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Eddie Hearn gives Team Canelo firm ultimatum for fights with Smith and Saunders

Joseph Herron Updated
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It was recently reported that both Billy Joe Saunders and Callum Smith were made offers to face "Ring Magazine's 2019 FOTY" Canelo Alvarez on May 2nd at the T Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada, and subsequently, the two 168 pound champs turned both respective offers down.

Although the two fighters have agreed to face lesser opponents for much less money in recent outings, promoter Eddie Hearn explains why the initial offers to fight Canelo were rejected.

"Yes, both fighters have received offers for that fight," confirmed the Managing Director of Matchroom Sport to Boxing Social.

"An initial offer that was rejected. In our opinion, particularly the fighters' opinion, the offer just wasn't good enough."

"There is a market rate for fighting Canelo Alvarez. Unfortunately for Golden Boy, it has been inflated in the last twelve months. We're not even asking for that market rate."

While it's been reported that Danny Jacobs and Sergey Kovalev both received comprehensive financial packages worth over $12 million to face Canelo in 2019, only a guaranteed $3 million for Kovalev and a guaranteed $2.5 million for Jacobs were confirmed.

Despite putting up decent numbers on British TV and at live gates, both champions aren't major draws within the American fight market. It's debatable whether or not US fan interest would even be comparable to that of Canelo's fights against Danny Jacobs or Sergey Kovalev.

"Callum Smith is a WBA, WBC and Ring Magazine world champion," argues Hearn. "He believes he has a lot of value in this fight, and he's correct. So does Billy Joe Saunders. He's also a world champion who is undefeated."

Even though both men are indeed legitimate Super Middleweight champions, box office attraction always outweighs a fighter's ring accomplishments when determining market value and purse amount. One could even argue that a fighter's ring accreditations are germane when negotiating with a global boxing commodity like Canelo Alvarez.

It will be difficult to find a "middle ground" for all parties involved, even though all three men currently compete on DAZN. But this is what happens when a network chooses to inflate fighters' purses on a regular basis. It becomes virtually impossible to make big fights a reality because a fighter's worth no longer reflects his market value accurately.

In other words, what do you think a fighter will expect to get paid for taking on Canelo Alvarez after receiving more money for lesser match-ups?

"We're not a million miles away right now, but the offer that they've made won't work. So they either have to make a new offer, or we just let them two fight each other in a Super Middleweight unification."

If both men are willing to face each other for less money, why not fight Canelo Alvarez in May? Yes, a unification between BJ and Callum would generate huge interest in the UK, and increase their overall demand in the US market.

"Callum Smith and Billy Joe Saunders desperately want that fight with Canelo Alvarez. Negotiations are ongoing, and I do believe one of them will get it."

If Canelo were willing to travel across the pond, where both Saunders and Smith are much larger financial draws, the Super MIddleweight champions would be able to demand a considerably greater amount to defend their respective titles. But in the American fight market, BJ and Callum remain virtual unknowns.

It will be interesting to see which party, if any, concedes in this fight negotiation for May 2nd on DAZN.


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