Sometimes on the stage or the big screen, the sub-plot is better than the actual plot, and Bob Arum vs Eddie Hearn right now is more interesting than Tyson Fury vs Anthony Joshua.
Arum and Hearn of course are the promotional giants negotiating the biggest fight in British boxing history. A summer showdown between the two current world heavyweight champions to unify all of those alphabet belts.
But in the last few days their entente cordiale appears to have been shattered by machinations surrounding a fight that doesn’t involve Fury or Joshua. Namely the lightweight title showdown between Arum’s budding megastar Teofimo Lopez and Australian George Kambosos Jr.
Lopez purse bids
The rights to the bout went to purse bids this week after Arum’s Top Rank was unable to agree terms, leaving the bout up for grabs to the highest bidder.
Much to Arum’s chagrin, Hearn’s Matchroom Boxing (backed by streaming platform DAZN) decided to bid for the bout. Arum bid $2.32million and Hearn topped that with $3.51million.
In the end neither won the fight with new boxing platform Triller (which staged the Mike Tyson vs Roy Jones exhibition last year) blowing them both out of the water with a shocking $6.02million.
The end result is a bitter blow to Arum and for his broadcast partner ESPN – where Lopez has build a substantial following. But more than that, it appears the very fact Hearn bid for the bout has left a very sour taste in Top Rank mouths.
Arum told BoxingScene: “We would have been pissed if Eddie Hearn and Matchroom put in the winning bid. That’s bad policy for him to do that because he has nothing to do with Teofimo. Hearn gets into a lot of purse bids and we don’t ever get involved if we don’t have a connection with the fighter. It makes no sense for them to put Lopez on DAZN. It’s just wrong. ”
Arum vs Hearn payback?
The 89-year-old Hall of Famer also hinted that there will be payback for what Hearn attempted to do this week.
“But he lost and pissed us off at the same time. It sent a message to us. But he better watch out the next time he goes to a purse bid when the fighters have no connection to ESPN or Top Rank. Maybe we’ll jam a bid up Hearn’s ass. We’ll get back at them. I’m angry at them, yeah.”
The Arum/Hearn beef provides a fascinating sub-plot to the Fury vs Joshua negotiations. For weeks we’ve heard contracts will be signed imminently. As of yet, it hasn’t happened. Will this throw a spanner in the works? Watch this space.