Hearn hopes to sign Manny Pacquiao to DAZN
By Tim Royner: Eddie Hearn says he’s interested in inking Manny Pacquiao to add him to his DAZN streaming service if he’s a free agent now. Hearn isn’t quite certain or not whether the 39-year-old Pacquiao is no longer with his long time promoters at Top Rank. Hearn is in a race against time to sign enough top name fighters to make his deal with DAZN work financially by year 2.
If Hearn isn’t profitable by year two, it’s likely that his deal with DAZN will end. Pacquiao would help bring in subscribers despite being a mere shadow of the fighter he was 10 years ago. The casual boxing fans in the States are familiar with Pacquiao and they would be inclined to pay the $10.00 per month subscription price for DAZN in the U.S.
It’s going to cost Hearn a lot of money to sign Pacquiao. If Hearn is seriously interested in adding Pacquiao to his DAZN steaming service, he’s going to need to pay him a lot more money than he recently offered Adrien Broner. Pacquiao may not be the fighter that he once was years ago, but he’s still a highly popular fighter.
Hearn could use a big name star like Pacquiao to his DAZN service, as the fighters that he recently signed aren’t popular. Hearn has failed to sign the top talents to his Matchroom Boxing stable despite having recently signed an 8-year, $1 billion streaming deal with DAZN. Hearn is badly in need of a star to get the other fighters to fall in line and start signing with him.
Pacquiao rejuvenated his career last weekend in destroying WBA World welterweight champion Lucas Matthysse in a 7th round knockout in Malaysia. It was a good comeback fight for the former eight division world champion Pacquiao. He’d been out of the ring for 12 months since losing to Jeff Horn by a 12 round unanimous decision in 2017. Before last Saturday’s fight, Pacquiao was viewed as an over-the-hill fighter and completely done.
Hearn says he wants to match Pacquiao against Matchroom Sport fighter Amir Khan. Hearn would prefer to make an in house fight between Khan and Kell Brook, as he promotes both of them. If Hearn can add Pacquiao to his stable, a fight between him and Khan would be a much more significant fight than Khan-Brook. Hearn would likely disagree and believe that the British boxing fans would still prefer to see Khan and Brook fight, but I don’t think that’s the case in reality. At this point in Brook’s career, he’s an injury prone aging 32-year-old fighter that left his best behind after losing to Gennady Golovkin in 2016.
“I don’t know his situation with Top Rank but if he is a free agent we’ll definitely be talking to Manny Pacquiao about fighting on DAZN,” Hearn said to Fighthype. “[Amir Khan is] definitely a potential fight. I’d like, still, to make the Kell Brook-Amir Khan fight…I hope it happens but we’ll see.”
Khan, 31, would do most of the work when it comes to promoting the Pacquiao-Khan fight if he were to sign with Hearn for his DAZN streaming service. Pacquiao looked great against Matthysse, but that was against a fighter that is well past his prime. Khan would be a really hard fight for Pacquiao. Matthysse made Pacquiao look better than he actually is due to how far past his prime he is. If Hearn were to sign Pacquiao, there’s a possibility that he would want to have him milk his WBA 147 lb. title for as long as possible if he’s bringing in the subscribers to his DAZN service.
Hearn believes that his DAZN streaming service will supply better content than ESPN+. However, Hearn still doesn’t have the fighters in his stable to provide the superior contender compared to ESPN+, which shows mostly Top Rank fighters.
Hearn recently added these fighters to his DAZN streaming deal:
– Jessie Vargas
– Maurice Blocker
– Artur Beterbiev
– Demetrius Andrade
– Daniel Roman
– Jarrell Miller
Obviously these are not the biggest names in boxing. The World Boxing Super Series (WBSS) has done much better in adding fighters to their tournaments to attract interest. Hearn should have attempted to add the WBSS tournament to his DAZN service.
Hearn will have heavyweight champion Anthony Joshua defending against Alexander Povetkin on DAZN on September 22. Hearn could get a lot more fans interested in DAZN if he matched Joshua against WBC heavyweight champion Deontay ‘Bronze Bomber’ Wilder. A lot of fans would subscribe to DAZN if Hearn would stop delaying the Joshua-Wilder fight. Hearn’s plan appears to be to match Joshua against Povetkin followed by Jarrell Miller and then Dillian Whyte in a rematch. Those two fights will likely take up all of 2019 unless Joshua decides to get in a third fight. I don’t think he will. Miller and Whyte won’t bring in a lot of interest in Hearn’s DAZN deal.
“I think the content will be better,” Hearn said about his DAZN streaming service in comparison to ESPN+. ”There you have a situation where there’s a linear broadcaster, and they’ll be mixing and matching the content — some on the air, some on the [app] — which is gonna be part of the strategy. Here, this is gonna be purely on the DAZN app. So all the content’s there, all the fight cards, from 6pm to midnight, all the chat shows, all the build-up, you’ve got the World Boxing Super Series, you’ve got our U.K. shows, you’ve got Bellator as well. It’s $2.50 a week! So our plan is to flood you guys, to keep the content rolling, keep the news coming, to get everyone involved — make it a platform for the fans. So that’s the difference.”
ESPN+ costs half as much as DAZN, and it has bigger names like Terence Crawford and Vasyl Lomachenko. DAZN may need to drop the subscription price if they want to get fans to subscribe in great numbers. Certainly from the standpoint of the less than stellar fighters that Hearn has signed recently, he’s not likely going to be able to do better than ESPN+ in terms of subscribers. If DAZN had started out at a lower price like ESPN+ at $4.99, it would improve the chances of it doing well. Starting out at $10.00 is a foolish thing. DAZN needs Errol Spence, Keith Thurman, Erislandy Lara, Jarrett Hurd, Jermell Charlo, Jermall Charlo, Danny Garcia, Regis Prograis and Manny Pacquiao.
Hearn will need to add true top fighters for him to bring in enough subscriptions to keep his DAZN deal going beyond the two-year period. A lot of boxing fans believe that DAZN will move on if Hearn doesn’t bring in a high number of subscriptions to justify the money that they’re giving him. Hearn has a lot of money to work with from his DAZN, but he hasn’t been able to use the money to lure the best fighters – Deontay Wilder, Errol Spence Jr., Danny Garcia, Mikey Garcia, Shawn Porter, Jermell Charlo and Jermall Charlo – to sign with him.
Hearn tried to sign fading but still popular Adrien Broner to his DAZN network for a 3-fight, $6.75 million deal, but he turned him down and posted the offer on social media to ridicule. The Charlo brothers weren’t interested in signing with Hearn for the money he was offering them. If Hearn was willing to make huge money offers, they might sign with him. Hearn isn’t used to offering the big money that many U.S fighters require.