Changes in the Air For Big Boxing Events

The big news in the world of Boxing is that Canelo Alvarez, arguably the biggest name in the sport, has been able to divorce himself from his promoters and their contracted streaming service DAZN, and is now free to pursue whatever promoter and deal he wants.

To understand the ramifications of this, it's important to understand how boxing promotions work at the highest level. Almost all big fighters, those with major world title belts, belong to the "stable" of one of four big promoters:

* There's Top Rank, run by loudmouth egomaniac Bob Arum.
* There's Matchroom, run by loudmouth egomaniac Eddie Hearn.
* There's Golden Boy, run by slightly-quieter egomaniac Oscar De La Hoya.
* There's Premier Boxing Champions (PBC), run by the intensely private and enigmatic Al Haymon.

Each of these promotions are infused with the cash of a broadcasting partner or partners. As such, all big Top Rank fights are on ESPN platforms, all big Matchroom and Golden Boy fights are on DAZN, and PBC splits their fights between Showtime and Fox platforms.

You may already see a disparity here. Showtime, FOX, and ESPN are all established networks. DAZN is an upstart, and one that just lost its biggest boxer.

That puts Matchroom and Golden Boy at a competitive disadvantage, but more so Golden Boy. Even without DAZN, Matchroom has big UK contracts, and while Matchroom USA is a thing, they are first and foremost a British outfit.

Golden Boy does not have much to fall back on, but that's just the beginning of their problems.

Chief among them, to my view, is that Oscar De La Hoya is trying to gear up for a comeback. He says he wants to fight top flight opponents, not testimonial-match chumps. He wants to be the non-heavyweight version of George Foreman, winning title belts in his mid-to-late 40s.

Can he do it? I don't know. I'm not sure I care. But I know his promotional business is bleeding heavily; I'm not sure even championship belts are going to close the cut that Canelo left behind.

How can Golden Boy hang on to their other stars like Ryan Garcia and Vergil Ortiz, when Canelo has not only left the stable, but did so amid rumors of clashing with De La Hoya personally and getting his pay cut?

Indeed, I'm not sure that DAZN or Golden Boy had the capital to pay Canelo what his contract called for if he didn't walk away. It took Golden Boy far, far longer to finally put on a post-Covid card on October 30th, many months after PBC, Matchroom, and (especially) Top Rank brought boxing back after the first Covid outbreak.

This suggest managements issues, and when the main guy is focused on reclaiming his in-ring glory, why wouldn't there wouldn't be a management vacuum? And what will compel guys like Garcia and Ortiz to stay?

My guess is, in the long run, nothing. My prediction is that Golden Boy is not long for this world, and DAZN is already whispering about diversifying their strategy (more non-boxing events, more focus on non-U.S. markets) and that the big four promoters are about to become the big three.

Or, will someone rise up in the promoter game to take De La Hoya's place? I don't know. If so, I hope it's not a loudmouth egomaniac.

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