Promoter Eddie Hearn believes that the Amazon Prime PPV card on March 30th is a “good night of boxing,” but it’ll fail to deliver in terms of buys due to the “weak” main event fight between Keith Thurman and Tim Tszyu.
Thurman’s age and inactivity
Hearn notes that the 35-year-old former WBA & WBC welterweight champion Thurman (30-1, 22 KOs) has aged since he last saw him two years ago, and he questions whether he’s still ambitious. Hearn believes Thurman returned only because he was offered a few quid.
For a millionaire fighter to be inactive for over two years is a red flag that they’ve lost their hunger.
At the kickoff press conference last Wednesday, Thurman didn’t want to talk much about why he was inactive for the last two years.
He was deflecting questions left and right, making fun of the reporters for asking him why he’d not fought for 28 months, and then blaming his inactivity on Errol Spence and Terence Crawford not fighting him.
The message here was Thurman was only interested in coming back for a big-money fight, but other than that, he was content to sit on the couch and stay inactive.
Tszyu’s limited US exposure
“I think it’s a good night of boxing. I think it’s a botched job where it’s like, ‘Let’s throw a lot of stuff together,’” Eddie Hearn told Fighthype about the Amazon Prime PPV event on March 30th.
“The main event [Keith Thurman vs. Tim Tszyu] for me is a very weak PPV main event. I find Keith Thurman a very interesting sort of character. He disappeared for two years, and he came to the press conference.”
PBC would have been better off using Terence Crawford as Tszyu’s opponent, not Thurman. If not Crawford, then Jaron ‘Boots’ Ennis or David Benavidez. Tszyu says he’s open to fighting super middleweights, so Benavidez or Jaime Munguia would have been an option if PBC couldn’t get Crawford or Boots.
“His chat is interesting. His suit is interesting. He looks a little bit older than he did before, and I’m not really sure what he’s doing in the game or how hungry he is,” said Hearn.
“He’s a great fighter, and at the presser, I thought he was really entertaining. Tim Tszyu is a really good fighter, and he’s fun to watch, by the way, but he’s not particularly well known to the U.S audiences. This is a great slot for him.
“As a PPV, historically, we know those types of PPVs don’t sell, and if it’s a good card, it doesn’t really matter because you have to grab the attention with a great headline, whether that’s Tank against Ryan Garcia, whether that’s Canelo against X.
No Demand for Thurman vs. Tszyu
“They’re the PPVs. Ryan Garcia against Devin Haney. Not Keith Thurman against Tim Tszyu. That’s not going to do good numbers on PPV. As a night, I quite like it. As a boxing fan, I’d buy it, but that’s not going to give you the numbers.
“It just feels like, ‘We need a pay-per-view. Who do we got?’ Tim Tszyu against Keith Thurman is probably a fight where I could say to you, ‘Give me a 100 fights to be made,’ and you would not say, ‘Keith Thurman against Tim Tszyu.’ You just wouldn’t.
“I think, by the way, Tim Tszyu will stop Keith Thurman 100%. Pitbull, I think he’s a really entertaining fighter. He’s a little bit limited at the elite level. I think he will steamroll through Rolly, and he will stop him.
“You saw Rolly at the press conference. The guy looked like he didn’t even want to be there, but he’s obviously getting a few quid. Good luck to him. That’s not a fight that is going to drive PPV sales.
“Fundora against Botchuk. I think Fundora is great fun, especially when he got knocked out in his last fight [by Brian Mendoza]. I’m not quite sure how he’s fighting for the WBC [154-lb] world title, but he is. It’s not going to drive any PPV sales.
“If you combine it all, and this is not being a hater, it’s a good night of boxing, but it’s not going to do any PPV numbers. PPV is difficult. It ain’t easy so, as you saw with [David] Benavidez against Demetrius Andrade [last November].
“It was a good night of boxing as well, but you’ve got to grab the attention of the casual audiences with a big name,” said Hearn.