Eddie Hearn: The Contract Opportunist!
When it comes to salesmen in general, regardless of the product, it’s typically a good idea to be skeptical. By definition, salesmen are trying to ease the most money out of your pocket in the best deal for themselves.
Boxing promoters, like car salesmen, suffer a particularly ridiculed reputation. Throughout the decades, there are too many examples to list of fighters being dealt a raw deal in the negotiation process. At the moment, however, Matchroom promoter Eddie Hearn is somewhat the face of oddly questionable contracts.
CASE: DEONTAY WILDER
Hearn made plenty of headlines behind his contracts when trying to pen a fight with WBC heavyweight champion Deontay “Bronze Bomber” Wilder (41-0-1, 40 KO’s). Wilder v Joshua was one of the biggest bouts the sport of boxing could offer. In negotiations for the match, Joshua would shockingly turn down a $50 million offer from Team Wilder after claiming that would be the exact amount needed for him to accept the fight.
Team Joshua would respond by offering Wilder a $12.5 million flat fee for the potentially historic showdown.
Once Hearn bumped his offer up to a $15 million flat fee, the Bronze Bomber accepted. In kind, Hearn presented a new contract minus a date or venue, which was a serious problem for Team Wilder.
Not long after this, all negotiations ceased until an offer from DAZN came about. The new platform was willing to offer the WBC champion $100 million with a opportunity to fight Joshua twice. This was actually a bright spot during these negotiations, however, the offer was backed by DAZN Chairman John Skipper, who did much more of the negotiating than Hearn.
Wilder would eventually turn down the offer citing his desire to be a free agent.
In the end the bout was never made and Joshua has since suffered his first loss at the hands of Andy “Destroyer” Ruiz Jr (33-1, 22 KO’s).
CASE: ANDY RUIZ JR
Speaking of the Destroyer, there has been some sustained scuttlebutt in reference to his contract with Anthony Joshua. After losing to Ruiz, Team Joshua chose to enforce their immediate rematch clause. Some felt that this was mistake. The most popular thought on the matter is that Joshua should have taken a tune-up to get his mind right. Instead, without hesitation, Team Joshua plowed straight back into the rematch.
In coordinating the rematch, even as the loser, however, Team Joshua essentially controlled all major points of the rematch. Per the original contract, Hearn would dictate the date and location in the rematch. Furthermore, AJ would still get the lion’s share of the money. So in effect, Team Joshua would handle even the newly-crowned WBO, WBA, IBF and IBO heavyweight champion Andy Ruiz Jr as if he were the lowly challenger.
Interestingly enough, you still would have to look at team Ruiz for signing the original contract that dictated theses terms. Although, being a last minute replacement for Jarrell Miller and on the verge of earning a career payday, what was he supposed to do?
CASE: CHRISTINA LINARDATOU
Yet again, Hearn has been outed as contracting another shifty binding agreement with his fighter Katie Taylor (14-0, 6 KO’s) and WBO super lightweight champion Christina “Medusa” Linardatou (12-1, 6 KO’s). Even though Taylor is moving up to challenge for Linardatou’s title, she is the only one with a rematch guarantee.
In the event that Linardatou loses, it will just be a case of ‘too bad, so sad.” When the touchy subject arose at the recent presser to announce the fight, there was a seriously touchy moment between Hearn and Linardatou’s manager Brian Cohen.
Again, we must look at the people who sign the contracts as well. Linardatou is a champion, however, she has nowhere near the star power of Taylor. Therefore, a win here will most definitely catapult her status in women’s boxing.
Maybe this is why she signed. Although, a rematch clause is important, a win is colossal!
CASE: DERECK CHISORA
Veteran heavyweight Dereck Chisora recently lambasted Hearn for making him the co-main event on a card in his hometown! The main-event would include the WBSS junior welterweight finals between WBA champion Regis Prograis and IBF champion Josh Taylor. Chisora was adamant that he would not fight unless his bout with former WBO heavyweight champion Joseph Parker was the main event or he was given more money.
This situation is a little different, however, fans still scratched their heads on why Hearn made such a decision.
Time will tell if Hearn begins to construct contracts that are more fair, however, if opportunities keep presenting himself to craft the best deals for his fighters at the expense of their opponents, don’t bet on any changes anytime soon!
By: Bakari Simpson