Eddie Hearn sat down with Fight Hub TV this weekend ahead of all the big fights to discuss quite a few things, including Canelo Alvarez’s future, Floyd Mayweather’s recent shots at Canelo, the situation with Tyson Fury and Dillian Whyte, Anthony Joshua’s status, Gennadiy Golovkin, Demetrius Andrade, and the lousy state of pay-per-view boxing in the United States right now.
It’s a long one, so buckle up!
“David Benavidez — by the way, he’s a great fighter, alright? But he hasn’t got anything that Canelo Alvarez wants. If you look at what Canelo has done over the last year, year-and-a-half, he’s consistently fought the champions. OK, he had a mandatory that he had to take, but he boxed Daniel Jacobs [at middleweight], Sergey Kovalev [at light heavyweight], then he said to himself, ‘I want to be undisputed.’ He boxed Callum Smith, the No. 1 in the division, Ring Magazine champ. Then he boxed Billy Joe Saunders, WBO world champ. Then he boxed Caleb Plant — he did it in a year! It baffles me, and I know I’m a Canelo Alvarez fanboy, because I think he’s great and I know him personally. To achieve what he’s achieved, to have the money that he has, and to have the ambition and drive that this guy has, makes him an incredibly special athlete. I feel passionately about what he is, as a person and a fighter.
“Having known him and worked with him, he would never duck any fighter, ever. But it has to be a fight that motivates him or there’s a reason behind it. So with Makabu, you can’t say, ‘Oh, he’s looking for an easy fight against Makabu.’ The guy’s 200 lbs! He’s gonna weigh 225 lbs in the ring. He’s gonna out-weigh Canelo Alvarez by 35, 40 lbs. He punches like an absolute mule. That’s not ducking Benavidez or (Jermall) Charlo, like, what has Charlo or Benavidez done or got for him other than a payday? That’s it! And that’s fine for Canelo to accept a payday if he wants.
“But he’s about something different than that. He likes challenges. So right now he’s probably thinking to himself, ‘What excites me? What makes me get back in the ring?’ Going and doing something crazy, like fighting at cruiserweight. Or, what I like, becoming undisputed at 175. Dmitry Bivol, Joe Smith, Artur Beterbiev — what a run that would be. Or Gennadiy Golovkin III, the trilogy fight for the undisputed (at 168).
“But the Benavidez is a great fight and the Charlo fight is a great fight, and I’m not here to speak for Canelo Alvarez and Eddy Reynoso, they’re the bosses, it’s whatever they want to do. But I don’t see what those options actually do for him, and you’ve got to get motivated, especially when you have that lifestyle. To be self-motivated like he is with that lifestyle, he’s a special athlete.
“I think if you said to Canelo Alvarez and David Benavidez, ‘Yeah, we would, but why?’ ... I think Benavidez is a really good fighter, but who has he beaten? Who has he fought? ... Knowing those guys, they’ve never ducked one person. They don’t do things tactically, it’s just about ‘feel.’ When I started working with them, they said, ‘We want to be undisputed. It’s never been done at 168, there’s never been a Latino undisputed champion. Let’s do that.’ They’ve done it. I mean, he may fight Benavidez next or Charlo with the PBC. There will be offers made to him.”
“The other thing that makes me laugh is people kind of feel he kind of has an obligation to fight. Mate, he can do whatever he wants. He has earned the right and the opportunity. The great news for fight fans is, he don’t work like that, so he will do what he wants, but he’ll search for greatness. I’m a little bit conflicted because I’m a massive Canelo Alvarez and Eddy Reynoso fanboy, and I’ve seen from the inside and I know what these guys are all about. I couldn’t put him in a fight where I didn’t believe he was going to win. He’s that good.”
On Mayweather and fans bringing up Canelo’s PED history
“I think going back to the hair follicle stuff, which effectively proved his innocence, I was one of those people back when he tested — I said, ‘People will always have that thing to say.’ If you’re a hater, you’re always going to use whatever you can find. He cleared his name, ultimately, and a lot of people had to eat their words, me included at the time. But if you’re going to hate on someone, there’s an opportunity to do it. When you’re around someone, you get to know people, and I know Canelo Alvarez and I know what the sport means to him. Those allegations don’t sit well with me, because I know the guy.
