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Eddie Hearn: Floyd Mayweather vs. Conor McGregor ‘a lot more competitive’ than Francis Ngannou vs. Tyson Fury will be

Eddie Hearn on The MMA Hour

Eddie Hearn has a good amount of respect for Francis Ngannou, but he doesn’t have much hope for him.

This October, Ngannou will face lineal heavyweight boxing champion Tyson Fury in a non-title boxing match. It’s a fight Ngannou has been chasing for over a year and one he had to leave the UFC to pursue in earnest, a move that Hearn didn’t think likely. Now though, with the dust all settled and Ngannou having gotten everything he wanted when he first entered free agency, Hearn says that “The Predator” played things perfectly.

“Yeah, for sure,” Hearn told The MMA Hour when asked if Ngannou proved his doubters wrong. “When I spoke to him, I actually thought maybe he should take a couple of easier fights and build his credibility to that mega-fight. But he made it quite clear he just wanted to straight into the big fight. I think the reason for that, in all honesty — I said this to Nate Diaz’s manager as well. I said that [Nate] should do the same thing. But the problem is, they’re not very good. And if you do that and get exposed as having no chance, so the mystery of, ‘Can he? Can he punch hard?’ [is gone].”

As the chairman of Matchroom Sports, Hearn promotes some of the biggest names in boxing and as such, he doesn’t give Ngannou much of a chance to pull off the upset, likening the bout to the 2017 crossover fight between Floyd Mayweather Jr. and Conor McGregor that saw Mayweather soundly outclass the then-UFC champion.

“When you actually see the fight, you’re going to realize very quickly as we did with Floyd and Conor, they can’t win,” Hearn said. “And that was a lot more competitive than this is going to be. Yes, one-punch knockout power and stuff like that, but it’s boxing vs. MMA. It’s absolutely irrelevant.”

Winning the fight may be beside the point though. For Ngannou, Fury represents by far the biggest payday of his combat sports career and the realization of a lifelong dream. In many ways, scoring the Fury fight is the win for Ngannou, and Hearn, who has struggled for years to get Fury to commit to a matchup with his fighter Anthony Joshua, respect it.

“He’s done 100 percent the right thing,” Hearn said. “He’s got the max as quickly as possible, without anybody having to see it. Because he could go in a small fight for less money and you go, ‘You actually can’t put this guy in the ring with Tyson. It’s actually a huge mismatch.’ So the mystery of ‘Is it a mismatch? Does he punch as hard as everyone says? Oh he was once a boxer!’ makes you tune in. So I think he’s played a blinder. Good luck to him. What a lovely guy, going to make a lot of money, good luck to him.”

Ngannou faces Fury on Oct. 28 in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.

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