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DAZN optimistic Manny Pacquiao vs. Mikey Garcia deal gets made for July 11 in Saudi

Jessie Vargas Manny Pacquiao Mikey Garcia

By Chris Williams: Officials with DAZN are reportedly interested in putting a deal together for a fight between WBA welterweight champion Manny Pacquiao and Mikey Garcia for July 11 in Saudi Arabia, says @MikeCoppinger. Mikey’s promoter Eddie Hearn of Matchroom is ready to put the Pacquiao-Garcia fight together.

There’s a lot of money Pacquiao and Garcia can make fighting on July 11 in Saudi. It’s a big fight, and Hearn will want to stack the undercard with talented opposition in competitive fights like we saw last Saturday in Frisco, Texas.  Mikey will be a tremendous underdog against Pacquiao, and he may need a knockout to win.

The low punch-output that had plagued Mikey his entire career would put him behind the eightball in a fight against Pacquiao, who is like a human-tornado with the way he attacks his opponents with punches.

Mikey (40-1, 30 KOs) did what he had to do last Saturday night to earn the title shot against Manny by defeating Jessie Vargas (29-3-2, 11 KOs) by a 12 round unanimous decision at The Star in Frisco, Texas. The bigger fighter Vargas gave it a good go, but Mikey’s power proved to be too much for him. From the fifth round on, Mikey was hurting Vargas each time he hit him with right hands.

Garcia, 32, proved to his doubters that he’s an elite level welterweight by knocking down the former 2-division world champion Vargas in round and winning the fight by the scores 116-111, 116-111 and 114-113.

Hearn to begin working on Pacquiao vs. Garcia fight

“I want to do the Manny Pacquiao fight. I’m going to get on that now,” said Hearn to IFL TV on a fight he wants to make between Mikey Garcia and Manny. “As I said in the presser, ‘Me and Mikey, we’re kind of dating. We’re not in a confirmed relationship. It’s expensive but we work really well together.‘ I’ve got an option to promote his next fight, and I would like to do that against Manny Pacquiao,” said Hearn.

Top Rank promoter Bob Arum said this week that he’s trying to set up a fight between Pacquiao and WBO welterweight champion Terence ‘Bud’ Crawford for the summer. The chances of Arum getting Pacquiao to agree to fight the 33-year-old Crawford aren’t good. Pacquiao will very likely be swayed by the big money that he can get fighting Mikey in a title defense in Saudi in July.

It’s a better fight for the former eight-division world champion Pacquiao on paper since he won’t need to deal with his old promoter. Additionally, Crawford has a difficult style with his switch-hitting, counter-punching and his ability to punch. Moreover, Crawford has a lot of power, and he’s in the prime of his career.

Mikey would unquestionably attract a lot of interest from boxing fans nationwide for a fight between him and the 41-year-old Pacquiao, and it would bring in a lot of new subscribers to DAZN, which is a win-win for the streaming giant.

We have been talking about Manny or rematch with Errol Spence Jr. I think everyone would like to see me and Manny,” said Mikey at the post-fight news conference last Saturday. “The fight with Manny has been talked about for many years. I love the idea of fighting Manny,” said Garcia.

Mikey also mentioned wanting to fight Errol Spence Jr., but a rematch between them wouldn’t attract the same amount of interest from fans given that the two fought already in March of last year. Spence beat Mikey by a lopsided 12 round decision on Fox Sports pay-per-view in Arlington, Texas.

Mikey Garcia vs. Jessie Vargas card lived up to expectations

“It did [live up to expectations],” said Hearn on his DAZN card from last Saturday. “Honestly, as a fight fan, it was an honor to see the quality of fights, Yafai and the history from Chocolatito. It was a great fight Garcia-Vargas. Jay Harris [was] amazing. Joseph Parker back, and Madrimov an absolute beast. Fans, they don’t get that.

“I was walking down there, and they were, ‘That card!’ They don’t get cards like that. It doesn’t exist,” said Hearn. “In England, the Sky Sports shows used to be a Commonwealth title fight and an eight-rounder. That was it back in the day. I’m talking 10 years ago, and that was it. When we started doing shows, we had no choice like the European title fight and a Commonwealth title fight.

“The next thing it was like 4 or 5 title fights on the card, and that’s what I believe contributed, one of the contributors, to the success of British boxing, where people started taking notice, people started following fighters. All of a sudden, we started to get more value for money, and the crowds started to swell, and the ratings started to increase. That’s what I think we need to do over here,” said Hearn.

Eddie is quickly changing the approach to putting together fight cards because many of the U.S promoters have paid little attention to the undercards. It didn’t used to be that way but it’s become the norm over the last five years.

If you look at the biggest fight cards that have taken place in since 2015, you’ll see a great main event and then undercards that are woefully bad. The promoters are assuming that the fans only care about the main event, so they’re ignoring the undercards.

It’s a bad deal for U.S fans paying $80 to watch a fight on PPV, as many of the main event fights turning out to be one-sided. An example of that is Floyd Mayweather’s fights with Pacquiao and Conor MacGregor. The fights weren’t competitive, and undercards were stocked with mismatches.

Hearn believes in creating great undercards

“DAZN will say to me, ‘Do you think the depth of the card makes a big difference in the numbers.’ I’m like, ‘From a TV perspective, yes, but everyone is tuning in for that main event mostly,” Hearn said. “But in terms of the sport, in terms of the narrative, in terms of what we’re trying to do, yes, massively, because anytime you’re trying to give value for money, it works,” said Hearn.

Boxing fans were ecstatic with the exciting fights on the Garcia-Vargas undercard last Saturday on DAZN. It’s become a norm for undercards to be ignored nowadays, and filled with mismatches between prospects and unknown lower-level fighters. Hearn put together a great undercard to package with the Garcia vs. Vargas fight, and fans went away happy with what they saw.

Here are some of the interesting matches that took place on the Garcia-Vargas card:

  • Roman ‘Chocolatito’ Gonzalez stopping WBA super flyweight champion Kal Yafai in the 9th round
  • Julio Cesar Martinez beating a game Jay Harris by a 12 round unanimous decision in his first defense of his WBC flyweight title
  • Joseph Parker beating Shawndell Winters by a 5th round knockout in a war
  • Israil Madrimov defeating Charlie Navarro by a sixth-round knockout in a competitive fight

Hearn wants to supply DAZN value for money for his cards

“It doesn’t matter if you’re buying a ticket or subscribing to DAZN,” Hearn said. “If you sit there and watch an amazing night for 4 or 5 hours and turn your TV off or leave the arena, you’re going to go, ‘That was fantastic. I really got value for money.’

“Value for money makes people happy, and value for money makes people buy again, and there can be no downside to putting on a great stacked card. You’re not always going to get it right, but tonight was a great night where everybody that watched and everybody that left, went, ‘That was fantastic.’

“There’s other nights that don’t work out, and you walk out [disappointed]. When a show doesn’t go your way, I feel dreadful, and I feel like s—, and I go home and I’m miserable. But when it goes your way, it’s a great feeling, and on social media, people are saying, ‘That was an amazing show, Eddie.’

“Even the blokes that slag me off, come out and say, ‘Great show.’ I’m thinking, ‘Yeah, it makes me feel great.’ If you’re a boxing fan, you can’t not enjoyed tonight,” said Hearn.

Hopefully, the way that Hearn puts together cards is copied by the U.S promoters because it would be great if they began to put together compelling undercards instead of having just one good fight in the main event, and the rest just slop.


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