Sports Opinion

Skill over show

February 26 - March 03 , 2020

Gulf Weekly Skill over show

Eddie Hearn is a strange sort of character. If you’re from the U.K he’s the type of guy you would’ve known whose uncle could sort anything out for you or, at least, that was the claim.

His uncle knew a bloke who worked at a place that meant he could get you what you needed. He’d be able to get you anything for a great price, latest DVDs for £5, a 10 grand Rolex for £80 and if you knew the right bloke, £20 in cash for £10. I’m not sure where anyone can work those deals in DVD’s, Rolex watches and counterfeit money yet there was no point questioning it.

Hearn hit the big time though, following his father Barry’s career path as a promoter. He’s not selling questionable goods out the back of his car, he’s selling out huge stadiums and competitions without losing the ability to create the sense of an incredible deal. Maybe I’m being overly harsh picking out one person but it does have the feeling that promoters as a whole are pushing boxing to this weird state where there has to be a show before the show, actors and then boxers.

The whole buildup of trash talking the opponent pre-fight has always been around but Hearn and other promoters have really upped the ante. Tyson Fury and Deontay Wilder have confessed their friendship on multiple occasions and their belief that both of them deserve respect as the best two boxers in the world at the moment. The pushing each other and disrespectful remarks at press conferences and the weigh in are nothing more than introducing WWE into the world of combat sports. It’s a show, an attraction and it’s unnecessarily false.

The fight itself was terrific viewing. Fury dominated from almost the word go. I don’t want to act like I’m a boxing expert but clearly the game plan that was thought up by Fury and his team was not only good but executed to perfection. He was fluid in his movements and landed a number of big shots before Wilder’s team eventually threw in the towel in round seven. It was a display of incredible physical abilities from both men, although Wilder would probably have hoped that his most outstanding feature wasn’t just that he could stand up. I’m no expert in psychology either but Fury licking the blood of Wilder’s neck was different. At the end of the fight, normal service between the men was resumed; cuddles, well-wishing and mutual respect before they headed off. 

Hearn was quick to reach for his phone immediately afterwards to suggest the possibility of a fight between Anthony Joshua, one of his fighters, and Fury. In fact, Hearn’s’ reach and want for the continuation of the gravy train was no more evident than his interview prior to last weekend’s big fight. He told talkSPORT: “I’ve heard a few things in the camp - it might be rubbish but I do think Wilder will win by stoppage.

“I hope he doesn’t and I would love to see Tyson Fury make the fight because one thing is for sure – he will fight Anthony Joshua, he actually wants to and I know AJ wants to fight Tyson Fury.

“It’s a very quick deal to make. Wilder said Joshua is not relevant. He owns four belts and is the biggest star of the heavyweight division, so of course he is relevant, but he wants to fight the winner because he can’t call himself the best otherwise.”

At least Hearn is pretty up front about what he wants. Sort of.

For those who question exactly why professional darts players playing in PDC events also have their own stage walks, which used to be accompanied by scantily dressed women much like their boxing counterparts, Hearn is a director at the PDC too.

In fairness, I don’t have a problem with creating a spectacle or building up a fight. I understand the ticket sales are important to everyone involved. I guess I just wish that I could enjoy a fighter with a personality that includes more than telling another man they’re going to eat him alive when in fact they are more likely to eat dinner together.

The Fury vs Wilder fights have both been fantastic and I hope to see Joshua vs Fury for the same reason. I’m not looking forward to three months of press conferences where two grown men tell each other that they are going to punch the other harder. Tell us what you really think and then get in the ring.

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