Eddie Hearn fired back on Jake Paul’s recent accusations of corruption, saying that Paul made “idiotic comments” that “will be dealt with,” and saying that while sometimes Paul is good for boxing, this is a case where he’s not.
We’ll start with the late stuff from the interview first, because that might be the most interesting stuff, or at least the most attention-grabbing. But apart from Jake Paul and the Fury vs Joshua update, Hearn also discussed the Canelo vs GGG 3 fight and the online arguments about what it did business-wise, upcoming Matchroom shows, this weekend’s UK fights, and more.
On Jake Paul accusing Hearn of corruption with judges
“Jake Paul’s good for boxing in many ways, but Jake Paul can also be terrible for boxing, because the fact that he’s just found a boxing gym and decided to become a fighter — he doesn’t still have the respect for the industry and the history of the sport of boxing. What he said in terms of his allegations of corruption with Glenn Feldman is totally unacceptable.
“We all have a laugh with Jake and he’s an average fighter, but I’m telling you now, what he said was unacceptable and it will be dealt with, because we take this sport, we take our values as a business and a family, very, very seriously. We love the sport of boxing. For him to come out with idiotic comments without even thinking about what he said, is extremely harmful for me and us as a business, and very disrespectful to us as a business and a family.
“Jake’s comments will be dealt with. I’m not prepared as I would be on many occasions to take what he said with a pinch of salt on this occasion. It’s bang out of order, and totally disrespectful to the sport of boxing and to me and to us. I take it extremely personal, because they’re questioning our credentials and out integrity, and I won’t have it. He’s gonna have to deal with the brunt of that. Maybe he don’t care, but I do.
“Glenn Feldman is one of the best judges I’ve ever seen in boxing. Sometimes people have a score card you don’t agree with. Steve Weisfeld, another judge I think is incredible, had it 115-113 for Canelo Alvarez over the weekend.
“(Paul) doesn’t even understand — when he says, ‘Why are Matchroom still choosing that judge?’ Matchroom don’t choose the judge, you idiot, the commission do. I don’t even think he knows the rules or structure or how it works. Sometimes all this Jake Paul stuff is a laugh and it’s funny and it’s good for business. This is not, and it will be dealt with.”
On Fury vs Joshua talks
“We’ve been sent a contract which had quite a few issues. We’ve sent it back to Queensberry to get it right. Everyone’s working practically. I’ve got nothing bad to say about them and I don’t think they have, either. Timing is key now, we need to get a move on.”
On Twitter beefs with American boxing personalities
“There’s a lot of people in America that have an agenda against us, which is incredibly flattering. We’re just a promotional company, previously a small family business from Romford, out there promoting the biggest fights in the world, globally. When you actually break it down and see what all these other people are doing, they can’t lace our boots. That’s the reality. We’re in Saudi Arabia one week, we’re in Vegas another week, we’re in the O2 another week, we’re in Mexico, Brisbane, Milan, Madrid. Who is doing that? No one.
“There’s a lot of people in the industry who have agendas. Probably maybe I have an agenda sometimes, it’s that kind of business, and sometimes you’ve got to get on the front foot in life. So when you’re sitting at home and seeing some muppets who are either fed false information, lying, or with an agenda, you want to bounce back a little bit, fight back a little bit.
“A lot of it was tongue-in-cheek, and then Ellerbe piped up, and I just had to put him back in his box and say, ‘Not tonight, Leonard.’ You know what I mean? People like it, as well.
“I’ve been doing this a long time now. I’ve definitely rubbed people the wrong way that probably affected fights actually happening. Sometimes you try and go, ‘No, I’m not gonna be like that,’ and other times you’ve got to back yourself. And ultimately I’m not going to have anyone talk shit to me when I think they’re wrong. It’s a public platform and I’m just as entitled to speak my mind as Dave from Rotherham, who’s just told me that the show last week was shit. So that’s where we’re at.”
“DAZN came out and issued a statement on it, over a million pay-per-view buys worldwide. What annoyed me, this is what happens — after the fight, the boxing hardcore fans, they’re obsessed with a couple of things. Number one is purses and number two is pay-per-view buys. We’re all hardcore fans, we want to know how a show performed. No one really ever releases those numbers, and once you start doing that, people just expect it all the time.
