Barry Hearn: Chris Eubank has thanked me and Ronnie O'Sullivan will one dayMay 23, 2023
Barry Hearn says he has reached a point in life of pure happiness and contentment, a place where the likes of Steve Davis and Chris Eubank have also found, and he expects Ronnie O’Sullivan to do the same.
The legendary sports promoter is getting ever more philosophical as he approaches his 75th birthday next month, but says he has never been happier.
He is also delighted to see sportspeople he has worked with over the years find the same level of contentment in who they are and what they want to do with their lives.
Hearn believes his old pal Steve Davis is a prime example of someone ‘finding themselves’ in his second, unexpected music career, leaving snooker behind him.
When asked about a more measured Ronnie O’Sullivan these days, one which is focussed on fitness and healthy eating in contrast to his less disciplined times in his younger days, Hearn believes the Rocket is also finding himself and what really makes him happy.
‘Sometimes it takes time to settle down and find out actually who you are,’ said Hearn. ‘And I think Ronnie has found out who he is.
‘It’s a bit like Steve Davis at the moment. Steve with his music, his Blur concert, he is at Glastonbury. I have never seen someone so happy. He has found where he wants to be. I am not saying Ronnie is quite there. But I think generally he has found what Ronnie O’Sullivan wants.
‘As you get older, like I am 75 years old in June for f***’s sake, you get a bit reflective. You realise when you are like me, a life chasing money, profits and success, but actually I am just as happy going fishing on my own with a can of worms.
‘It sort of brings it all down. People like Ronnie need that. I think he is close to being there. He is never going to be Mr Normal, because geniuses aren’t normal.
‘We watch his career and thank him for the value he adds. We hope he appreciates what snooker has done for him as well. That may come later rather than earlier as you become more reflective on life.’
The Matchroom Sport president promoted former world champion Chris Eubank during his prime and says that the eccentric boxer has come to appreciate the opportunities that were afforded him through sport.
‘Chris Eubank phoned me up the other day. Out of the blue. From somewhere in the world,’ said Hearn, before embarking on a recreation of the conversation which involved a very good effort at a Chris Eubank impression, beginning with the former world champ.
‘”How did you know it was me?”
‘”I just listen to the voice and guess.”
‘”Very smart, very smart. I have phoned you up to say thank you.”
‘”Oh, that is very kind. What are you thanking me for?” I hadn’t spoken with him for some time.
‘”I realise now that you made me. I thought I made myself. But analysing the past I have come to the conclusion that you made me. I would like to say thank you very much.”
‘”That is very kind of you.”
‘He said “Good day” and he put the phone down.’
‘He is another person who perhaps with all the drama in his life, you reach that point.’
Hearn and O’Sullivan’s relationship has been fraught at times over the last 30 years but he expects the seven-time world champ to eventually see things his way.
‘It is so satisfying when a player says thank you,’ he said. ‘Now I am not expecting Ronnie to join that list but when he gets older, he will. Because he will look back and be reflective and think, I have had a great life, I was a great player. Why did I have a great life? Because I had opportunity.
‘I am happiest the person in the world. I don’t know anyone happier than me. I have completely come to terms with life. The ups, the downs, the fact that it is limited, the fact I have been successful, the fact I have helped thousands of sportsmen and women. I am just totally untouchable.
‘I think Ronnie is getting there as well. You know that feeling of just, this is what it is, accept it for what it is. I am going to do what I want. But you know, at the same time, I accept I am not going to win everything. I am going to enjoy myself. I am going to do exactly what I want to do.’
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