These are most interesting times in the sport of boxing.
HBO is leaving the building. Floyd Mayweather is talking un-retirement. New platforms are present and mega money is sloshing around, enriching standouts like Canelo Alvarez.
The Mexican redhead got center stage and commanded it exceedingly well this week, with his signing to DAZN. The 50-1-2 hitter will glove up December 15, and no, it won’t be on PPV. Instead, the scrap will be presented via stream, which seems to be the direction the sport is moving towards, what with Top Rank and ESPN putting more emphasis on the ESPN+ output. Yes, we know that premium cabler Showtime is still heavily invested and running on all cylinders, they shouldn’t be written off.
But Canelo seems to be jousting with Mayweather for buzz, right? Now, no one does buzz better than Mayweather; the “Money” man manipulates media, knows just what catnip we feed off of. But we wonder, is his magic losing luster? Is he in danger of repeating himself? A rematch with Manny Pacquiao would draw eyeballs, but there wouldn’t be much novelty to that. And we think Mayweather would have a hard time getting traction on a fight with MMAer Khabib Nurmagomedov, who is a soldier, pure and simple, and isn’t A-grade at building up hype for a fight. No, we think a Mayweather-Khabib fight would be in danger of not recouping outlay for financial backers.
Now, folks are out there aiming arrows at Team Canelo and company. See social media; Mayweather and Oscar De La Hoya are jousting with as much vigor as they did before and during their 2007 promotion.
But that’s chatter, let’s move it back to more concrete matters.
Such as: we assume Canelo doesn’t get beaten in the upset of the year by Rocky Fielding, who has some pop but has had his chin dented and isn’t near as refined as the technically super-sound Mexican. So, if and when Canelo betters the Brit Dec. 15 on DAZN, when would he fight next?
“May,” said Golden Boy executive Eric Gomez, who was in the trenches helping iron out that massive money deal with DAZN and Team GBP/Canelo. “No opponent.”
Makes sense; no need to put the whole cart and horse out front. Boxing and life is too unpredictable. No word on whether Canelo would pop back down to middleweight, or stay at 168 for a spring 2019 gig.
And Gomez sees the bright side of the mountain as he ponders this week, and all the news and hoopla.
“It’s a historic deal,” he said. “Whenever the number one draw in boxing gets a historic contract, it’s a good day for the sport of boxing. More opportunities for other boxers and promoters.”
My three cents: Gomez is typically a sunny-side up sort; he isn’t wrong in taking this stance. But we all know that good news for one isn’t always received the same way by others, rivals or even “friends.” Schadenfreude ain’t a town in Germany. And envy is a powerful and at times corrosive motivator. We will see much more sniping and jostling and posturing in the days, weeks and months to come, as the new boxing reality continues to re-shape and clarify.
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