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Media Review: Teething problems for DAZN PPV

Dave Portnoy and Dan "Big Cat" Katz of Barstool Sports announce Saul "Canelo" Alvarez and Dmitry Bivol during their WBA light heavyweight championship bout at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas (Ed Mulholland/Matchroom)
As well as the fight being somewhat anti-climactic, there were other issues for DAZN PPV the night of Canelo-GGG III, writes George Gigney

Broadcasts

DAZN PPV is now officially off the ground in both the US and the UK. It hasn’t started particularly well. The trilogy bout between Canelo Alvarez and Gennadiy Golovkin was not a memorable one – it certainly didn’t live up to the drama of their first two meetings – though this can’t be held against the broadcast itself.

Some are coming out of the woodwork to insist that a 40-year-old Golovkin was never going to trouble Canelo as much as he did when they last met several years ago, and that DAZN should have known better than to make this a PPV. Not many were making that argument before the fight took place, though – there was plenty of interest in this one.

Before we look at what went wrong for DAZN, it’s worth noting that they offered two commentary options – one with commentators from the US, the other with those from the UK. This is in response to feedback from British fight fans who asked DAZN to provide UK commentary options for cards that take place in the US.

The execution was poor though. The UK commentary was apparently being done from a studio rather than at ringside. It was obvious from early on that the UK commentators were not in Las Vegas to call the action and that lack of a tangible connection to the fights was apparent.

It’s a bad look for DAZN not to have flown the UK commentary team out to Vegas for this PPV event. If you’re expecting people to pay a premium, the product needs to be worth it.

Sadly the US commentary wasn’t exactly a better option. As we’ve seen on past DAZN broadcasts, their US commentators are unable to remain unbiased while calling fights. They also have a tendency to shout over one another and simply get things wrong. At one point Golovkin – who goes by the ring moniker ‘Triple G’ – was referred to as Triple H. For those who don’t know, Triple H is a legendary WWE (World Wrestling Entertainment) superstar.

Slips of the tongue happen from time to time, but gaffes like this become a glaring red flag on big PPV shows.

DAZN also had some sort of simulcast with Barstool Sports. Thankfully us UK fans weren’t subjected to that, but for those who did for some reason select this viewing option they were rewarded with racism and an offensive amount of fratbro talk. At one point the men blabbering on this version of the broadcast questioned how many members of the fans in attendance to the fight were a part of the Mexican cartel, inferring that only Mexicans involved in organised drug-dealing could afford tickets.

The notion of offering an alternate, slightly off-the-wall broadcast is actually an interesting one. It’s just a shame that DAZN chose to team up with Barstool to do it. Though it’s not hard to see why; Barstool Sports has a huge audience. There are members of the Barstool team who provide some solid coverage of combat sports, but sadly they weren’t involved in this broadcast.

There was also a swathe of reports from people claiming to have had issues even watching the main event on the DAZN app. Some streams apparently began buffering halfway through the fight, only to then skip to the post-fight interviews, revealing the winner.

That being said, there has never been a PPV broadcast on any platform that has gone off without an issue for someone somewhere in the world. What we’ve seen from DAZN in the past is an ability to adapt quickly and improve the user experience on the app, so hopefully that trend continues after this weekend.

Websites

It was reported in the Daily Mail that Chris Eubank Snr had pulled his son out of the fight with Conor Benn in a few weeks’ time over fears about Eubank Jnr making the contracted 157lb catchweight. As was probably intended, the news spread like wildfire and the likes of Billy Joe Saunders and Benn himself took to social media to mock Eubank Jnr.

Of course the whole thing was proven to be a lot of hot air as the Sauerlands, who promote Eubank Jnr, made it clear that they have a contract with Junior, not Senior.

It’s a grabby headline, but the Mail should have done some basic follow-up reporting to get confirmation that Eubank Snr actually has no control over whether or not the fight goes ahead. Still, it stirred up yet more talking points around a fight that looks like it could be huge here in the UK.

Mike Coppinger of ESPN reported that “all material terms” for a fight between Terence Crawford and Errol Spence Jnr have been agreed. Contracts are now apparently in the hands of their respective legal teams to tighten up the language and clauses.

If this comes off, it would be a massively important fight for the sport. Plus it could come within weeks of a fight between Tyson Fury and Anthony Joshua. That is a frankly bonkers end to the year.

Podcasts

Deontay Wilder sat down with the Last Stand podcast to discuss his upcoming fight with Robert Helenius and his plans for the future beyond that. The most interesting soundbites came from his comments about Fury and Joshua.

Unfortunately Wilder is still peddling the line that Fury somehow cheated in their second fight with one another, and he’s also convinced they’ll meet for a fourth time. One would hope that, with some distance and hindsight, Wilder could have moved on from his animosity toward Fury.

He also had some choice words for Joshua, who he claimed has been “created” rather than being a natural fighter.

Boxing on the Box

September 24

Joe Joyce-Joseph Parker

BT Sport Box Office

Coverage begins at 6pm

Maxi Hughes-Kid Galahad

DAZN

Coverage begins at 7pm

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