When British promoter Eddie Hearn of Matchroom Boxing hosted a news conference on May 10 in New York and unveiled details of an eight-year, $1 billion deal with the Perform Group to put on 16 boxing cards in the United States to stream on its DAZN sports streaming service, Hearn said it was "open season" on signing American fighters.
If Hearn is going to put on the 16 high-level cards he has promised DAZN, he needs the talent. While he has plenty of top fighters in the United Kingdom, he has a barren American stable he is trying to build, and he made no secret that his primary targets are the numerous top boxers associated with adviser Al Haymon who are promotional free agents. That is a group that includes Deontay Wilder, Jermell and Jermall Charlo, Jarrett Hurd, Errol Spence Jr., Keith Thurman, Danny Garcia, Shawn Porter, Adrien Broner, Mikey Garcia and Gary Russell Jr.
Hearn has been in contact with some fighters or their teams, but little has been discussed publicly either from his side or the fighters until Wednesday.
That's when Broner, the former four-division world titleholder and one of boxing's most notorious names, posted to his social media an email he said was from Hearn. It included terms of an offer Hearn made to Broner last week that he did not find acceptable.
"I'm sorry Eddie Hearn you a good guy and all but you tried to give me a worst (sic) deal than Roc Nation offered me," Broner wrote, adding #ThisS---IsOVA and #SlaveDeal.
Broner posted what he said was the one-year, $6.75 million offer sent to his camp by Hearn that read, "Further to our recent conversations, you may have seen our announcement last week for our new deal for 16 shows per year in the US. I would be very interested to offer Adrien a 3 fight promotional agreement."
Terms of the deal called for Broner to fight in September for a purse of $2 million, followed by a second fight in March for $2.25 million, with the third fight in September 2019 for $2.5 million -- higher than Broner's previous best official purses.
"This will give AB security and also a concrete schedule to work from. 3 fights in 12 months! I will await your feedback and am here to answer any questions you have," Hearn wrote.
Not long after Roc Nation Sports entered the boxing business in the summer of 2014 it made Broner a five-year, $40 million promotional contract offer that was rejected.
Now Broner (33-3-1, 24 KOs), 28, of Cincinnati, who has a slew of well-chronicled out-of-the-ring issues, has also rejected Hearn's initial overture.
Broner has won world titles at junior lightweight, lightweight, junior welterweight and welterweight, but has lost when he has faced top opponents. He is 0-1-1 in his last two fights, dropping a one-sided decision to lightweight world titleholder Mikey Garcia in a junior welterweight fight last July followed by a majority draw with former welterweight titlist Jessie Vargas on April 21.
DAZN, which is available in countries such as Canada, Japan and Germany, is due to launch in the United States in June with Hearn's slate of boxing events due to begin in September.
Interim middleweight world titleholder Jermall Charlo (27-0, 21 KOs), 28, of Houston, told ESPN on Wednesday that somebody he and his brother Jermell know, who also knows Hearn, had contacted them on Hearn's behalf to gauge their interest in discussing a deal.
Jermall Charlo, who said he talked to Haymon about it, said he and his brother believe it's worth talking to Hearn to see what he has to offer.
"We're definitely open to it and to hearing what he has to say, and me and my twin brother are willing to work something out if it makes sense," Charlo said. "Of course, I want to hear what he has to say."
Charlo also said that Top Rank promoter Bob Arum, who is also on the hunt to sign top fighters to fill his slew of ESPN and ESPN+ dates, has also reached out to show interest in signing him and his brother.