“Dan Rafael got fed numbers by people with an agenda who wanted it to fail. Those numbers were miles wrong. The problem is, when you work for a big outlet — I had this conversation with (ESPN’s) Mike Coppinger the other day, he can’t really report pay-per-view numbers based on me or Stephen Espinoza or Leonard Ellerbe telling you a number that they’ve heard it did, because they’re credible outlets. Dan Rafael at the moment is not with a big outlet, he can say whatever he wants. So he took the punt to give you a number, but the number was well out.
“Then when DAZN come back and say no, actually it did over a million pay-per-view buys, he comes back and says, ‘Yeah, yeah, well half of that was in the U.S.’ No, no, no. Don’t be ridiculous. A huge proportion of that was in the U.S., because don’t forget this was obscure start times — 4 o’clock in the morning in Europe, Australia, key markets. You’re talking about tens of thousands of buys coming from these smaller markets. And the event wasn’t on pay-per-view or available on DAZN in the biggest markets, Mexico and Latin America.
“Dan was miles wrong, and he couldn’t quite take it upon himself — then he started saying, ‘Well, did the pay-per-view cover the main event purses?’ What the fuck’s it got to do with you? Absolutely nothing at all! We pay the bills, DAZN pay the bills, and what about the gate? He comes out, ‘Well, the gate was $24 million.’ The gate was $22 million for this one. And that’s publicly reported, that information.
“People are obsessed with how the fighters got paid and how the math works out. I think on the whole the numbers were solid, I think they were probably a little bit below DAZN’s expectations in the U.S., probably. But still nowhere near the reported number from Dan Rafael. ... He took the word of someone with an agenda, so we had to put it right, and DAZN put it right.
“On one hand are people are saying, ‘Oh, DAZN don’t have a lot of subscribers globally,’ then Dan Rafael’s saying that it’s done 450,000 buys just (outside the U.S.) — but I thought we didn’t have any subscribers? Now all of a sudden all these people are buying pay-per-views on DAZN globally. Really, none of it actually matters in the slightest, but in the passionate world of fight fans, sometimes you’ve got to let people know.
“I think the fight was a success. Certainly was at the gate, and I think the pay-per-view numbers globally were, as well.”
On Leonard Ellerbe
“Actually, last night with Leonard was alright. He said he wanted to do the ‘Ain’t No Sunshine’ song, I told him that he carries Floyd Mayweather’s jockstrap. He told me that if I ever need him to put on a big event, let him know. I said I could have done with him to queue up and get me some coffee.
“Leonard Ellerbe was saying, ‘Eddie Hearn’s a joke.’ Mate, look at the resume. Look at the pictures. Just go on my Instagram and look at Madison Square Garden sold out, T-Mobile sold out, Saudi Arabia sold out, Brisbane sold out. We are a huge global business.
“But it was alright with Leonard last night. I think he’s starting to understand sarcasm and banter, which I think will help him a lot as a person, as well. If we fight, how many buys would that do? It’s an interesting one, isn’t it, because I can’t really fight, but he’s quite old.”
“Me and Leonard would probably do a million buys worldwide, as well. But it would have to be 90/10, genuinely. Because I can’t put myself on the same kind of value as Leonard. I mean, lovely fellow. Terrible shoes.”
On Canelo vs GGG, the actual fight
“I haven’t watched it back, I don’t need to watch it back. The fight was a good fight, wasn’t anywhere near as good as the first two fights. GGG definitely started slow, and then when he came back into the fight later on, was that because Canelo had already won the fight, really?
“I couldn’t believe it was 115-113. I struggled to give GGG more than two or three rounds, but I guess there was — I mean, when you look back, maybe he won the first round also, not a lot happened in that round. I think it was a good fight, wasn’t as good as the first two fights, and I thought Canelo boxed really well the first seven or eight rounds, his movement was outstanding. And I think GGG was a little bit slow to get his shots off. Whether that’s the change in style he’s adapted over the years, different trainers and stuff like that, that he’s fighting differently now. But I think he might kick himself a little bit, because he finished well.”
