After gaining his freedom in short-order after filing his lawsuit against Golden Boy Promotions and DAZN,et al., it might have come as a surprise to some that Saul “Canelo” Alvarez just announced that he was going to fight on DAZN on December 19th in some as-yet-to-be-named location.
Isn’t this the very same service that reneged on its obligation to GBP to fund Canelo’s lofty $35 million base guarantee? Why would he continue on with the band of fools that just a year ago had him wait 90 minutes to fight against Sergei Kovalev in order for an imaginary group of UFC fans to quickly rush over to their browsers to throw down $19.99 for DAZN?
It’s pretty simple, Canelo wants to fight in 2020 because he’s been in a quasi-training camp mode ever since he foolishly believed that GBP and DAZN could pull their heads out of their asses and get him a fight during Mexican Independence Day weekend celebrations (instead,that honour went to noted Mexican hero, Egidijus “Mean Machine” Kavaliauskas). No one else in the game wanted to rush a PPV, FOX is already promoting Spence Jr vs Garcia and Showtime has just wrapped back-to-back PPVs. Ramping up for a short-order PPV at the end of the year at the levels to appease Canelo just isn’t in the cards for any straight-thinking organization.
Enter everyone’s favourite spotlight hog, Eddie Hearn. DAZN’s partner-from-hell who was the engineer in charge of their utter failure to gain any real traction in the US is back to take one last swing before DAZN drifts off into the “disruptor” sunset after Quibi.
DAZN is desperate. They are bleeding cash in a stunning fashion to the point where their founder, Len Blavatnik, has started to get cold feet and is looking to offload this pig of a service. And Len is a man who may or may not have employed private armies to “take care of” competing interests in the rush to oligarchy period following the collapse of the Soviet Union. If he’s starting to have second thoughts, you know shit is bad.
So December is their last stand and what better way to lure in suckers looking to invest in failing companies than having a “global” launch featuring Canelo? I mean, if the wealthiest country in the world didn’t buy your product at $19.99, I’m sure putting all your chips on the UK at $2.34USD is going to save the day.
DAZN is literally down to Bob Arum’s “China takeover” plan from when he was pretending he was in Macau to grow the sport. “There’s a billion people in China, we just need to get a dollar from each of them!”. This is what DAZN’s bold billion-dollar promise has been reduced to in just two years. A desperate attempt to produce a PowerPoint presentation to prospective suck… I mean clients, showing them that they’re on the upward trajectory of subscribers. I mean, if Uber can lose tens of billions of dollars and make everyone in the company rich why wouldn’t you try the growth razzle-dazzle?
The signs are all over. We know this is just a one-fight deal because if Eddie Hearn could have gotten Canelo to commit to a multi-fight arrangement he would never stop talking about it. Then there’s also the rumours that GGG is going to fight on the night before Canelo. In what world does this make sense? You’re going to offer the two biggest fighters signed to your platform in the same month?
These aren’t the plans of a company that has learned any lessons in the two years they’ve been involved in boxing. These are the plans of executives who are nervously eyeing the expiry dates on their stock options. And they are relying on Eddie Hearn to deliver their salvation, a man with all the morals of someone who shows up to a friend’s funeral with an end-goal of fucking the widow.
It’s a brilliant disaster and I will enjoy every moment of this. And hey, you never know, maybe they’ll save it. Just like every other broken idea that has been pitched to venture capitalists that didn’t survive to become a Facebook.