Eddie Hearn’s recent deal with Canelo Alvarez and Eddie Reynoso to host a series of fights in Mexico on DAZN seems like another step in the Matchroom Chairman’s world expansion. Could this link up be a sign of things to come for a sport that’s becoming increasingly fighter led?
Some of the traditional features of boxing programming have disappeared in recent times. HBO called time twice on their legendary broadcasts, Matchroom declined to extend their UK deal with Sky, and the once thriving Showtime platform isn’t quite as it used to be. As these old fixtures fall away, a new dawn appears to be breaking in the sport.
The likes of Ryan Garcia, Devin Haney and Gervonta ‘Tank’ Davis represent a new age of young boxers, whose appeal to the younger generations and influence on social media – as well as their ability in the ring – have propelled them to stardom. Coupled with this is the trend of exhibitions between boxing legends, the rise of Triller and expansion of DAZN, and the noise continuing to be made by Jake Paul.
Whether you’re a fan of this new age or not, you can’t deny that the landscape is changing, and the move from Hearn, DAZN, Matchroom and Canelo paints a future where broadcasters and promoters are willing to shift their approach to suit the fighters.
Could this be the start of a new model where stars of the sport use their influence to choose who they work with, where they fight, and where they can be watched? Will Anthony Joshua find himself in a similar position to Canelo in the coming months, with one fight left of his deal with Sky Sports?
Canelo is, of course, a special talent, with the backing of an entire nation and was able to use his drawing power to avoid a long-term promotional deal and operate on a fight-by-fight basis as of late. We’ve also seen more of his personality come out, as he continues to give interviews in English and lash out at the likes of Oscar De La Hoya and Demetrius Andrade. It’s clear that not all boxers will find themselves with the same kind of bargaining power, but those who do could see this as a profitable model to pursue.
Whatever may happen, it’s clear that the sport is changing and now, more than ever, it pays to be the star in the ring rather than the executive in the office.