It’s safe to say Eddie Hearn isn’t a big believer in Nate Diaz’s abilities as a boxer.
The Matchroom Sport headman has been around professional boxing for most of his life, so he’s seen plenty of the best and worst the sport has to offer. And speaking Wednesday during an in-studio appearance on The MMA Hour, Hearn gave a less-than-stellar review of Diaz’s skills ahead of the ex-UFC star’s pugilistic debut against Jake Paul on Aug. 5.
“I watched clips of Nate Diaz hit pads, I think I might’ve even told you, and I was like [staring blankly, open-mouthed],” Hearn told The MMA Hour host Ariel Helwani. “You know that it’s going to be a mismatch against Jake Paul, don’t you?”
“I know you love Nate Diaz, and I love him. Listen, I’ve only met him a couple times — what a gent. But for it to be a mismatch against Jake Paul? Yes [he’s getting smoked].”
Diaz’s padwork has been the subject of scrutiny in the lead-up to the Aug. 5 pay-per-view, which takes place at the American Airlines Center in Dallas. One brief clip of Diaz hitting pads filmed back in May, in particular, has been heavily criticized as the Stockton, Calif., native prepares to make his professional boxing debut, despite its extremely short length.
Diaz was renown for his machine-gun boxing acumen in MMA and has trained with a variety of top boxers over the course of his 20-year combat sports run, including former champ Andre Ward, who was inducted into the International Boxing Hall of Fame in 2021.
But having top-quality boxing for MMA doesn’t always translate to having top-quality boxing for professional boxing, so as much as Hearn may not think incredibly highly of Paul’s skills, he’s confident about what’s going to happen when Diaz and the YouTuber collide in Dallas.
“You can see people hit pads and you know whether they can [box],” Hearn said.
“From what I saw, maybe you [Helwani] against Nate is a 50-50. But we can have a friendly bet on that fight, and I’ll give you odds. I don’t know what the actual line is, because you guys do things a little bit different over here, but I’ll give you 3-to-1 on Nate Diaz if you want it.
“Honestly [I’m that confident]. And we’re talking about Jake Paul. We’re not talking about [Tyson] Fury or AJ [Anthony Joshua] fighting an MMA fighter. We’re talking about Jake Paul.”
“It won’t go four [rounds],” Heard added. “I mean, listen, unless it’s all a bit of a bluff by Nate, what I saw. Maybe.”