The People vs. Eddie Hearn

By Sean Ness on May 28, 2015
The People vs. Eddie Hearn
I see the sport I love slowly getting taken out of the reach of the people who love it most.

Every time he appeared on Sky Sports news, I was delighted for not only the fighter who was signing but for UK boxing as a whole…

“I feel stupid and contagious.”—Kurt Cobain/Nirvana (Smells Like Teen Spirit)

Tonight from my home in Scotland, I decided to write this article because I am sick to the back teeth of Eddie Hearn and his money machine that is Matchroom Boxing. As a boxing fan, and when I say boxing fan I mean that I am loyal to the sport in terms of buying pay-per-view shows, paying a subscription to both Sky TV for their Sky Sports package and BoxNation all in the name of supporting the sport.

I eat breath and sleep boxing. It’s constantly on my mind in terms of up-and-coming fights, previous match-ups and searching for news on my favorite fighters. I subscribe to Sky TV’s Sky Sports package as well as BoxNation for an extra few quid a month on top of my subscription just so that I can watch the best that boxing has to offer.

Or at least I used to.

In years gone by, Sky subscribers have been treated to some of the most competitive boxing fights that you can think of. We have watched the likes of Lennox Lewis, Mike Tyson, Frank Bruno, Joe Calzaghe, Prince Naseem Hamed, Amir Khan, and Ricky Hatton as well as famous match-ups such as Arturo Gatti’s legendary fights with “Irish” Micky Ward televised on Sky TV. I must add that these names have also graced terrestrial TV. ITV have been great servants to the UK boxing fraternity as has Channel 5 in recent times, however, that has all changed and dark times are upon us.

Eddie Hearn swept into boxing with many people proclaiming him to be the savior of British Boxing and I have to admit that I was buying what Eddie and Team Matchroom was selling. George Groves, Ricky Burns, Kell Brook among other fighters all jumped on Eddie’s ship and the boxing fans were quick to follow. I was due to watch Ricky Burns take on Mexican IBF champion Miguel Vasquez in London in March 2013, I had my tickets bought and paid for as well as my flights and hotel. The fight was later cancelled with Vasquez allegedly coming down with a viral infection rendering him unfit to fight. It later came out that the real reason the fight never happened was due to the valuation of a financial offer that was made to Team Vazquez by another well-known fight promoter, Frank Warren. After this incident, I was pro-Hearn. Every time he appeared on Sky Sports news, I was delighted for not only the fighter who was signing but for UK boxing as a whole.

Much to my embarrassment, I believed the hype.

Sky TV and Matchroom Sports have given the fight fans some highs including watching Carl Froch and George Groves go at it for the second time at Wembley Stadium. But we have also been fed the utter nonsense that was Nathan Cleverly vs. Tony Bellew II as a PPV. On May 9, 2015 Matchroom and Sky TV broadcast their show from Birmingham, England. The standard of the fights was one-sided, confirmed by bookmakers around the country. If there was ever a sign that we, the loyal fans of boxing in the UK, had to pay more for better quality, then this was it.

Matthew Macklin, a fighter who has fought the best his division has to offer was up against Ferenc Albert—a 22-year-old from Hungary with a 12-7 record in an eight-round middleweight contest. Macklin was favorite with the bookmakers. In order to win 1 GBP in the Macklin fight, you would have to wager 950. Callum Smith, a real talent from the Smith fighting family of Liverpool was pitched against a Latvian tomato can named Olegs Fedotovs, who has a record of 19 wins and 21 losses. In order to win 1 GBP for Smith’s fight, you would have to wager 500 quid. Anthony Joshua was up against Brazilian Raphael Zumbano Love who came to the ring with 36 wins and 11 losses. In order to win 1 GBP from the Joshua fight, you would need to wager 200 quid. It has to be noted that also on this card was Luke Campbell, who was 1/950 favorite to win his fight, as well as Gamal Yafai, 1/500 and his brother Kal Yafai who was 1/200 with bookmakers also to win.

With these odds in mind, it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to work out that this is a sign of the times. If you want to watch boxing on Sky TV paying only your normal subscription then you will be treated to one-sided fights where only Matchroom is the winner. Eddie Hearn and Matchroom Boxing along with Sky are now monopolizing our sport much like Al Haymon is attempting in the US with his Premier Boxing Champions platform of which I have been critical of in the past. Eddie Hearn took to Twitter this month to announce that Sky TV have confirmed a five-year extension to their current contract with Matchroom Sports. This announcement means that the working-class, the origins of where boxing was founded, will be paying through the nose to watch a decent fight whether it be on TV or going to an arena to watch the fight live.

I understand a promoter is there to get the best for his fighters. I understand that he is a business man who has to be professional. But Eddie can’t even get being a professional nailed down. Check out his interview alongside Anthony Joshua for IFL TV or his tweets to George Groves.

Is this a personal attack on Eddie Hearn? No, it isn’t. Is it an observation of how I see the sport I love slowly getting taken out of the reach of the people who love it most? Yes, it is. Boxing is being given to the casual rich fan who only comes around on the big fight nights to impress his business contacts and to me it’s a tragic state of affairs.

Support your local fighters; spend your hard-earned cash on them because those guys deserve our support.

My message to Eddie is this: In order to keep the people who pay your wages on your side then give us quality, the same type of quality we have been used to for years and we will back you when the time comes for a worthy PPV card. Stop trying to pull the wool over our eyes, this revolution won’t be televised.

“Here we are now, entertain us.”—Kurt Cobain

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Nirvana - Smells Like Teen Spirit

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  1. Sean Ness 09:10am, 06/08/2015

    Did you end up buying the fight Matt? I stayed strong despite really wanting to watch it and refused to buy it.


  2. Matt Mosley 10:16am, 05/29/2015

    I very much understand where you are coming from with this.
    I like the look of Saturday’s card but I really can’t bring myself to buy it just on the principle that Hearn and Sky are trying to take the piss.
    It’s just a load of regular Sky Sports fights crammed together on one card and like you I already pay for Sky Sports and Boxnation.
    All these promoters are the same. At first I thought Hearn just needed time to build his young fighters and that’s why we were getting all the mismatches.
    Instead, once he has built them he puts them on PPV, only a lot of the time he is still putting them in against inferior opposition (e.g. Brook vs Gavin).
    I think I’ll wait for the free replay a week later.

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