talk to sell his fight, particularly on UK pay-per-view. It’s a tough time for everyone in boxing, and Hearn and Co. could absolutely use a cash injection that comes from PPV receipts.
Whyte’s last three main event fights — against Joseph Parker, Derek Chisora, and Oscar Rivas — have been Sky Box Office fights, with diminishing returns each time. He sold 474,000 against Parker, 438,000 against Chisora, and 286,000 against Rivas. Maybe Hearn is just worried that given the state of things, Whyte-Povetkin needs the extra juice. And again, promoters are promoters. But this all just rings particularly false and corny. There had to be some other idea.
But then again, Hearn tends to get most things right. Maybe he’s taking the right swing here, too. We’ll see, and either way, it’s still a good fight, goober promotional tactic or not.