In early 2020, Jake Paul made his professional boxing debut on an event promoted by Eddie Hearn. Now, two years later, the two look likely to enter a legal battle.
Paul, who now has 5 fights and 5 wins – although mostly against former MMA stars, recently accused Hearn’s company Matchroom of paying off a judge. The completely unsubstantiated accusations stemmed from the American disagreeing with score cards – namely one for the Katie Taylor and Amanda Serrano fight, and the other for the Oleksandr Usyk and Anthony Joshua rematch.
Both scorecards came from American judge, Glenn Feldman. Paul asserted that he knew the accusation was bold and not to be taken lightly, going on to call it a ‘repeated crime.’ The Matchroom promoter was disgusted by the comments, but appears to initially given Paul a chance to retract.
He told Boxing Social:
“It’s actually led me to take it further and I want an official apology from him and if he won’t then we will see what we have to do. But I’m not having our name and business defamed.”
Paul didn’t apologise, and legal action is now being pursued. Following initial reports last week of the lawsuit, more details have been provided by Matchroom lawyer, Frank Salzano, as reported by BoxingScene.com
“Both legally and ethically there is a clear line separating opinion from defamatory lies. Jake Paul knows that, and he purposely crossed that line when he wrongly accused Matchroom Boxing and Eddie Hearn of fixing fights.”
“Nonetheless he was still given an opportunity to retract his defamatory statements and refused to. Now he will face the legal consequences of his actions as Matchroom and Mr. Hearn will be seeking damages in well excess of $100 million given the value and goodwill attached to the Matchroom business and the harmful nature of Mr. Paul’s comments.”
“In light of his substantial following, when Defendant speaks, boxing fans, media, and the boxing profession listen. The spoken and written words of the Defendant are inevitably spread globally with the potential to harm the reputation of any individual or entity.”
“Although playful banter and even smack talk criticizing rivals is common in the boxing profession, Defendant’s recent, outlandishly false and baseless accusations against Matchroom, which are detailed below, crossed far past the line of banter, and clearly constitute defamation.”
Whilst there are often complaints by fans and fighters about scoring in the sport, Paul’s claims were both unsubstantiated and, as Matchroom argue, libellous.
After working together on Paul’s pro debut, Hearn linked up with him again to co-promote the Taylor – Serrano event. It will go down in history as the first boxing card at Madison Square Garden to have a female headliner.
It’s hard to see the relationship ever quite reaching those heights again.