With HBO getting out of the boxing business at the end of 2018, one of the key storylines is where some of the network’s top fighters will end up. It looks as if we have our first answer.
Boxing Scene reports that streaming service DAZN has agreed to a multi-fight deal with WBA and WBC middleweight champion Canelo Alvarez (50-1-2, 34 KOs), and an official announcement is expected on Wednesday in New York City, where a press conference for Alvarez’s December 15th fight against super-middleweight titlist Rocky Fielding (27-1, 15 KOs) is set to take place. Yahoo’s Kevin Iole noted that DAZN would also land Golden Boy Promotions events that were previously on HBO, starting next year.
Canelo is coming off a thrilling majority decision win over Gennady Golovkin last month, on an $85 pay-per-view that turned in a reported 1.1 million buys and a live gate of more than $23 million, one of the largest gates in boxing history. The Mexican superstar has headlined four pay-per-views that have done at least one million buys, while his win over Miguel Cotto fell just short of that mark.
Earlier this year, Matchoom Boxing promoter Eddie Hearn announced an eight-year, $1 billion deal with DAZN, boldly promising to shake-up the US boxing market, and DAZN itself boasting that they aim to break down the pay-per-view model. The first major event to stream on the service was heavyweight champion Anthony Joshua’s TKO win vs. Alexander Povetkin.
The Yahoo report suggests that the Golden Boy/DAZN partnership is separate from Matchroom’s, so the budgeting will be separate. Canelo is undoubtedly a major signing for DAZN, whom up until this point had not been able to get a major US PPV attraction on board its platform to help drive subscription numbers up.
If the Canelo signing is made official, it would also mean that DAZN has broadcast rights to three of the top-10 pound-for-pound boxers in the world, with Anthony Joshua and Oleksandr Usyk as the other two. Naoya Inoue is also competing in the World Boxing Super Series, which DAZN acquired American broadcast rights to, so it’s essentially four at the moment. Hearn’s Matchroom USA roster also has Demetrius Andrade and Daniel Jacobs respectively competing for vacant WBO and IBF major middleweight titles over the next two weeks, so if they both prevail, it is suddenly more than realistic for Alvarez to unify his titles with those opponents.
As an aside, December 15th looks to be a major night for DAZN, as not only are they set to broadcast Canelo vs. Fielding, but also Bellator 213: Macfarlane vs. Letourneau from Hawaii on the same evening.