“In the past, I’ve been guilty of saying something, probably without much knowledge, and I had an opponent fighting him, so I was trying to wind him up a little bit. But he’s done what he had to do to make sure he can put that to bed.
“Floyd always wants to stay relevant and he’s a great, so — but anything he says a little controversial just blows up. I didn’t like what he said, but he’s his own guy and he’s going to do what he wants to do.”
“I think Tank’s a brilliant fighter. Brilliant. But his resume is really poor. And I can’t give these guys enough props, like, they’ve done a great job with him. He’s a star. But if you just want to box in-house guys, you can’t be a great. What’s next for him? Tell me a fight for Tank, in-house, after Isaac Cruz. (Rolando Romero) isn’t going to make him a great, is it? No disrespect to Rollie, who again is a great fighter. But what about Kambosos, Lomachenko, Devin Haney? That’s what makes you a great.
“I just feel that even if the plan was to only fight guys on your platform, you don’t really want to say it, do you? Fans are just going to go, ‘Well, what’s the plan for Gervonta Davis?’”
On the glut of pay-per-view in the U.S. boxing market
“You’re distorting (Davis’) potential by limiting his audience in fights like that. If (the Cruz fight) was on Sunday on FOX, it could do a huge audience. Yet, I don’t know if it does 100,000 buys. Honestly, I don’t know if it does 50. You’re getting to a stage in this market now, I can’t believe how many pay-per-views you have. That fight is $74.99, and two weeks ago or whatever it was, you had (Crawford-Porter), which bombed. Once you do a Canelo fight (on PPV), and you absorb whatever it did, 650, 750, whatever, it’s really difficult to bounce back with another one. And (Crawford-Porter) felt the effect of that, which was a really good fight, which did 130, 135, whatever it did. Disastrous!
“Now you do this one. This could do 50 or 60,000. You imagine you’ve got a fighter as big a star as Tank, doing whatever it does. Take the week after, then you have Charles Martin against Luis Ortiz two weeks after that, what’s that all about? And I understand, because I’ve done too many pay-per-views in the past, because you run out of dates on your platform. ... I’m not a believer that pay-per-view is dead, I’m not. ... But I do believe that too much pay-per-view and too much poor quality pay-per-view — the problem is, Crawford against Porter, which was a really good fight, that on normal ESPN is so big for the sport, and same with Tank this weekend. But the fighters are getting so much money that the broadcasters are saying, ‘Well, we won’t pay that license fee.’”
On Showtime not wanting to lower prices and get the same amount of buys
“(Another) problem is, if you lower the price, it’s an admission of a poorer quality. For instance, Charles Martin against Luis Ortiz is $39.99. Well what are you saying, it’s not very good? You are, aren’t you? Once you lower the price of something, it’s a kind of admission of value, and that’s dangerous for a pay-per-view. But it’s also dangerous to keep doing pay-per-views at 70, 80 bucks. ... Even when I was doing (five or six PPVs per year) at £20, we were getting hammered by the fans.”
On the Dillian Whyte arbitration with the WBC
“I think it’s very close to getting settled now. It’s really about getting something that’s concrete, getting the right split that you deserve as the interim champion and someone that’s waited for a very long time. I think they feel that going through that process is a lot more concrete than just hoping that the WBC orders it. I think that’s imminent, and when it happens, I think he’ll be called to fight Tyson Fury.”
On Top Rank wanting an 80/20 split for Fury-Whyte
“As the interim world champion I believe the minimum you can get is 30 percent, and the maximum is 45. I honestly believe for how long Dillian Whyte has waited and the value he brings to that fight, he should be at the higher end. That’s another reason they’re going through this process, to get a fair crack at the split of this fight. That’s very important. ... He wants to make sure he gets it at the right terms and that it’s concrete and solid with no exceptions, basically. The process has been going on so long that I guess (Team Whyte) have lost faith that it’s going to happen, so they’re going down this route to make sure it won’t be denied.”
On Anthony Joshua stepping aside to allow Fury-Usyk
“People have reached out to us about AJ, ‘Would you consider doing this and doing that and stepping aside?’ It’s not on the agenda, it’s not what he’s about. But if something was presented that I felt I should take to him, I would. Tyson Fury wants to get his next opponent locked in. We’ve got a rematch clause with Usyk which we need to schedule. We’re all sitting and waiting, getting ready to move. Everyone wants to decide what they’re doing in 2022.”
