If the sighing of former Middleweight world champion Daniel Jacobs late last year to his Matchroom Boxing was just Eddie Hearn dipping his toe in the choppy waters of United States boxing, then today Hearn took a plunge off the deep end by renting office space in Midtown Manhattan and announcing a staggering $1 Billion deal to promote 16 cards in the United States per year for eight years.
This is in addition to 16 cards he will promote around the world including in his native England.
Hearn has partnered with Perform, whose digital media company DAZN will stream the cards to American fans on a monthly subscription basis. DAZN already streams sporting events in Japan, Germany and Switzerland.
In Hearn, DAZN will get the content they need to transform the way American fans consume sports. DAZN will charge a monthly fee without a contract to allow boxing fans to watch what Hearn considers pay per view quality cards without the pay per view price tag.
This is a groundbreaking deal in the history of sport and boxing,” said Hearn. “We will upset a lot of people today and the way we promote boxing and watch boxing will never be the same.”
Hearn said he has always wanted to make a big splash in the United States but was waiting for the right opportunity to do something different.
“I always wanted to do this but we needed a lot of things to come together including the mone,” said Hearn. “I needed to have artillery and we are very dangerous when we have artillery.”
Hearn now claims to have the biggest rights budget in all of boxing and feels confident he can make any fight he pleases including the long awaited heavyweight unification bout between Anthony Joshua, whom Hearn promotes in the UK and American star Deontay Wilder who is advised by Al Haymon.
It is unclear if Hearn will now go on a signing spree across America to land some of the biggest names in boxing who while advised by Haymon may be promotional free agents. Jacobs is an example of a boxer advised by Haymon while being promoted by Hearn.
Hearn’s only two United States shows were vehicles to showcase Jacobs in hopes of landing a title shot against Canelo Alvarez or a rematch with Gennady Golovkin. There are at least a dozen other Haymon fighters who Hearn has coveted and made statements in the media that they simply aren’t being paid enough for the risk they take in the ring.
“It’s open season on all world class fighters in the U.S,” said Hearn. “Why would they not want to be a part of this movement. We don’t need the approval of Showtime or HBO or anything like that.”
Most notably Hearn has criticized the handling of Wilder’s career as a prime example of a heavyweight champion who is not marketed correctly and has not reached his earning potential. Hearn said he awaits the likes of Wilder or the Charlo brothers with open arms.
Of the 16 cards to be produced Hearn promises 12 of them will be top of the line shows and 4 will be “absolute monsters.” Hearn added that for one card he may spend more than the budget of HBO and Showtime combined.
“I no longer want our fights cards to start late at night after a movie,” added Hearn enthusiastically. “I want our fight cards to be the show. We can start early in the day with the undercard and buildup the main event. That’s what fans told us they want.”
As of now Hearn said he firmly believes the first of the 16 cards will take place in New York in September followed by the second card in October in Los Angeles. Hearn wants to explore promoting cards in all of the major markets if the demand is there. Now all he needs is fighters and a lot of them.
Photos by Ed Mulholland/Matchroom Boxing USA
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