On Canelo’s injury
“It’s a wrist injury. This has been a problem for him since the Caleb Plant fight. Going into the Dmitry Bivol fight, going into the Gennadiy Golovkin fight, and fighters will often mask the injury — they’ll get through it or they’ll ice it and they’ll treat it. He’s been doing that, and I think he’s reached the stage now where he just can’t do it anymore.
“He’s gonna have to go and have an operation on his wrist, I think with the ligaments or tendons, and then he’ll be back. People are talking about September (2023), I don’t see that, I think he’ll be back in May. I spoke to him yesterday, he’s been playing golf, which he hasn’t really been doing that much during this camp, and he feels good.”
On what’s next for Canelo with Matchroom and DAZN
“Saul’s always gonna go where the fights are that he wants. His main focus at the moment is Dmitry Bivol, but obviously Bivol’s got to beat (Zurdo) Ramirez. We’ve got a great relationship, not just with Saul but also Eddy Reynoso. That was the fifth Canelo fight we’ve done now, it’s quite amazing.
“We did Callum Smith, we did Yildirim, we did Billy Joe Saunders, we did Bivol, we did Gennadiy Golovkin — that’s an incredible run. It’s a joy to work with him, it really is. And you learn a lot about life and about boxing being around these people, but you also learn a lot about the simplicity of the team. Sometimes you work with fighters and see too many people, too much communication, too much noise, too much input. It’s really refreshing to see Saul and Eddy Reynoso, and that partnership is key for any fighter. It’s student and teacher, and that’s how it works with them, it’s beautiful simplicity.”
On Lou DiBella and Buatsi vs Pascal falling apart
“This is pretty straightfoward. Ever since that fight was ordered — I was having massive back-and-forths yesterday on direct message with (Jean) Pascal. He was, like, ‘Look, you’re painting me in a bad picture.’ No, you failed a VADA test — quite significantly as well, by the way. We are not prepared to put Joshua Buatsi without VADA testing.
“Now, ever from the start of when we lost that purse bid — and by the way, the fight was going to take place Nov. 26 at the O2, we had absolutely no problem at all with Buatsi taking this fight provided he was comfortable. And that comfort particularly comes from knowing VADA testing was contracted.
“When you win a purse bid, you get 14 days to have signed contracts from both parties. The night before the 14 days, we received a draft contract. All building up, we’ve told them, I said publicly a million times, ‘We’ve got no problem taking the fight as long as VADA testing is in the contract.’ They say Pascal sent his VADA forms off no problem, but they also said testing will start once the contract is signed. That’s not enough security for us.
“Lou DiBella will say, ‘Well, you missed the deadline.’ The IBF came back to us once we’d received the contract and said, ‘We need the contract back.’ We’d asked for VADA testing to go in. It wasn’t like we’d missed the deadline, because the IBF was still asking us if we were going to sign the contract. We asked for VADA testing, it wasn’t in the contract, they said to us, ‘It will start once you’ve signed the contract.’ That’s not good enough.
“Buatsi decided — not Matchroom, not 258 (Management) — Joshua Buatsi decided, ‘I’m not prepared to go into this fight unless VADA testing is in the contract.’ Not promised that it will come later, in the contract. And Lou will say, ‘Yeah, but it’s irrelevant, because you missed the deadline.’ It’s irrelevant because you didn’t put it in the contract. You knew we wouldn’t take the fight unless VADA testing was in the contract, and you still chose not to put it in the contract. If you were going to do it, if you had already signed up, why wouldn’t you just put it in the contract?
“It’s all a load of bollocks, honestly. It’s sometimes a way out, it’s this, it’s that, but we’re OK. That IBF eliminator would have taken place in November, (the mandatory title fight) wouldn’t have been called for another year anyway.
On Buatsi vs Callum Smith rumors
“That fight’s not been offered to both guys, it’s a fight I would like to make. It’s a fight I’ve discussed with Joshua Buatsi, it’s a fight I’ve had brief conversations with Callum Smith’s lawyer about. ... At the end of the day, they’re both in similar positions. Buatsi’s rated high with the IBF, he’s rated very high by the WBA, could be made mandatory to the winner of Bivol vs Ramirez.
