Eddie Hearn’s tense talks nearly cost Anthony Joshua a victory over Andy Ruiz Jr.
Anthony Joshua was on the verge of pulling off a huge upset against Andy Ruiz Jr at Madison Square Garden in June 2019, but the fight almost didn’t happen…
When Jarrell Miller was forced to withdraw from his heavyweight bout with Anthony Joshua in June 2019 due to several failed drug tests, Eddie Hearn was in a race against time to find an opponent for his prized asset’s American debut. “AJ’s June 1 opponent will be named next Monday – if you don’t think you can beat him clean, erase my number!” Hearn invited potential challengers to contact him with seven weeks to go until fight night.
As Adam Kownacki, Manuel Charr, Michael Hunter, Kubrat Pulev, and Dillian Whyte all thrown their hats into the ring, his email quickly filled up.
Matchroom boss Hearn didn’t have much time to bargain, and a number of heavyweights and their teams ended up ruling themselves out of contention in their pursuit of a massive payoff.
Soon after, a frontrunner emerged in the form of Cuban brute Luis Ortiz, a recognized former world championship challenger who pushed Deontay Wilder all the way at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn in March 2018, only to be halted in brutal fashion by the Bronze Bomber.
Jay Jimenez, his manager, contacted Hearn, but was concerned if his fighter would be ready in time for the short turnaround.
DON’T MISS: Eddie Hearn’s EXCLUSIVE interview with Express Sport on AJ vs Fury.
After consulting with his boxer, Jimenez called Hearn the next day and urged him to make an offer, which he did by presenting a purse of £4.3 million ($6 million).
Hearn told iFL TV at the time, “No response, this was on Friday.” “On Monday, I told you I’d call you.’ ‘Right, this is it, $7 million for June 1st,’ I returned later that day. If he wins, he’ll get a rematch for a lot more money, and if he loses, I’ll give you another fight for a lot of money just to be safe.’ “No response.”
Jimenez, who expected Hearn to go deeper into his wallet, later termed what was presented as a “low-ball offer” in the media.
Instead, he walked away from the table, understandably angered by Jimenez’s behavior. “Brinkwire News in Condensed Form.”