Boxing Promoter Eddie Hearn Thinks Tank Davis Is “Not A Deep Thinker” Or “Articulate” | Leonard Ellerbe Claps Back

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British boxing promoter Eddie Hearn recently stepped into the racial trope zone when discussing Gervonta “Tank” Davis. Hearn stopped by the DAZN Boxing Show, broadcast on the streaming service he helped popularize, to drop judgment on the fighter he had been trying to sign.

“The dangerous thing about Gervonta Davis is he’s not a deep thinker, not articulate,” Hearn said. “I don’t mean that in a disrespectful way. He’s a bad motherf***er. Like Mike Tyson. That makes him dangerous because he’s fearless; you can’t get into his head.”

Classism, Racism Or Both?

Immediately, the boxing world jumped on Hearn for what read like a hard judgment on the young champion. Hearn is the chairman of Matchroom Sport and Professional Darts Corporation and the son of promoter Barry Hearn, the founder of Matchroom Sport. His father made millions promoting darts, billiards and boxing competitions in the U.K., and he has made a considerable splash in the U.S. market promoting British heavyweight Anthony Joshua and co-promoting Mexican superstar Saul “Canelo” Alvarez and more.

Davis’ former promoter and mentor, Leonard Ellerbe, CEO of Mayweather Promotions, railed Hearn for the comments directed toward the star he groomed.

“@EddieHearn you did mean that in a disrespectful way with your privileged racist ass,” Ellerbe tweeted. “Who tf you think you are saying he’s not deep thinker or not articulate? That’s the problem, mf’s like you think you are more superior than others. We don’t play that sh*t over here you fkn (clown emoji).”

Ellerbe and Hearn have had a cantankerous relationship for years that has mostly played out through the media. The two are opposites in how to conduct business in boxing. Hearn is the leader of the streaming service movement with his alignment with DAZN. Ellerbe, along with Mayweather, are the leaders of pay-per-view in boxing. Mayweather events hold the top spots in boxing pay-per-view history, and, along with advisor Al Haymon, the trio single-handedly enhanced the landscape for a boxer-businessman.

Ellerbe is closely aligned with Stephen Espinoza, president and GM of Showtime Sports. Last weekend, the network aired the last Davis pay-per-view bout, the win over Hector Luis Garcia in Washington, D.C.

“Disgusting,” Espinoza tweeted. “Sometimes the veneer wears off & people say what they actually think. In this case, repeating despicable racial tropes of Black fighters as unintelligent & unthinking. I know Gervonta & I know Mike [Tyson[, and they’re deeper thinkers than the person who made this statement.”

Boxing has always hidden its racial undertones in plain sight. Look no further than the first Black heavyweight champion of the world, Jack Johnson, versus anyone white of his era to the way Mayweather famously went undefeated, parlaying his defensive-first style into cultural clashes against fighters with large fan bases. The fight game thrives on cultural solidarity for one’s own. It also has roots in classism, becoming the entertainment for wealthy men with money to watch poor people attempt to kill one another legally.

Eddie Hearn, replete with his English accent, Daddy’s help, and condescending savoir-faire, feels he is the authority to deliver judgment on how boxing and its most crucial personnel, the athletes, reach the public

Rhett Butler is a Boxing Writer Association of America Journalist, Play-By-Play Commentator, Combat Sports Insider, and Former Mixed Martial Arts and Boxing Promoter. The New York City native honed his skills at various news outlets including but not limited to: TIME Magazine, Money Magazine, CNN's Wolf Blitzer Reports, and more. Rhett hosts the PRITTY Left Hook podcast, a polarizing combat sports insider's take featuring the world's biggest names.