By Keith Idec
VERONA, New York – Eddie Hearn was blunt with Jermall Charlo.
During their recent phone conversation, Hearn told the WBC interim middleweight champion that he is making a mistake by not signing with Hearn’s Matchroom Boxing USA and DAZN, the free-spending streaming service with which Hearn works. Almost every other elite middleweight is contractually committed to having his fights streamed on DAZN, which just made a massive offer to WBC heavyweight champ Deontay Wilder as well.
Why, Hearn asked Charlo, is the Houston native still resistant to accepting more money and the opportunities Charlo has long said he desperately wants to exploit? According to Hearn, Charlo told him what he consistently has said since Hearn began attempting to lure him and his twin brother, former WBC super welterweight champ Jermell Charlo, to join Matchroom and DAZN.
“Too many of them get talked out of things,” Hearn said following DAZN’s card Saturday night at Turning Stone Resort & Casino. “Like, if you’re a free agent, and you have the option and the ability to look at other offers, why wouldn’t you do it?”
When asked if the Charlos and other boxers affiliated with Al Haymon’s Premier Boxing Champions have thoroughly investigated those offers, Hearn replied, “Yeah, but most of them then get talked into taking a third of the money and boxing once a year, you know? Like, this is what I’m saying to Charlo, ‘We’ve got Golovkin, Canelo, Andrade and Jacobs, and you’ll be paid three times as much money as you’re making at the moment, and you’ll fight all those guys. What the f*** are you waiting for?’ ”
Gennady Golovkin’s new three-year, six-fight deal with DAZN was officially announced Friday. Alvarez agreed to a five-year, 11-fight deal with DAZN in October that could become worth $365 million.
Jacobs, the IBF 160-pound champion, will fight Alvarez, the WBA and WBC champ, in a DAZN main event May 4 from T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas. Andrade also contractually committed to DAZN last summer and has had two of his WBO title defenses streamed by DAZN since October 20.
Charlo and Sergiy Derevyanchenko are the only elite middleweights that aren’t signed to DAZN.
“That wasn’t a meeting,” Hearn said of his recent pitch to Charlo. “It was just a conversation. He said, ‘I’m speaking to Al.’ And he said he trusts Al to make the right decision for him. And I said, ‘Al works for Showtime and FOX, so what decision do you think he’s gonna make for you?’ ”
The 28-year-old Charlo (28-0, 21 KOs) most recently defeated Russian southpaw Matt Korobov (28-2, 14 KOs) by unanimous decision in a 12-round, 160-pound title bout. Charlo had some difficulty dealing with Korobov’s style, though the scorecards weren’t indicative of what appeared to be a close fight (119-108, 116-112, 116-112).
The Charlo-Korobov bout headlined a “Premier Boxing Champions on FOX” card from Barclays Center in Brooklyn. Charlo’s previous four fights were televised by Showtime.
Hearn hopes Charlo’s next fight is promoted by Matchroom Boxing USA and streamed by DAZN. He just doesn’t know how realistic that is based on his most recent attempt to recruit Charlo for those companies.
“I just said, ‘Mate, what are you doing? We’ve Canelo, Golovkin, Jacobs, Andrade all on DAZN. What are you waiting for?,’ ” Hearn said. “I think those were my exact words.”
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.