Earlier this month, UFC president Dana White told Yahoo’s Kevin Iole that he was close to a deal with undefeated WBC lightweight champion Mikey Garcia (38-0, 30 KOs), which would make him the first signing under Zuffa Boxing. Garcia’s brother, Robert Garcia, later confirmed that talks had been made.
There is now a new twist to this story, as in a conversation with ESNews, the reigning WBC lightweight champion revealed that he’s also been approached by promoter Eddie Hearn about signing a promotional agreement.
“I honestly already have been speaking to Eddie Hearn,” Garcia said, “[I’d spoken to him about] a week before he made his announcement. He’d already reached out to me, we’ve already been talking. He’s going to be sending a proposal, he actually sent me something already.”
Interestingly enough, Robert Garcia claimed that Hearn contacted him right after the report that Dana White was close to signing Mikey. Robert says that Mikey received a call from Hearn, “screenshotted the offer,” and while Robert stated that the financial specifics were described as “good,” the money for the last of his three-fight deal was equal to what Garcia had already made for his March win against Sergey Lipinets. While not confirmed, it’s been reported that Garcia made $3.5 million for that bout, which is a big number for a non-PPV bout.
Hearn, who promotes heavyweight champion Anthony Joshua, recently announced an eight-year, $1 billion deal with on-demand sports streaming platform DAZN (pronounced “Da-Zone”), as he aims to expand the Matchroom Boxing brand from the United Kingdom to the United States. DAZN is already popular in countries such as Germany and Japan, and is set to launch in the US this July. Hearn’s other targets also include Deontay Wilder, Jermell and Jermall Charlo, Errol Spence Jr, and Keith Thurman. His main focus is to sign guys (Garcia included) who currently are not tied to a promotional contract with anyone, which is the case for many Premier Boxing Champions fighters.
Garcia is considered by many to be one of the top pound-for-pound boxers in the world, but he’s only now just getting back into the fold of top-flight boxing after a long contractual dispute with Top Rank’s Bob Arum rendered him inactive for two years. He turned down a contract with Golden Boy Promotions last year, which would’ve started with a fight against Miguel Cotto.
This isn’t the first time that we’ve had both Zuffa Boxing and Eddie Hearn in the headlines at the same time. Gareth A. Davies wrote in The Telegraph that Anthony Joshua was going to be offered a $500 million deal to pry him away from Matchroom Boxing, but now it looks as if Joshua is going to sign a contract extension to say with the group that’s promoted all of his professional bouts. At the time of the report, Hearn said, “One thing you’ll never be able to do is control Anthony Joshua. He won’t be told who he’s fighting, what logos he’s wearing, what media tours he’s going on.”
Regardless of the outcome of where Garcia signs (if at all), there’s no denying that he is highly coveted as a potential star.
The next bout for Garcia will be against IBF champion Robert Easter Jr. (21-0, 14 KOs) on July 28th in Los Angeles in a WBC-IBF unification bout. With Lomachenko likely to face WBO champion Ray Beltran in August, Garcia and Lomachenko would each have two of the four major belts, opening the door for a potential fight between them to be for the title of undisputed champion.