EDDIE HEARN has certainly caused a stir with his deal with DAZN. The early signs are that the eight year billion dollar deal as announced could have a huge impact on the boxing scene. With financial backing seemingly already in place the important work of filling in the names of the fighters who sign up to the deal can now start and it is that element which will decide whether we have a game changer or a false dawn. Until we see the names no one can be sure just how big a deal it is. Obviously there is realisation that Anthony Joshua’s name would give the whole scheme a big boost but there has to be a long term plan to sign or build others to star status.
The World Boxing Super Series did not get all of the top cruisers and super middles but it did put together two sets of top quality contestants and it produced some excellent fights which would not have happened if the WBSS had not made the money available. It has also shown the pitfalls in the way the tournament is structured. With both George Groves and Olek Usyk injured and the two final bouts postponed the tournament has lost some of its impetus. It seems as though there is time for Usyk vs. Murat Gassiev to fit into their schedule but there are doubts about whether Groves can overcome his injury in time to fight Callum Smith. Chris Eubank Jr would be the logical stand in and a Smith vs. Eubank fight would be tough one to pick a winner but with Kalle Sauerland being so much a part of WBSS my fear is that Juergen Brahmer might get slotted in as he had to withdraw from his fight with Smith due to injury and for my money that would devalue the tournament.
The DAZN deal is not in the WBSS format so it will live or die on the names who sign up for the multi-fight deal. As with the WBSS there will be some boxers who are tied to promotional or TV contracts which would preclude them from signing as this is not a knockout tournament but a long term on-going commitment which will require guarantees from and to both parties. A boxer could seriously harm his career if the walks away from a deal with HBO or Showtime only to find his career stagnates but in all honesty in boxing you are only as good as your last fight whether you are with HBO, Showtime or DAZN. The boxers will be saying show us the money and the boxing fans will be saying show us the fighters and only then can we get an idea how all of this will work out but you can be sure HBO and Showtime will not be spectators they will be in there fighting to retain the quality fighters they have and adding more to their rosters.