Hearn: ‘Joshua will be big star in U.S after destroying Miller’
By Scott Gilfoid: Eddie Hearn views IBF/WBA/WBO heavyweight champion Anthony Joshua as being on the precipice of becoming a huge star in the United States after he “destroys” American Jarrell “Big Baby” Miller on June 1 in AJ’s first fight in the States on DAZN at Madison Square Garden in New York.
Hearn didn’t come right out and say it, but he sure did dance around the idea that the unbeaten Joshua (21-0, 20 KOs) will overnight be more popular than American Deontay Wilder (40-0-1, 39 KOs). That doesn’t seem likely though, does it? The 300+ pound Miller is an unknown even in his own country in the U.S, and it doesn’t matter how much trash talking he does, he’s not someone that is followed by casual boxing fans, who wouldn’t have any clue who he is if his name were mentioned in a conversation.
“We tried to make the Deontay Wilder fight [with Joshua]. We tried to make the Dillian Whyte fight. We couldn’t make those to fights,” Hearn said to Fighthype in talking about what led to him making the Joshua vs. Jarrell Miller fight. “We looked at Jarrell ‘Big Baby’ Miller, a huge personality, undefeated, world ranked, and I was like, ‘Now is the time.’ DAZN obviously put a lot of money up. Madison Square Garden made a major play. Now we’re seven weeks away, and I’m starting to think this was a genius move. You wait to fight week. This is going to be absolutely electric. This place is going to be filled up. There’s going to be 12,000, 13,000 British fans. The atmosphere is going to be incredible,” Hearn said.
It’s hard to imagine 13,000 British boxing fans making the journey to the U.S to see Joshua fight Jarrell Miller on June 1. One could understand that many fans going through the hassle and huge expenditure to travel to America to see Joshua fight someone like Deontay Wilder, but not the 30-year-old Miller. Joshua packs big 90,000 seat stadiums in the UK, and a lot of those same fans won’t mind traveling to America to see him fight Miller.
What Hearn might not realize is that even though 13,000 British boxing fans come over to see Joshua fight Miller, that doesn’t mean that the U.S, as huge and as diverse as it is, will become fans of his after he beats Miller. The U.S fans like to see good fights. Joshua vs. Miller isn’t a fight that the casual or hardcore boxing fans in the U.S are demanding. Hearn doesn’t understand that, but he will soon enough. To create a star in the U.S, it requires match-making to be done against the best fighters. Hearn could have done that had he given Wilder his 50-50 asking price for the fight with Joshua instead of giving him a low-ball offer, and then seeming surprised when he didn’t agree to it.
“If [Joshua] does the job I think he’ll do, a week after, Joshua will be in a completely different place than he is now in the U.S market, and I think that is important, because he’s a star in Britain,” Hearn said. “He’s filling 80,000, 90,000 seat arenas, but there’s another world out there. Fans and media guys are going to me, saying, ‘Wilder is bigger than Joshua in America.’ He is the American heavyweight champion, but there’s a whole another world out there. Britain and America are the two major markets out there [in boxing]. You guys [the media] are going to go nuts about Anthony Joshua, and the people [boxing fans] are going to go nuts about Anthony Joshua,” said Hearn.
Oh boy, Hearn sounds like he’s all mixed up about what the fans are going to think about Joshua if/when he beats Miller.
Hearn sounds very naive about American boxing fans with him talking about how they’re going to go “nuts” after they see or hear about Joshua destroying Miller. That’s not realistic. Hearn sounds deluded when he talks about what the aftermath will be after the Joshua vs. Miller is done. If anything, a lot of boxing will see Joshua as having been given another hand-picked opponent by Hearn, and they’ll be disappointed that the British promoter didn’t put a fight together with Wilder for a unification. That’s the fight the American boxing fans want to see. No one was asking for Hearn to put together a fight against Jarrell Miller. That’s not the fight that he needed to make this time around. If Hearn wants to try and turn Joshua into a star in the United States on the cheap by matching him against B-level guys like Miller, Alexander Povetkin, Carlos Takam and Joseph Parker, he’s wasting his time. Hearn needs to go straight to the top of the food chain and make the unification fight with Wilder. If Hearn doesn’t want to make the Joshua vs. Wilder fight for fear that it could end badly for AJ, then he’ll have to be satisfied with his fighter never becoming a star in the U.S. Look at Amir Khan as an example of that. He’s from the UK, and been fighting in the U.S for the last nine years, and he’s still not a star. The reason being is Khan hasn’t fought the big names like Floyd Mayweather Jr., Manny Pacquiao, Errol Spence Jr. and Keith Thurman.
“I’m so happy he’s got the bit between his teeth, and he wants to destroy Jarrell Miller,” Hearn said. “The last four or five fights, Klitschko, Joseph Parker unification, Carlos Takam, Povetkin, it was all very friendly, friendly, respect, respect. He wants to destroy Jarrell Miller. It’s very personal. He’s got to control his emotions. He doesn’t want to be sloppy and make mistakes,” Hearn said about Joshua in talking about his next fight against Jarrell Miller on June 1.