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Eddie Hearn on working with Canelo, beef with Top Rank, location for Canelo-Saunders

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The Matchroom promoter had plenty to say on his weekly Ak & Barak appearance.

Ed Mulholland/Matchroom

Eddie Hearn made his standard weekly appearance on the Ak and Barak SiriusXM show weekly and shared a couple spicy news and opinion tidbits.

The Matchroom promoted touched on last Saturday’s Canelo-Yildirim event in Miami, where Canelo steamrolled his poor mandatory challenger. Hearn said the event as a whole had a Super Bowl-style vibe, though he acknowledged that this was set up as a showcase for Canelo on the road to May 8 against Billy Joe Saunders.

“The energy was incredible, and I was proud, because boxing became sexy again on Saturday,” Hearn said.

Hearn also acknowledged that Yildirim got a real fat check, over $2 million, as Yildirim was entitled to getting 25% being the WBC mandatory challenger. At issue: Was Yildirim suited for such a test, did he “deserve” getting a payday of that size?

Hearn did note that sure, you as a fan did want that pound of flesh, and get that massive climax. ”And that fight was going one way,” he said. “I was a bit disappointed he didn’t go out on his back,” but he also believed that trainer Joel Diaz did a fine job assessing Yildirim and keeping him from maybe getting hurt worse than he did.

The promoter believes the younger Canelo who fought Floyd Mayweather in 2013 was maybe “30 percent” of the fighter he is now. Thus, that has to be factored in, that he is at such a high level; you must know this, and allocate blame and credit properly when he blows out a Callum Smith or a Yildirim.

He also said that Canelo is growing not only as a fighter, but also as a personality, and that the promoter is working on helping bring out his personality, his sense of humor, etc. And it seems like the promoter is cementing his partnership for the fighter beyond the two-fight deal that ends when Canelo faces Saunders, Barak noted, and Eddie didn’t say he wouldn’t be.

“For every Canelo fight (there will be something) obscene for the ring walk,” Hearn said. “Miami was a major, major coup.”

The fan reaction was mixed, as Yildirim didn’t seem to put up much of a fight, but Hearn said that the overall vibe for fans live in Miami was superb. Texas lost out, they could have had the event, but Hearn had already convinced Canelo that Miami would be a stellar site. Texas came back and said they could handle the event, but the choice had already been made, and Hearn loved the choice of Florida as a platform state.

Hearn said Allegiant Stadium in Las Vegas and the AT&T Stadium in Texas are the two front runners to host the Canelo-Saunders faceoff, which Hearn believes is “the toughest fight left” for the Mexican superstar.

Hearn said Alvarez, who turns 31 on July 18, told him that he wanted to fight seven more years, so wrap your brain around that.

Other than Canelo, Hearn and the hosts also discussed the flap with Top Rank’s Bob Arum, which arose after Matchroom put in a strong bid for the Teofimo Lopez vs George Kambosos Jr lightweight title fight, won in the end by Triller.

“I think it was bad form and bad practice,” Hearn said, when asked about Top Rank and executive Todd duBoef, and how they lobbied for Hearn not to put in a bid for the fight. Hearn also gave The Athletic’s Mike Coppinger props for somehow getting access to emails between duBoef and folks at DAZN.

“What a great situation for Teofimo Lopez and George Kambosos,” Hearn said, telling the duo that it’s cool for massive stars to get paid well when they are taking risks, as Lopez did.

“What this comes down to is an old school mentality,” he said. “The game’s changed, the fighters are the bosses.” And it should be that way, he added, because boxers are putting their lives on the line. Hearn said he works for all the fighters, even all the A-side undercard fighters on the Canelo card. “We work for the fighters, I’m not saying that just to get brownie points.”

Hearn said that “it’s just toxic” for the sport if Bob Arum allows rancor toward Hearn to affect the making of a big fight, like Tyson Fury vs Anthony Joshua. Hearn doesn’t think Arum will allow that to happen, but he thinks Arum at age 89 does not care about treating his fighters well.