By Victor Salazar
New York - Outside of Canelo Alvarez (50-1-2, 34 KO’s), there probably wasn’t one other person inside the Hulu Theatre with a bigger smile than promoter Eddie Hearn - ahead of the monumental announcement which brought the Mexican superstar to the DAZN streaming platform for 5 years, as part of a deal worth $365 million dollars for his next 11 fights.
DAZN launched in late September with unified heavyweight Anthony Joshua (22-0, 21 KO’s) stopping Anthony Povetkin (34-2, 24 KO’s). Joshua is already aligned with Hearn and Matchroom Boxing.
However, there was a lot of doubt that DAZN would make an impact in boxing because no major star had signed with their service - although there were very formidable fighters already signed as part of the app's long-term deal with Hearn's brand and the ongoing World Boxing Super Series.
Fast-forward a few weeks, undisputed cruiserweight champion Oleksandr Usyk (15-0, 11 KO’s) has signed to fight on DAZN and the big coup with Canelo coming on board, along with his promoter, Golden Boy Promotions, who are now aligned with the steaming service.
Canelo’s first bout with DAZN will come against Rocky Fielding (27-1, 15 KO’s) on December 15th in New York’s Madison Square Garden.
Hearn could not be happier.
“We haven’t even launched for one month yet and now you got 32 of our shows, 10 of Golden Boy shows, You got Canelo's next 11 fights,” Hearn told BoxingScene.com.
“It’s not just the Rocky Fielding fight. Its eleven of his next fights. You paid $85 dollars for the Golovkin rematch and now you’re just going to pay a subscription.”
HBO recently announced they would no longer provide boxing as part of their programming. That’s when DAZN jumped in and signed the biggest star on this side of the ocean.
“Once we knew about HBO leaving,” Hearn stated. “We knew wherever Canelo went, Golden Boy also went - so it opened up with HBO getting out. Obviously, that was done with Oscar and John Skipper but ultimately for us was getting Canelo to the table to DAZN. You’re talking about 1.1 million people paying 85 dollars [for his last PPV fight]. His next fight was going to be on PPV. Now this is free.”
Hearn believes HBO could not compete with the streaming services. He also agreed with the recent comments from Top Rank's CEO Bob Arum, who believes Showtime will eventually follow HBO out of boxing.
“I saw Bob Arum's comments that Showtime will follow HBO out the business, I tend to agree with it.” Hearn said of Arum’s comments.
“It’s going to get so competitive and so fierce. HBO basically said we don’t want this anymore. Everyone’s going to have to dig deep if they want to compete. If you are a middleweight contender, you have to be on DAZN. If you want to fight Anthony Joshua, you have to be on DAZN.”