Will Manny Pacquiao go into DAZN?
Last week a couple of press conferences were staged in the United States by Matchroom Boxing to formally announce upcoming cards that will be streamed on its new platform DAZN. A few months ago Eddie Hearn announced this deal and promised huge cards that would be headlined by the sport’s biggest names.
On October 6, they’ll put on a card from Chicago’s Wintrust Arena, headlined by a welterweight bout between Jessie Vargas and Thomas Dulorme. Also on the bill is IBF light heavyweight titlist Artur Beterbiev versus Callum Johnson and WBA 122-pound titlist Danny Roman facing Gavin McDonnell. Heavyweight Jarrell Miller also faces Tomasz Adamek (in a fight that was put on this show to attract Polish fans).
Two weeks later in Boston, WBO middleweight beltholder Billy Joe Saunders faces Demetrius Andrade and IBF junior lightweight titlist Tevin Farmer takes on James Tennyson. IBF/WBA female lightweight titlist Katie Taylor and Scott Quigg are also scheduled.
Before these shows take place, on September 22, unified heavyweight champion Anthony Joshua defends his titles against Alexander Povetkin in London.
As of now, Hearn has inked IBF 140-pound beltholder Maurice Hooker (who will actually be making the first defense of his title on ESPN, in mid-November, versus Alex Saucedo), Roman, Beterbiev and most recently Farmer, who won his belt a few weeks ago in Australia versus Billy Dib. Add that to the roster of fighters Hearn already promotes in the U.K. – with Joshua being one of the biggest figures in boxing globally – and it’s a solid roster of prizefighters under that banner. However he needs some true franchise boxers.
Hearn has made some multi-million-dollar offers but has found that, at times, he can’t even give his money away. For the time being no true, well-known commodity has been wooed by his advances.
Even Hearn will tell you that more marquee names need to be added.
I asked Eddie Hearn to give himself a grade for the initial rollout of DAZN boxers. “8 out of 10,” he tells me. “We’re just 1,2 flagship fighters away. And believe me, they’re coming.” Also promises to announce the signing of another unified champion next week.
— Sean Nam (@seanpasbon) August 23, 2018
Eddie Hearn says he is still speaking to the Charlos, Spence, Garcia and believes, frankly, has too much money to lose:
“Other networks are having to either offer, pretend, or bait PPV fights because they can’t compete with the money I’m paying unless they do PPV.”
— Sean Nam (@seanpasbon) August 23, 2018
(Now it has to be mentioned that the addition of the second go-around of the “World Boxing Super Series,” which will focus this time on the bantamweight and light heavyweight divisions, is high quality and will be anticipated by the hardcore denizens of the sport.)
Hearns’ recent additions are more solid than spectacular but when you have more than 30 dates to fill with DAZN and you need to drive subscribers, there is a need to add a bit more “spectacular” to the stable. Especially in a very crowded marketplace currently. While Top Rank has Terence Crawford and Vasiliy Lomachenko and Premier Boxing Champions (which is rumored to be consummating an expansive deal with FOX) has a vast array of well-known boxers in the United States like IBF welterweight titlist Errol Spence Jr. and WBC heavyweight beltholder Deontay Wilder, Hearn is still looking to entice a few boxers with the bait he’s offering (and by “bait,” we mean the millions of dollars at his disposal).
Right now Hearn/Matchroom/DAZN is akin to that NBA franchise that has plenty of cap space to work with but, instead of getting LeBron James, has signed role players. He’s gotten a few beltholders to come over but no real superstars as of yet.
However that could be changing, as there is one iconic fighter out there who believes he is now unencumbered from any promotional ties – Manny Pacquiao. And word is, this past weekend, he met with Hearn in a very productive powwow.
“The Pac-Man” may not be who he once was but he is still a well-known commodity in the sport and still moves the needle, to a certain degree. And for boxers who aim to face the legendary Filipino, Pacquiao represents lucrative paydays. He also showed against the faded Lucas Matthysse that there’s still some fight left in him.
When contacted by UCNLive.com, Hearn did confirm (via email), “I met with Manny’s new team in Boston prior to our press conference last week. They are nice people and we had a pleasant chat. I’m sure they are looking at all their options right now but I believe I could do a great job for him and obviously there is significant interest from DAZN.
“Rome was not built in a day, neither will DAZN”
Isaac “Is My” Dogboe is becoming must-see-TV…By defeating Ray Beltran and winning the WBO 135-pound title, Jose Pedraza earned a shot to unify with WBA champion Vasiliy Lomachenko on December 1…Hearing that IBF 168-pound titlist Jose Uzcategui will be fighting in late September on the Top Rank card, in Oakland…So what’s the real story behind heavyweight Curtis Harper’s walk-out on Friday night?…So just when is Deontay Wilder-Tyson Fury getting announced?…Cole McDonald looks like a real QB for Hawaii (and yes, I watched that game versus Colorado State very intently)…Yes, next weekend I’ll be in Dallas/Arlington for the Miami-LSU game…Let the (college football) games begin!…I can be reached at email@example.com and I tweet (a lot) at twitter.com/steveucnlive. I also share photos of stuff at instagram.com/steveucnlive and can also be found at tsu.co/steveucnlive.