Its no secret that since the rise of Matchroom boxing in the last few years, no other UK promotional team comes close. Boxnation has been left in the shadows of the money making machines over in Eddie Hearn’s stable, but when you strip it all back, is all that glitters really gold?
Anthony Joshua is without question Matchroom’s cash cow, and its almost inevitable that without him they would struggle to generate the views and the revenue that they do. Realistically without conning the public, Joshua is the only person in Hearn’s stable that warrants being on a pay per view platform, and even that is questionable with his choice of opponents.
The relationship Joshua has with his promoter seems to be strong from the outside looking in, but as AJ’s stock has risen, he seems to be taking over control and ultimately makes all the decisions. Joshua is clearly hungry for the money and the fame that goes with it and despite his false persona of being this Mr nice guy, he’s still an ex drug dealer that had been in trouble with the police on numerous occasions. I think there is only so far Hearn can take Anthony Joshua, admittedly hes made him into a superstar already, but in the next few years a move to an American promoter would be expected.
Photo Credit – (@matchroomboxing)
Another prospect in the Matchroom stable is mandatory challenger to the WBC Super Middleweight championship, undefeated Mancunian and British Super Middleweight champion Callum Smith. Smith is part of Joe Gallagher’s gym, and it’s no secret the game plan across his stable has been figured out after a very unsuccessful year.
Smith is a fighter that has had an awful 2016 after being one of the hot prospects to watch at the end of last year. He’s been put in with multiple opponents that no one has heard of, often entering anywhere from 1/50 to 1/100 favourite. He looked unstoppable in 2016 but the level of opposition he has faced, also is nothing to shout about.
Smith is sanctioned to face the winner of WBC champion Badou Jack against IBF champion James DeGale. If DeGale is victorious then the fight will be a guaranteed pay per view event in the eyes of Hearn, but if Badou Jack comes through successful, a non domestic clash on pay per view will be a poor decision as the profile Smith has does not warrant an event worth £16.95, the same platform Joshua fights on.
Since stepping up to the plate and taking on world class opposition, the majority of the fighters in Gallagher’s gym have been found out pretty quick. Often coming up short in there attempts at world titles, Smith could be another one that comes up short when he steps up to the world stage.
The former WBA Lightweight Champion Anthony Crolla is definitely a massive draw in Manchester, but since loosing his belt by unanimous decision to Jorge Linares, he isn’t still considered amongst the top boys in a very strong division. His fairy tale story has seemed to come to an end and with his rematch against Jorge Linares potentially his last step up to the world scene, it may be another Matchroom fighter on the down slide.
There is a big domestic clash that could be made for Anthony Crolla and thats against undefeated fellow Mancunian and WBO Lightweight Champion Terry Flanagan. As big a fight as this would be, the two are likely to not meet each other in the ring as a conflict of interest between Hearn and Flanagan’s promoter Frank Warren is a big stumbling block.
Don’t get me wrong I’m a massive Anthony Crolla fan, but there is only so far you can take a fighter who gets found out when they really step it up. The fights in the future are unlikely to see Crolla on a pay per view platform.
Scott Quigg is another fighter who peaked earlier this year when he made it on a pay per view platform and lost his WBA Super Bantamweight Title against undefeated Irishman and now Featherweight Champion Carl Frampton. The fight was four years in the making and the bitter rivalry between the promoters and the history that followed, made the fight what it was.
Frampton has moved up and is set to rematch Leo Santa Cruz in early 2017 and providing he comes through successfully, there is other unification fights on his mind. He has no intention of facing Quigg, who makes his featherweight debut next Saturday, so Quigg will need to build his profile back up again, but fighting someone who he comes in a 1/33 favourite against, isn’t doing him any favours to warrant his shot again making him another fighter far from the pay per view scene.
Katie Taylor is an impressive Olympic champion and was incredibly promising in her Matchroom debut last week on the undercard of Ohara Davies v Andrea Scarpa. She seems to bring a huge crowd and the Irish seem to love her, but the female scene in boxing is lacking the stars she needs.
Its inevitable Taylor is going to win a world title and unify her division, but there isn’t many female fighters that are making noise across any of the major platforms. I’m not one to slate the women’s boxing as I was pleasantly surprised with her last weekend, but the only way she will continue on a journey to history will be moving up the divisions and gaining titles elsewhere and even still, those divisions are lacking in money fights.
The saga between David Haye and Tony Bellew hasn’t gone a miss either as its been plastered all over our social media accounts and our television screens. This fight is on pay per view and is expected to be a big draw, but is it really a pay per view worthy event?
David Haye steps into this a massive favourite, dragging Bellew up a weight than he currently fights in, it’s only a matter of time before the Matchroom fan boys realise they shouldn’t have to pay to see big names in mismatch fights. Bellew’s age isnt on his side either, he does hold the WBC Cruiserweight championship but despite Hearn claiming hes the best in the world at 200lbs, he absolutely most certainly definitely is not! I put him top 5 at best.
Once the fight with Haye is over and done with and Bellew takes another knockout loss on his record, the fights left for him in his division are high risk, low reward. Unsure yet whether he will be able to keep hold of his belt for not fighting his mandatory challenger Mairis Breidis, Bellew could be cashing himself out after this fight as it’s probably the biggest payday he is going to get.
There is still champions in the Matchroom stable, like IBF Welterweight champion Kell Brook, and IBF Featherweight champion Lee Selby, but there is no certainty whether this fighters will be renewing their contracts with Matchroom. Hearn has recently made clear in an interview that he will be getting rid of the deadwood and only wants champions and pay per view fighters in his stable.
Taking all of the above into account, other than Joshua and maybe a big unification for Kell Brook, I can’t see the fans continuing to fall for these Matchroom pay per view events. Gone are the days of the Carl Froch mega fights or the domestic scene full of bad blood.
Frank Warren’s deal with BT Sport is also another bump in the road for Hearn,with a lot of fighters unhappy in his stable probably feeling like this is a great opportunity to jump ship and get some great exposure over on Boxnation. A recent departure of Leeds fighter Josh Warrington was also unexpected as he is a big draw in Leeds and the revelations that have surfaced regarding future plans, are not true. I think Warrington is 95% likely to sign with Boxnation.
Matchroom do have a lot of young fighters that are said to be hot prospects, but take back Ohara Davies, and I’m struggling to think of any future superstars. I really feel if Matchroom loose Joshua to an American promoter, the UK’s leading promotional company will be facing some dramatic problems.