WHEN Eddie Hearn and Dillian Whyte faced the media at last Thursday’s curious press conference to discuss a fight that didn’t happen, there was also an elephant in the room. After the pair roughly explained the sequence of events that led to Whyte pulling out of his scheduled clash with Otto Wallin, they moved swiftly on to discussing the Brixton man’s next move – which should be a 2022 shot at Tyson Fury.
However, given Whyte’s status as a contractual free agent, he is able to discuss and agree a deal to fight the Gypsy King without the need for a promoter – Hearn’s role for the past six years of his career.
You have to go back to February 2015 for the last time that Whyte boxed on another promoter’s bill, when he appeared on a Carl Frampton undercard in Belfast. However, it is now highly likely that he will be the ‘away’ fighter in his next outing.
Frank Warren, Fury’s promoter in the UK, has suggested that Whyte could quite comfortably arrange a deal to fight without Hearn in his corner. Indeed, it could be argued that the involvement of the Matchroom boss might even make discussions more troublesome, given his bitter rivalry with Warren.
But Whyte and Hearn discussed the looming Fury fight at that top table like business partners. Whyte later suggested that he will work with Matchroom due to loyalty but Boxing News wanted to hear directly from Hearn what he will be doing for the percentage of Whyte’s substantial purse he will be entitled to as promoter.
“In theory he could just go off and make a deal on his own,” Hearn agreed. “But in theory he could have done that for the last 15 fights as well. To be honest with you, he needs us for the leverage.”
Should Whyte and Fury agree to a deal during their initial negotiations, the fight will go to a purse bid and, although Fury’s US broadcaster ESPN would be confident of winning it, Hearn and the money that could be raised by a new DAZN pay-per-view leg could bid a substantial amount too.
“Me and Dillian are very close anyway but even if we weren’t you need the leverage of another bidder, another broadcaster to come in and drive the price up,” he explained. “If you’re going to a purse bid you need the backing of that broadcaster to put that bid together.
“I think they will make Dillian Whyte an offer. If it’s a great offer, we accept. If not, there are purse bids 28 days later. I’ve got a good enough relationship with Arum to sit down and talk about it.
“Whyte’s already said to us that he wants us to go and get this fight, negotiate the fight, make him a great offer or win the purse bid and stage a great fight.”
Hearn also believes his experience of staging colossal events at Wembley Stadium for Froch-Goves II as well as three headline nights for Anthony Joshua could be invaluable to the promotion. “You need to know where that fight will take place,” he added. “And for me it’s a Wembley fight.
“There will be offers from around the world as well. That skews the level of your purse bid in this situation but I have no problem with him fighting on another promoter’s show or on another platform. We will be with him and behind him but he wants to do it on a Matchroom show.
“It’s almost like a better relationship because he can do that anyway. He can still do that with us and we will be on that team. It doesn’t matter if we’re not promoting the show, we will still be his promoter. But he would rather have control of the show, put his own fighters on and have a home show. As a fighter, you always want your promoter to be promoting the show. It gives you extra confidence. It’s everything; changing rooms, tickets, hotels.”
Mickey Duff famously said that ‘if you want loyalty, buy a dog’, and it seems like Whyte’s decision to include Hearn is about more than staying loyal. “We’ve done good business over the years,” Whyte said.