At last, Gennady Golovkin has made his decision.
The former unified middleweight champion agreed to a three-year, six-fight deal — which was termed as “the rest of his career” in a press release — that will see the Kazakh power-puncher compete exclusively on DAZN. An official press conference is set for Monday in Los Angeles.
Golovkin (38-0-1, 34 KOs) hasn’t fought since his majority decision defeat to Canelo Alvarez last September. HBO decided to get out of the live boxing business shortly thereafter, making everyone under HBO contract a free agent entering 2018. Alvarez signed with DAZN and debuted on the streaming service in December, and will fight Daniel Jacobs on May 4th. For “GGG,” the story unfolded much differently. He fielded offers from ESPN/Top Rank and PBC, even reportedly accepting an ESPN offer in January before changing his mind.
No terms of the deal were disclosed, but it’s believed that Golovkin will earn at least $10 million for his return fight, slated for June 8th or 15th. If he wins — let’s face it, he will not face a very challenging opponent — expectation is we’ll see a trilogy between him and Canelo in September, provided Alvarez beats Jacobs. His company, GGG Promotions, will have two cards per year on DAZN in 2020 and 2021, as he looks to build that business venture and sign fighters to his company. GGG will also serve as a brand ambassador for DAZN and reportedly has the opportunity to purchase equity in the company through his fight purses.
At 37 years old, Golovkin’s career is clearly winding down, but he joins a DAZN roster that boasts not only Canelo (the WBA and WBC champion), Jacobs (the IBF champion whom GGG defeated in 2017), but also WBO king Demetrius Andrade. Even if GGG wants to move up to 168 lbs, WBA champion Callum Smith is affiliated with DAZN as a Matchroom Boxing fighter.
DAZN sought to acquire as many top boxers in the world as possible, and they’re far from finished. Shortly after the GGG signing was announced, Ring Magazine’s Mike Coppinger reported that WBC heavyweight champion Deontay Wilder (40-0-1, 39 KOs) is in talks with DAZN, and on the table would be a multi-fight deal that includes an undisputed title showdown with Anthony Joshua (22-0, 21 KOs).
Deontay Wilder will meet with DAZN Executive Chairman John Skipper next week, industry sources told The Ring, after Lou DiBella orchestrated the sit-down. Wilder and Skipper spoke over the phone earlier this week, before the heavyweight titleholder informed his advisors, Al Haymon and Shelly Finkel, about the opportunity to meet with Skipper. DiBella declined comment when contacted by The Ring.
DiBella knew, given the bad blood between promoter Eddie Hearn and Wilder, per sources, that no deal with DAZN could be completed with the Brit at the helm. That was further proven by Hearn’s lack of rapport with GGG during the discussions, according to sources.
Skipper is expected to lay out a multi-fight offer to Wilder that would pay him at least $20 million per fight on DAZN; the second bout of the deal would pit Wilder against Anthony Joshua in a fight for the undisputed heavyweight championship.
Top Rank offered Wilder $12.5 million for the first fight of a multi-fight agreement to compete on ESPN, with a rematch against newly signed Tyson Fury (27-0-1, 19 KOs) lined up for the fall. Wilder, a PBC fighter, was lined up for a fight with Dominic Breazeale (20-1, 18 KOs) on May 18th, but Top Rank’s offer prompted Showtime to move the potential matchup to PPV to accomodate a bigger purse for Deontay. Should Wilder sign with DAZN, then that PPV is possibly out the window, much to the delight of any sane person.
The ultimate problem for Wilder is PBC’s heavyweight roster does not feature any serious competition outside of Luis Ortiz, whom he memorably knocked out last year, and there are just no real big-money matchups to make in-house. As a network free agent who’s competes on PBC platforms (FOX and Showtime), Wilder’s most lucrative matchups would be on DAZN or ESPN, and we might see another seismic shift in boxing’s landscape soon.
We can’t get too far ahead of ourselves — as boxing fans, we should know better — but if Wilder also goes to DAZN, then Canelo vs. GGG 3 and Joshua vs. Wilder happening in 2019 without the presence of PPV would be very possible.