Popular boxing promoter Eddie Hearn filed a defamation suit against entertainment star-turned-professional fighter and entrepreneur Jake Paul in a New York federal court last Friday.
purposely crossed that line”
“Both legally and ethically there is a clear line separating opinion from defamatory lies,” an attorney for Hearn, Frank Salzano, said. “Jake Paul knows that, and he purposely crossed that line when he wrongly accused Matchroom Boxing and Eddie Hearn of fixing fights.”
Specifically, Paul accused Hearn, the frontman for Matchroom Boxing, of paying off judges in two recent fights, prompting the suit. Now, the Brit is seeking over $100m in restitution from his American counterpart.
Beef with a judge
Paul is no stranger to stirring chaos in the boxing world, whether that be his suspect opponent selection, sly comments made to other professionals, or his status as, arguably, the most noteworthy active figure in the sport. However, the Betr co-founder is now faced with an entirely different fight in the legal system.
The suit levied by Hearn and Matchroom highlights an incident from last Tuesday during which Paul made unfounded comments about Katie Taylor and Amanda Serrano’s recent title to iFL TV. Paul, who signed and represented Serrano during the build-up, co-promoted the fight with Hearn, who stood in Taylor’s corner.
Taylor ultimately won the fight via a split decision, cementing her status as the top pound-for-pound boxer in the women’s ranks. However, Paul is still unsettled by the result.
Although two of the three judges scored the fight in favor of Taylor, Paul aimed at judge Glenn Feldman, who scored it 97-93 to the victor. Feldman had also previously decided in favor of Matchroom signee Anthony Joshua, who lost a split-decision bout to Ukrainian heavyweight champion Oleksandr Usyk in August.
this guy [Feldman] is getting paid money by Matchroom Boxing”
“This type of s**t, I’m going to call it out here in boxing because it’s bulls**t,” said Paul. “Clearly, this guy [Feldman] is getting paid money by Matchroom Boxing.”
In response, Salzano noted that Hearn has said publicly that he scored the Joshua-Usyk fight in Usyk’s favor, and that he had referred to the Taylor-Serrano clash as a “fight of the year candidate.” He also pointed out that the judges were selected by commissions in New York and the Middle East, where the fights were held, not by the promoters.
Jake Paul continues to dominate headlines
The latest development in Paul and Hearn’s relationship goes against the rapport that they had been building. In the build-up to the Taylor-Serrano fight, they backed their fighters by promising a $1m wager.
asked him to walk back his comments, but he refused to do so
Hearn’s lawsuit admitted that “playful banter and even smack talk” is commonplace in boxing promotion, but Paul’s remarks went beyond that veil. The suit also revealed that Hearn’s team reached out to Paul and asked him to walk back his comments, but he refused to do so.
“Such accusations are obviously deeply offensive as well as damaging to [Hearn and Matchroom],” said Salzano. “They are also patently false.”
The lawsuit was filed in US District Court for the Southern District of New York, where the Taylor-Serrano fight took place in April.
Paul’s assimilation into the boxing world has been put on pause recently as he develops his micro-betting platform Betr, which received over $50m in funding. Part of the company’s strategy is to leverage the 25-year-old’s notoriety and attract customers faster than other startups.
Betr is currently attempting to obtain a sports betting operator’s license in Paul’s home state of Ohio. It is unclear what effect the lawsuit will have on that process.