On this being similar to Deontay Wilder possibly stepping aside from Fury III
“The money wasn’t there. There was no one willing to give him the step-aside money. I don’t even think that conversation was ever really had. Same with AJ, he’s made it clear to me: ‘Don’t approach me with anything unless you really feel like it’s a conversation worth having, because I just want this fight.’ Nothing got presented to Deontay Wilder that made Al Haymon have that conversation with Deontay Wilder. He may have just said no, but it doesn’t matter because it never got presented. And this may never get presented.”
“It’s on DAZN, but we haven’t been overly involved in that fight. It’s a real kick in the proverbials for Gennadiy because he’s waited a year, really, for that fight, and now he can’t have it. Do you reschedule that fight in the hope that the borders open? Who knows what’s gonna happen?
“Do you fight Demetrius Andrade in a unification? Do you try and make the Canelo Alvarez trilogy in May? These things are possible, but it’s a big blow to him because he’s kind of hedged his bets that (Murata) was the next fight. Obviously it’s completely out of his control, but he’ll be looking around going, ‘Do I wait?’ Because you could wait until February or March and have the same problem. It’s a tough one for him, but he’s gonna want to fight.”
On why Golovkin-Andrade hasn’t been made
“Gennadiy Golovkin’s his own boss. If he doesn’t want to fight — he chose to fight Murata. I understand that. He wanted to go to Japan, it was a unification fight. If that’s not available, I would love him to fight Andrade, and I think DAZN would, as well. But it’s down to Gennadiy. He’s the bigger name, he’s earned the right to make the choices he wants to. Hopefully he turns around now and goes, ‘Well if I can’t get that unification, I’ll fight Demetrius.’ ... Or Charlo, but obviously different networks. I still think it can get made.”
On Andrade and Charlo going back-and-forth
“We wrote to the WBC and said under your rules, you can order another champion to become mandatory for one of your champions. Quite a strange rule, but it’s been done before. They’re the only governing body that have that rule. I said, ‘For the good of boxing, please can you order Demetrius Andrade against Jermall Charlo.’ I wrote to the WBO and said, ‘Just to let you know, we’ve made this request, if it gets ordered, we would appreciate you sanctioned it.’ And they came back and put a mandatory on us. So it was quite frustrating. Janibek (Alimkhanuly) is a good fighter, but not the fight people are crying out for. Then we think, do we move up to 168 and become mandatory there under the WBO rules? Possibly, but part of Demetrius’ value is that he’s world middleweight champion, and I would only recommend that he move up and vacate the belt if there is a solid option for him.”
“They’re not going to call a mandatory (on Canelo at 168), by the way, and I don’t see Canelo hanging around at super middleweight. Maybe for a Golovkin fight, but he’s done. I had a debate with Demetrius’ mum, and he’ll fight anyone, but you’ve got to have something (Canelo) wants. It could be money, but that’s not his real big motivator. It could be a belt, or it could be a part of the jigsaw to do this and make history. So it’s hard, because Demtrius will say, ‘Canelo’s ducking me!’ I don’t think he is, it’s just that the time to get that fight was back in the day when Canelo was at middleweight. That was when it could have happened because (Andrade) was a champion. But Canelo couldn’t make middleweight anymore and moved to 168, and why would he fight the middleweight world champion?”
On Canelo vs Makabu possibly happening on DAZN
“Makabu’s not with us, he’s not with PBC, so whoever pays the most money has a good chance of getting it. I like the fight. I’ve done a fight with Makabu (against) Tony Bellew. We’d want any Canelo Alvarez fight, but that’s a historic fight. I do like the Golovkin fight. The first two were brilliant and it’s the undisputed championship still. And I like the 175 move. I like anything he wants to do. ... I consider him a mate, we talk a lot and I have massive respect for him, but it’s business. He’s not going to take a fight because he likes me. All things being equal, I think he would want to be with us, but if there’s a better opportunity, it’s, ‘Sorry, Eddie, I’m gonna take this one,’ and I say, ‘Absolutely, boss.’”