Bob Arum goes ballistic, trashes Eddie Hearn and Sky Sports
By Charles Brun: Bob Arum worked himself up to a lather in putting both Eddie Hearn and Sky Sports on blast for them charging the UK boxing public to watch many non-pay-per-view worthy fights on PPV.
Arum says Hearn and Sky Sports are just looking for a “money grab” and “soaking” the British fans with their repeated PPV events in the event of the year.
The Top Rank promoter Arum doesn’t like the timing of all the pay-per-view events that Hearn and Sky are showing this year.
With so many out of work because of the pandemic, Arum feels that it’s “immoral” to charge fans to watch boxing events during this time.
Unemployment in the U.S and the UK is staggering, and there is little relief in sight. There’s no vaccine, and even the U.S president has fallen ill with the virus.
Sky Box Office pay-per-view fights in the fall of 2020
- Oleksandr Usyk vs. Dereck Chisora – October 31
- Alexander Povetkin vs. Dillian Whyte – November 21
- Anthony Joshua vs. Kubrat Pulev – December 12
Bob: Rematch clauses are overused, thanks to Hearn
“I don’t believe in rematch clauses,” said Bob Arum. “Rematch clauses are, in essence, overused thanks to our friend Eddie Hearn. He puts a rematch clause in every contract, and that may indicate that he’s not confident how his fighter will perform.
“As far as I’m concerned, let them fight. There will be a winner and a loser, and if down the road they want a rematch, that’s up to them. But I’m not requiring, and I don’t like to do a rematch in any contract that I do.
“ESPN is a supporter of the sport, and they don’t just use the sport. They support it, and they are giving us the wherewithal to put this event on.
“Unlike what happens in the UK where you have one outlet like Sky Sports that’s just a money grab. He puts everything on pay-per-view, but I see in the UK, BT Sport has stepped up to the plate and they are giving their subscribers without extra money Dubois and Joyce, which is an excellent heavyweight,” Arum said.
You have to agree with Arum that some of the fights that are being shown on pay-per-view in the UK this fall are ones that arguably shouldn’t be PPV.
For example, the 36-year-old Chisora (32-9, 23 KOs) is an aging journeyman, and he’s taking on an unproven Usyk (17-0, 11 KOs), who looked horrible in his heavyweight debut last October in Chicago.
Chisora fighting on pay-per-view makes little sense, but the UK fans are willing to pay to watch him.
If you Chisora and put him in ith U.S with his nine losses on his resume, there would be no chance for him to fight on PPV. U.S boxing fans wouldn’t pay to watch someone with as many losses as he has, and the networks likely wouldn’t agree to put his fights on PPV.
Arum says Sky only interested in a “money grab”
“Any fight that Eddie Hearn does, whether it’s a major fight or minor fight, they put on pay-per-view because Sky Sports is apparently only interested in a money grab. Soak the boxing fans for whatever they can.
“It’s not on the same level, but on Friday, we’ve got [Emanuel] Navarrete against [Ruben] Villa, who is an undefeated featherweight. That’s a good quality featherweight fight, and that’ll be on ESPN.
“And then later on in November, we’ve got Terence Crawford against Kell Brook, and that’s a very expensive fight, and that’ll be on the platform of ESPN.
“In December, we have a marvelous junior lightweight championship between [Miguel] Berchelt and [Oscar] Valdez, and that’ll be on ESPN without soaking people.
These networks have to understand how people are hurting in this country and in the UK, they’re out of work because of his pandemic.
“It’s really immoral to charge people money to watch their favorite sport. Every week and every other week, Sky Sports is doing in the UK is an absolute disgrace. I don’t care if they never buy a fight from me. What they’re doing now is a disgrace,” said Arum.
Eddie Hearn hasn’t complained of Sky Sports not giving him money to stage his fight events.
The money that is being pulled in by pedestrian level fighters like Whyte and Chisora is surprising. Tony Bellew was also a pay-per-view fighter before retiring, and he was only briefly a world champion in his career.
Arum: Hearn forced to put fights on PPV
“I like Eddie [Hearn],” said Arum. “To grab the money because Sky won’t give him money to do significant fights, he has no other choice but to do it on pay-per-view.
“I’m sure if Sky really supported boxing and put up money to show some of these fights, which are good fights but aren’t pay-per-view quality like [Oleksandr] Usyk and [Dereck] Chisora.
“That’s a good fight but not a pay-per-view fight. Why in the hell isn’t Sky buying that fight to show it to their subscribers without soaking them 25 quid. It’s wrong.
“There’s a point and time, particularly in now with what everyone is going through where these networks have to understand where this is the time to give back.
“That’s what ESPN has done, and that’s why everyone in America will watch Lomachenko-Lopez without spending five cents, and that’s all credit to ESPN. They’ve done it not just for this fight.
“They’re doing it for the rest of the year. That’s pretty good. When people talk about a network like ESPN, you have to give them credit for doing this,” said Arum.
I guess if the fans in the UK are willing to pay to watch fights on a frequent basis, it’s too hard for the networks to resist. The main problem with that is by flooding the market with so many PPV fights involving mediocre fighters, it could hurt the pay-per-view model.
Too many PPV events
If boxing fans lose interest in paying to see fights due to so many substandard fighters fighting on pay television, it could hurt the sport. It’s like going to a restaurant that serves bad food. Some people will put up with for a while, but eventually, they give up going to that place and move on.
Arum’s argument is more about being selective about which fights are put on PPV, and don’t turn everything under the sun into a fight where fans have to pay to see it. Also, not letting up on the pay-per-view events with so many people are unemployed, it can be construed as being thoughtless and self-serving.
Ideally, PPV should be reserved for rare occasions where you have a super popular fighter or an event that rates being sold. But when it gets to the point where fans are needing to pay to see fights cards once or twice or month, that’s too much.
Fans won’t put up with that for long, especially if the fights that they’re paying leave them unsatisfied. There’s a real good chance that British boxing fans are going to be upset with the outcomes for the Usyk vs. Chisora and Povetkin vs. Whyte II fights because the home fighter will likely lose badly.
UK fans are hoping that Chisora and Whyte win their respective fights, but if that doesn’t turn out to be the case, we may hear a lot of grumbling from bitter fans, feeling like they wasted their money, and they should have known better.
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