LAST week I lamented in this column about how we boxing fans have very little to look forward to in the upcoming schedule. Thankfully, that’s already changed. Gervonta Davis and Ryan Garcia both took to social media to announce that everything is agreed for the pair to face each other next year.
No official date or venue was confirmed, although it was revealed that both would take part in separate tune-up bouts in January. What’s interesting about the announcement is how those involved seemed to defer to the huge followings Garcia and Davis both have on social media – theirs were the accounts that shared the news first.
According to reports – and tweets from execs at both companies – DAZN and Showtime collaborated on the deal for what looks to be a shared PPV. It’s always a cause for celebration when direct competitors, particularly broadcasters, can work together to create big fights.
It also looks as though we are edging closer to another excellent lightweight clash: Devin Haney against Vasily Lomachenko. Top Rank boss Bob Arum told BoxingScene that both sides are on board and talks are progressing well. He also spoke about how he hopes to air the fight on ESPN, rather than PPV.
“My hope is to do as few fights on pay-per-view as possible,” he said.
“I really believe that putting these fights on pay-per-view is not a wise thing to do. Now, other people might find difficulty in this. It’s not a wise thing to do because people aren’t buying the pay-per-views. And it costs a lot of money to do it. Even if the fighters don’t take guarantees, they hate you afterwards because they haven’t made money.”
He cited piracy and the fact that fewer people are inviting groups of friends over to watch PPVs together as the main reasons behind the decline in viewing figures for these shows. He’s referring to the US market where the price of a single PPV sits around the $80 mark.
It’s encouraging to hear such a powerful figure in the sport speak out against the constant rise in the number of PPV events staged each year, and how he hopes to present big fights to as wide an audience as possible.
Of course, we have heard all this before from various different people within boxing. There is, obviously, a place for PPV events within boxing, but there needs to be some control over just how many shows are placed behind such a paywall each year.
All that being said, it was wonderful to see that Artur Beterbiev will defend his light-heavyweight title against Anthony Yarde in London next year, with BT Sport opting not to have the fight on its PPV channel. That is to be both admired and commended.
In this current boxing climate it wouldn’t have been out of place for this fight to go on PPV – in fact many even expected it to. It does feel a little strange to be praising a major sports broadcaster for basically doing the bare minimum and not charging us extra for a fight that doesn’t warrant it, but here we are.
Unfortunately it was another disappointing weekend of action from DAZN. There was yet another YouTuber boxing card on the streaming service, which featured some offensively bad attempts at boxing (clips of which went viral) as well as Hasim Rahman Jnr getting stopped in the main event by a mixed-martial artist who weighed in 94lbs heavier than him.
However, it was the main event on a different DAZN card that drew the most criticism. Jaime Munguia pummeled the grossly overmatched Gonzalo Coria within three rounds, then called out Gennadiy Golovkin.
The whole thing was a colossal waste of time. Who at DAZN signed off on this as a main event? DAZN’s schedule has come under fire recently and some of the criticism has been a little exaggerated – DAZN have aired some really good cards and have some interesting ones in the pipeline, but Munguia-Coria is indefensible.
There is no way this fight should have been headlining a card on a major broadcaster. Golden Boy promoters have questions to answer, too. Further still, Munguia has been coasting in his career for a while now, despite being an exciting talent who continues to improve. Fights like this are a disservice to him and the fans.
Terence Crawford sat down with Max Kellerman for the “Max On Boxing” show on ESPN to discuss his career and his “legacy” within the sport. The 35-year-old claimed that not fighting welterweight rival Errol Spence Jnr before he retires will not damage his legacy.
That’s doubtful at best. Crawford is a phenomenal talent and has achieved great things in boxing, but his career lacks a truly defining win. While he has previously conquered other divisions, he cannot make a claim to be the best 147lber on the planet until he fights Spence.
Crawford didn’t try to downplay the significance of a fight with Spence, but he did cite other big fights that never happened. Kellerman smartly countered that those Crawford mentioned, including Sugar Ray Leonard, took part in other massive fights besides the ones that fell through.
What was also worrying about Crawford’s comments was how final they seemed. He sounded like a man who has accepted that he will never fight Spence, which would be a real shame for the sport and also speaks to how ineffective the systems in place within boxing truly are when it comes to facilitating the biggest contests.
Boxing on the Box
Harlem Eubank-Tom Farrell
Coverage begins at 9pm
Dillian Whyte-Jermaine Franklin
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Zach Parker-John Ryder
BT Sport 1
Coverage begins at 7pm
Regis Prograis-Jose Zepeda
Coverage begins at 2am
Mikail Lawal-David Jamieson
Sky Sports Arena
Coverage begins at 3pm