Eddie Hearn: Ahead of Billy Joe Saunders vs. Canelo lvarez fight, boxing promoter says “razzmatazz matters”
It’s almost as if the Essex-born boxing promoter is more interesting and compelling than the fighters he promotes.
“Razzmatazz is important,” Hearn told CNN Sport’s Don Riddell ahead of this weekend’s super middleweight title unification fight between Billy Joe Saunders and Canelo lvarez. “We want people to talk.”
In his DNA
In 1982, his father Barry Hearn founded the Matchroom Sport Group promotion company and was instrumental in transforming snooker into one of Britain’s most watched sports, eventually making his foray into boxing, the darts and golf.
This spring, Hearn was appointed chairman of the group when his father stepped down after nearly 40 years and took up the post of chairman in an advisory capacity. Along with his new role, Hearn runs Matchroom Boxing, including its US division and the PGA EuroPro Tour.
Despite the pandemic, the group enjoyed their most successful year ever in 2020, reaching nearly £ 30million ($ 41.7million) in net profit. Hearn expects profits to fluctuate over the next year, but as he said in the same interview, even reaching £ 20million ($ 27.8million) in net profit is pretty unusual. for a family business.
Hearn says it was his father’s ambition and vigor that he inherited. “He always made it clear to me that you don’t get anything for free, you have to work for whatever you get.”
Not without controversy
For Hearn, sharpening his selling skills has always been the secret to his success. “I’m no genius. I didn’t come out of college with straight A’s, but I knew how to sell.”
The five-year contract marks a new era for Matchroom. Due to start on July 1, it will end an exclusive nearly ten-year broadcast relationship with Sky Sports in the UK and bring many of the elite British and Irish athletes from the group to DAZN, including Callum Smith and Katie Taylor. .
However, Hearn’s career has not been without controversy.
“We have to make some noise”
“We want them [fans] to buy into the story of these great fights. If that means I get on a pedestal up there and take a few hits along the way, so be it. “
“Sometimes it’s controversial, sometimes people agree with you, sometimes they don’t agree with you, but I love what I do,” Hearn told CNN Sport.
Meanwhile, Hearn contemplates what he calls “boxing’s greatest fight today,” a reference to the unified heavyweight world championship fight between Joshua and fellow British boxer Tyson Fury.
Hearn has confirmed that the two-fight deal will take place in the Middle East, with the first taking place in August and the second in December.
“It’s a fight the whole world will stop watching, and it’s the sporting event of the year for me.”
Behind his bombastic character, Hearn says he’s driven by his unwavering love for boxing.
“If you can sell and you have a great product, you’re indestructible. And that’s what I’m feeling right now with the big shows we’re putting on all over the world.
“If you don’t have a passion for what you’re doing, you can’t be relentless,” he adds.
While 2021 promises a lot for Hearn, the 41-year-old promoter is savvy enough to put a note of caution.
“Boxing is the biggest sport in the world, but it’s also the worst business in the world… the highs are highs and the lows are low. There is never a dull moment.”