Eddie Hearn is far from worried about the scheduling clash between his Katie Taylor vs. Amanda Serrano and Bob Arum’s Shakur Stevenson vs. Oscar Valdez fights.
The undisputed showdown in the women’s lightweight division was confirmed on Thursday, with the Irish and Puerto Rican icons becoming the first female headliners in Madison Square Garden’s long and storied boxing history. But a date of April 30 means the DAZN fight night – surely the biggest women’s bout of all time – will go head-to-head with the men’s junior lightweight unification on ESPN.
Although Arum has since claimed “people do not particularly pay attention to women’s fights,” Hearn is confident the eyes of the world will be on Taylor vs. Serrano. After all, his fight not only sees the pound-for-pound and undisputed queen take on a seven-division champion, but also has the pulling power of co-promoter Jake Paul.
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Speaking exclusively to Sporting News, the Matchroom chief said, “No, (we did not consider moving dates) – this fight is so much bigger than Stevenson vs. Valdez.
“There’s another world out there to hardcore boxing fans. Stevenson vs. Valdez is an amazing fight, but we saw yesterday the biggest reaction to any fight apart from AJ and Canelo.
“This fight is above women’s boxing. It’s myself, it’s Jake Paul, it’s the girls, it’s global media, it’s Madison Square Garden. There’s so much more.
“So we’ll take them on. On the night, we’ll see where the media is at, where the global media is at, where more fans are in the arena. I’m telling you, this is a monster. A pattern.”
The Jake Paul effect
Another “monster” is Paul’s boxing career. To some extent, it’s a case of Hearn playing Frankenstein: The YouTuber-turned-fighter has taken the sport by storm – angering as many hardcore fans as he has delighted new ones – over the last two years.
The 25-year-old’s first pro bout came in 2020 on a Super Bowl-week card put on by Hearn titled, “Miami Fight Night.” He defeated fellow YouTuber AnEsonGib with a first-round KO.
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Paul has since extended his record to 4-0 with wins over former MMA stars Ben Askren and Tyron Woodley (twice).
But he has also taken a keen interest in the business of combat sports. Fighter pay is at the front of his mind, with heavy criticism of the purses handed out by UFC supremo Dana White. One fighter who will be well paid is Serrano, now promoted by Paul. Hearn is full of praise for that fact, claiming there is a much deeper thinker behind the public-facing bluster.
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Hearn continued: “(Paul’s impact is) massive. Massive. It might not be so much bigger than Stevenson vs. Valdez without Jake Paul.
“I give him that credit. He just brings a different set of eyeballs, a different kind of noise.
“Imagine a press conference turnout with me, Amanda Serrano and Katie Taylor versus the same press conference with Jake also attending. There’ll be twice as many people there. They’ll also want to speak to him – it’ll be really nice for me! I can do the press conference then go – brilliant!
“A lot of the time, I look at him and think, ‘You are a right plonker.’ But he’s clever, he’s smart.I gave him his debut so the whole thing is probably my fault.
“He’s a massive benefit to this fight. He got Serrano this deal, making a lot of money. A lot of that is down to Jake Paul.
“I do not know him socially, but what you see with Jake is not always the real Jake Paul. A lot of that is him f — ing around, getting under people’s noses, making noise, driving views, driving hits.
“He’s never gonna be everyone’s cup of tea. I’m sure he looks at me sometimes and thinks, ‘This guy’s at—.” But, it does not matter, because he’s not been tarnished yet with the boxing bitterness brush.
“So when you’re doing a co-promotion with him, genuinely, he’s thinking, ‘How can we make this fight as big as possible’ – not ‘I do not really like that fight, I’m not gonna do that . ‘
“He wants to make it massive, and he will make it massive.”