@BarryHearn Interview – Part 3 by Paul Ready


Elite Boxing:

You have still got your marathon time over Eddie don’t forget and he may struggle to beat that


Barry Hearn:

I think my marathon time is unbeatable he’s never going to get close to that 3hrs 21 minutes, he couldn’t break 4hrs, he did 4hrs 9 mins but he did his best.



Taking boxing to the current day, from your perspective outside of social media what has been the biggest change in the sport?



The change in the end of “slave-trade” being replaced by proper representation is important because the transparency where fighters like Carl Froch know they own a percentage of the show, George Groves owns a percentage of the show, they have their own advisors, their own accountants & lawyers, they can go to bed at night knowing that no one is ripping them off.

We take a percentage of the show so the effect of that is on the bigger shows we never lose money. Sometimes in the past I have lost money on big shows as most promoters have as you take a punt on it, those days are gone but you never make the zillions you could have made when you get it right.

But then again the business is like that, 800 event days a years, 40,000 hours of television a year and you don’t have to kill yourself in 1 sport to do that. It works better to have lots of little earners.

For us business is a game in the same way as any sport; you play to win. You train hard, you play within in the rules and you don’t give an inch. We don’t win belts, cups, trophies or medals we have balance sheets and P&L accounts but it’s still the same principle it’s about winning.



Something that I struggle to understand as a fan is the criticism levied at yourselves and Eddie in particular for sending fighters over to America, what are your views on the subject?



Our job as promoters is to give opportunity whatever the sport. We can’t influence the decision, the economic necessity has to be taken in to account.

Ricky Burns is a good example, he could have gone to America and faced Terence Crawford earn double what he got out of fighting him here.

We work for the fighter not the other way around, we sit down with them and their advisors presenting them with the options.

Home advantage is X, fighting in America is Y. He chose home advantage.

Kell Brook is another example, he is very confident of beating Shawn Porter, the deal he has ended up with is 3 times as much as he would get fighting in the UK if indeed you can get the fight in the UK on a 75-25 split.

But that boils down to people not understanding the mechanics of boxing.



So on to Eddie now and the future of Matchroom, what do you think the future holds with him at the helm?



I think it’s pretty good. I’m enjoying watching him develop as he is an extremely good operator he comes from a background that has been involved in the sport and of course been very fortunate. But any father would do what they can for their sons, I don’t care if I spoil him I do what I want with my money.

What he has brought with him is the same work ethic I have had for the last 30-40 years. It is down to the love of your job, he is working his nuts off which I am very pleased about and already been very successful which I am proud of .

I like his independence of thought; he’s not unpleasant but he’s not taking any shit off anyone and he’s being honest with them, be it fighters, opposition, rival broadcasters.

We are in the position to be able to build anyone globally because of the size of Matchroom and our profile so Eddie has the benefit of that.

He is the one getting up at 3am going away and working, boxing is a 24hr sport, when you want to go to bed someone from California wants to talk to you.

If you’ve got no passion there is absolutely no point in you doing anything.

Eddie had the choice of doing whatever he wanted and I would have backed him; he chose boxing.

The interesting one will be is how long he can sustain this type of work-rate and pressure and he is building a very good squad of youngsters around him to help him out.

I gave him a start, but he has taken it to another level that is undeniable, he is the future.

I can’t relate to the fighters the same way he does, when I was young they used to stay here and I would train with them outside, we’d go on runs it was great. But those days have past and fighters now will go:

“Yeah he’s Hall of Fame but he’s getting old, he’s got grey hair” and be suspicious of me.

The success he is having with Sky and of course the success of Froch Groves 2; my business couldn’t be in a better set of hands.


Article written by Paul Ready







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