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Eddie Hearn talks DAZN and Canelo vs. Saunders for 2020

Image: Eddie Hearn talks DAZN and Canelo vs. Saunders for 2020

By Charles Brun: Billy Joe Saunders is still the likely opponent for Canelo Alvarez for when he returns to the ring in September, according to promoter Eddie Hearn. The major obstacle that needs to be cleared for the Canelo-Saunders unification fight in 2020 is finding a way to stage it in front of a live audience.

Canelo (53-1-2, 36 K.O.s) and Saunders (29-0, 14 K.O.s) too big of a fight to take place behind closed doors, so Hearn wants to find a way to stage the match in front of a live audience. If they do place the fight in a studio setting, then a lot of money will be thrown out the window with the loss of a gate.

Canelo wants Saunders for some reason. Whether that’s a situation, he’s looking to take a lesser threat, or if DAZN wants him to go in this direction, it’s unknown. The U.S. boxing fans are not excited about Canelo fighting the 30-year-old Saunders, but they are willing to watch it anyway, given the complete lack of boxing.

Fans haven’t seen fights in ages, and they’d probably be willing to see even a dull one between Canelo and Saunders, given the lack of options. But if the choice were given to the American fans, they’d prefer Canelo fight an active threat against one of these fighters:

  • Demetrius Andrade
  • Jermall Charlo
  • David Benavidez
  • Caleb Plant
  • Artur Beterbiev
  • Dmitry Bivol

Image: Eddie Hearn talks DAZN and Canelo vs. Saunders for 2020

Canelo still wants to fight Saunders says, Hearn

“That’ll be part of the conversations tomorrow with DAZN,” said Hearn to IFL TV when asked about his thoughts on Canelo vs. Saunders. “I think Canelo still wants to fight Billy Joe, but at the moment, you have no gate. So how is it going to work?

“How are the dynamics going to work, and how is the financials going to work? But I’ll be saying to Billy Joe, subject to my conversations tomorrow ith DAZN; you need to get in the gym and start thinking about this Canelo Alvarez fight because I do believe things are going to spin around quickly.

“I wouldn’t be surprised if we started getting crowds back in September. I’m very confident about having them back in October. To what level, we’ll have to see, but as I understand it, Canelo wants to fight, and he’d like to fight in September,” said Hearn.

It’s an easy payday for Canelo on his DAZN contract for him to fight the light-hitting Saunders rather than a dangerous 168-pounder like Benavidez or Plant.

And it’s perhaps suitable for DAZN if Canelo fights a British fighter like Saunders because DAZN will be looking to branch out in the U.K., and this would be one way to bring in new subscribers.

It’s kind of like when middleweight Gennadiy Golovkin took on little known Canadian Steve Rolls. There was no interest from U.S. boxing fans in that fight, but given that DAZN is now in Canada, it was a good deal for GGG to fight the Canadian Rolls.

These are business-level fights targeted towards different countries. What works for one country is pure poison for another.

Eddie says bots causing problems on social media

“I can never be an official spokesman for Sky Sports or DAZN, but when you have a subscription service that provides live content and live sports,” said Hearn.

“There are no live sports, and there hasn’t been since February, it’s not a great time for business, and it’s not been a great time for our business,” said Hearn in talking about DAZN. “We’ve had no live events, right?

“So when you talk about the troubles of DAZN, this is generated by bots. If you look at my account, every time I Tweet, I will have three or four bots. ‘Here’s a link to DAZN.’

“It baffles me that for a product that is supplying such great value for money to fight fans, it baffles me that some people want to see it not succeed. So, I have a meeting tomorrow with DAZN to put in place the schedule starting with July or August to put the whole schedule in place until the end of the year.

“That should tell you everything you need to know about DAZN and their intentions is. They intend to continue to put great nights of boxing together, and to continue to put a great schedule together, to continue to put the greatest fighters on their platform, and to continue to put a great value for money for the fight fans,” said Hearn on DAZN.

What a lot of American boxing fans don’t realize when they criticize DAZN is if they go under, the options to watch live fights will be reduced. Fans will still be able to watch boxing on Fox, Showtime, and ESPN, but they’ll miss out on a lot of great fights. ESPN shows Top Rank fighters, and Fox and Showtime put on PBC guys.

If DAZN goes under, it’s unclear where Golden Boy and Matchroom fighters will be televised in the U.S.

Image: Eddie Hearn talks DAZN and Canelo vs. Saunders for 2020

Hearn meeting with DAZN to discuss the schedule

“They’re not going anywhere, unfortunately for some people,” continued Hearn in talking up how great DAZN is as a streaming platform. “It’s not a U.K. launch. It’s a global product that DAZN will be offering that will be available in the U.K., and it’s still their intention to do that.

“They want to do that off the back of a big fight, as you know that. They were due to be launched off the back of Canelo and Billy Joe Saunders. So let’s see what happens with Canelo in September. Will he fight Saunders?

“Will that happen? There’s a lot to discuss, but all fight fans need to know is there’s a meeting tomorrow to put a schedule together until the end of the year and beyond. You don’t bailout. You talk about the level of investments from DAZN.

“They’ve put out beautiful products for large organizations that are looking for sports streaming. They’ve been unbelievably successful. Let’s not kid ourselves. People talk about, ‘DAZN in the U.S. hasn’t made it.’ What are you talking about? They haven’t even done two years in America.

“Look at the fights they’ve had, and look at the fighters. Look at the numbers that they’ve done. When you look at the run that we’ve had with Canelo-Kovalev, KSI, and Logan Paul, with Golovkin and Derevyanchenko and Joshua against Ruiz, the numbers have been fantastic,” said Hearn.

Hopefully, DAZN puts pressure on Hearn to stage better fighters. While Hearn does a good job of putting some great fights together, not all of them are good. For example, Dillian Whyte vs. Alexander Povetkin is not a great match-up.

DAZN is giving great value for money says, Eddie Hearn

“We’ve had a rough few months,” said Hearn in talking about DAZN not having fights to show during the pandemic. “Everyone has. I think we should champion what DAZN has done in America and look at what they’ve achieved, and look at the value that they’ve given fight fans.

“They had given you those two Canelo fights last year. Danny Jacobs and Sergey Kovalev. That’s $160 bucks on any other platform. So you need to get behind this platform because they’ve continually given you value for money, and I’m looking forward to bouncing back.

“It just makes me want to get a little bit more spring in my step in the morning. ‘We’ll show you.’ Look at the stable they’ve [DAZN] got on their platform, and look at the fights they’ve put on their platform. Do we make mistakes? Yes. Are we still learning?

“Yes. Is the production of how we want it? No. It’s a year and a half since we started with Garcia and Vargas. One and a half years to build that stable, build that platform in America. It’s been an incredible success. The numbers have been great. Embrace it. Don’t you want value for money?” said Hearn.

There are a lot of good fights on DAZN, but unfortunately, we haven’t seen the stars Canelo Alvarez and Gennadiy Golovkin involved in any of them. Canelo has been fighting lesser guys in Rocky Fielding, Sergey Kovalev, and Daniel Jacobs. For Golovkin’s part, he’s taken on little known Steve Rolls and Sergey Derevyanchenko.

Now, GGG is about to fight another obscure fighter in Kamil Szeremeta. This can’t be good for DAZN for Canelo and Golovkin to be taking unknown fighters and older guys.

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