By Charles Brun: Eddie Hearn continues to say that he’s close to getting the Oleksander Usyk vs. Dereck Chisora fight done for October 31. He’s trying to get the “math right” for the two heavyweight contenders to agree on the deal, as there will be less revenue coming in due to the absence of a crowd.
Eddie keeps saying the Usyk-Chisora fight is “close” to being done, but it doesn’t look like it’s going to happen. Those two heavyweights know they can make more money by waiting until 2021 to fight in front of a live crowd, so it’s going to take a miracle for Hearn to “get it over the line” for Halloween in October.
Hearn says both Chisora (32-9, 23 KOs) and Usyk (17-0, 13 KOs) want to get the fight done, so he feels good about that. However, in a recent interview, Chisora, 36, didn’t sound keen on fighting without a crowd, both of the loss of the gate and the energy/noise that they would be bringing.
For a fighter that thrives on the cheering from the crowds, Chisora could be the more negatively affected of the two. Fighting in the UK usually would give Chisora a small advantage over Usyk, 33, because the crowd would be on his side.
But if this match takes place behind closed doors on October 31, then Chisora might as well be fighting in Usyk’s native Ukraine because he won’t be better off fighting in the UK.
Usyk vs. Chisora deal close?
“We’re close,” said Hearn to Sky Sports Boxing about the Usyk vs. Chisora fight negotiations. “Both guys understand that without a gate at the O2, there’s significantly less revenue driven to that show, but both guys fancy that fight.
“We’re trying to get the math right and get the numbers right to get these fight over the line. I say, fair play to both of them. They’re trying to find a way. Usyk is saying to me, Chisora is saying to me, and David Haye phones to me all the time; Let’s find a way to make this fight.
“It’s great for boxing, but we are handcuffed and bound by the fact that no fans are allowed at the moment. But if I’m a betting man, I’m having a little cheeky each-way punt that Usyk-Chisora gets over the line,” Hearn said.
The reason why it’s taking Hearn so long to get the Chisora vs. Usyk fight done is that he’s got to try and convince them to schedule this year rather than ext.
Both fighters should wait until 2021 before the match, and it doesn’t make sense for them to fight this year during the pandemic.
One reason why Usyk, 33, might be willing to face Chisora this year is that if he doesn’t, then he won’t be in the position to challenge Anthony Joshua in the first half of 2021. Assuming Usyk waits until January or February to face Chisora, Joshua will move ahead and face WBC heavyweight champion Tyson Fury in the first quarter of next year.
With Usyk tied down with the Chisora fight still in 2021, he won’t be able to make an argument that he should face Joshua. He would already have a full plate, and he couldn’t demand that Joshua sit around waiting for him to get the match over with Chisora.
Oleksandr NOT stepping aside
“For sure, he’s not stepping aside,” Hearn said about Usyk wanting his mandated title shot against WBO champion Anthony Joshua before facing Tyson Fury in 2021. “He wants to fight the winner of Joshua against Pulev for the WBO world title.
“Maybe, Chisora puts a spanner in the works like Alexander Povetkin did. Anything can happen. Usyk believes he can go out and get a good win under his belt in the heavyweight division, and then move on and challenge for a world title in 2021,” said Eddie.
The best thing that can happen for Joshua and Fury would be for Chisora to pull off a big upset by knocking out the former undisputed cruiserweight champion Usyk.
If Chisora can beat Usyk, then that would clear the path for Joshua (23-1, 21 KOs) to battle Fury (30-0-1 21 KOs) in early 2021 without having to worry about the need to defend his WBO title against the Ukrainian fighter.
Chisora would be the new WBO mandatory for Joshua, and the World Boxing Organization would reset the clock on him. In other words, Chisora wouldn’t get an immediate title shot against Joshua after he defends against Kubrat Pulev on December 12.
Chisora would likely need to wait an entire year before he eventually gets a title crack in 2022, and that’s if he doesn’t lose the WBO mandatory position along the way by getting beaten by someone.
You got to believe that Usyk will be pushing hard for an immediate rematch if Chsora beats him on October 31 or whenever they fight.
It works for Hearn and Matchroom Boxing if Chisora beats Usyk, as that removes the last impediment to a Joshua vs. Fury fight next year. Hearn wants that fight because it’ll bring in massive money.
Joshua vs. Usyk is a small fight in comparison, and there’s risk there for AJ. If he loses to Usyk, then that would destroy his hopes of fighting Fury. Usyk vs. Fury wouldn’t be as nearly as big of a fight worldwide and in the UK.
Hearn wants Canelo to fight Smith or Saunders
“It’s always messy when a fighter and a promotional company end up in a courtroom,” said Hearn in talking about Canelo Alvarez’s legal situation with Golden Boy Promotions, Oscar De La Hoya, and DAZN.
“It’s always nice to avoid it if you can. I’ve never actually ever been in that position yet—touch wood. But we want to see these guys back in the ring.
“We want to see Canelo Alvarez back in the ring, particularly because two of the fights that are there for him are Callum Smith and Billy Joe Saunders, two of our guys. I want to see them get the opportunity to fight a great like Canelo Alvarez.
“So hopefully that can get resolved, and we can see Canelo back inside the ring. He’s one of the biggest stars in world boxing. He’s a tremendous fighter, and I’d like to see AJ return to the ring in December,” said Hearn.
Canelo Alvarez’s situation is murky right now as far as his next fight goes. Eddie still hopes that Canelo will fight in November against Billy Joe Saunders or Callum Smith, but it’s pretty apparent that he won’t be.
There are only three months to go before November. If Canelo were interested in facing Billy Joe or Callum, he would have already started negotiations with one of them.
What further makes it unlikely for Canelo to face Saunders or Smith is DAZN not viewing them as premier fighters for Alvarez.
If Canelo isn’t going to get his $35 million per fight when facing one of those two, it doesn’t make sense for him to lose money facing them at $17 million or whatever DAZN is offering him for those fights.
Keeping fighters active
“Boxing needs that kind of lifeline to say, ‘it’s business as usual,’ and we’re doing our best to make sure that’s the case. I still think the plan is for Canelo to fight in November, certainly this side of the year, and if he does, I’ve got my fingers crossed that they pick Callum or Billy.
‘If they don’t, then those two [Callum and Saunders] should fight each other. But again, we go back to the fact that if there are no fans, how do you do Callum Smith against Billy Joe Saunders without reducing the money.
“Right now, I think it’s about getting the mix right about keeping the fighters active and making sure that we can deliver those big fights. But we also recognize that some are better placed in 2021 when we are back to normal.
‘We need to get them out, we need to keep them active, and it’s really, really difficult at the moment to manage this, but it’s good fun. It’s not good to be buzzing all the time on top of the world. Sometimes, you got to be scrapping for your lives, and we’re doing it, and we love it,” said Hearn.
Eddie will have as much of a problem trying to set up a fight between Callum Smith and Billy Joe Saunders this year than he will for the Usyk-Chisora fight. Callum and Saunders won’t want to give up the gate money to fight in 2020, especially if this is the only time they ever face each other.
If the fight turns out to be a mismatch, then the loser likely won’t dare risk their career in taking a rematch. If this is going to be a one and done situation, which it probably will be, Smith and Saunders are better off waiting until 2021 to fight in front of a live crowd.