“But how long you gonna wait? Callum Smith wants a world title, but in the meantime, if there’s a massive domestic fight that pays huge money, I think he’ll consider that fight, and I think it’s a tremendous fight. As is (Anthony) Yarde against Buatsi, which I’ve talked about now with George Warren, as well.
“I would have liked (Buatsi) to fight Pascal, really, but not on any terms. I saw one person say, ‘Oh, Eddie was never going to let him fight on BT.’ Bullshit. Total bullshit. We said to 258, ‘Here’s the contract, we’re happy for you to take this fight, no problem,’ and Joshua Buatsi made it clear: ‘With the track record of Jean Pascal, I will not fight him unless VADA testing is in the contract.’”
“We’ll look at getting Buatsi out in November, and I think whether it’s Yarde, whether it’s Callum Smtih, I like the big domestic fight while everyone’s just queuing up, waiting for a world title shot.”
On Katie Taylor’s next fight on Oct. 29
“Great card. Obviously we wanted to make the Serrano rematch, (Serrano) wouldn’t take that fight. So (Taylor’s) straight in with 19-0 (Karen Elizabeth) Carabajal, good fighter.
“Great undercard, as well, Jordan Gill against Kiko Martinez. Brilliant fight, European (title) and IBF eliminator for the world title. Massive opportunity for Jordan. Great fight, as is Caoimhin Agyarko against Peter Dobson. Two undefeated fighters as Caoimhin looks to step up now into the big league.
“We’re looking to make Gary Cully against Angel Fierro, Mexican lightweight, it’s an absolute war, tremendous fight. Johnny Fisher’s back, he’s ordered about 3,000 tickets already. Jordan Reynolds. It’s a really, really good card.”
On Saturday’s Hughes vs Galahad show
“You can’t really win in that situation (replacing a main event on short notice). Maybe the sensible thing to do from a business perspective is just pull the show. You’ve sold 8,000 tickets or whatever we’d sold, now you sell 3,500 tickets.
“You’ve got all the costs to still go ahead, and then you start thinking about the sacrifices that people have made, and the fact that boxers only get paid when they fight. I look over there at Stefy Bull and Terri Harper, I couldn’t tell them. With everything Terri’s been through, all the postponements and waiting for rankings, I don’t think I’ve got the heart. I couldn’t do it. I couldn’t go to Stefy and say, ‘Mate, I’m really sorry, the show’s off.’ And the problem as well is all the undercards coming up, those shows are set.
“So when you get a show cancellation, you have to try to (reschedule) everybody, and it’s very difficult to do. There’s no guarantees about when that would be. So we had to bite down on the gum shield and say, ‘It is what it is.’ It’s gonna cost us a few quid, but everyone’s gonna get out, dreams are gonna be accomplished, people are gonna get paid, and it’s a really entertaining card.
“Maxi Hughes vs Kid Galahad is a really, really good fight, spicing up nicely. As is Rankin against Harper, really, really good fight. And by the way, Cyrus Pattinson’s in a really, really big step up. Cheav Clarke’s back, Solomon Dacres, Junaid Boston — I’m happy with the card. Look, with Wood vs Lara, it would have been unbelievable, but that’s life. What are you gonna do about it? We’re good to go, Saturday’s gonna be a great night.”
On Wood vs Lara happening by the end of 2022
“I think so. I spoke to Leigh today and he’s gonna give it a couple weeks and see when he’ll be ready.”
On Joyce vs Parker
“Good fight! I like them both. I love the stuff they do with Joe Joyce, because he’s very likable, and he’s never gonna be the guy who gives you great smack talk, but he’s a very good fighter, he’s very tough.
“Sometimes when Joe Joyce fights, my group chat with my mates pops up. They watch boxing every now and again, and they go, ‘Who is this bloke? He’s terrible!’ But they don’t actually understand, he’s really not terrible. He’s a world-class fighter, he’s very tough.
“Joe Parker is a very good fighter, as well. I’ll be interested to see if there’s any improvement from the extra time with Andy Lee. I think always when Joe Joyce fights, the opponent will start well, pepper him, and then Joe will try to get on top, walk hm down, and use his great strength and chin.”