TJ Pillashaw— Gervonta Davis (@Gervontaa) March 20, 2019
DAZN Doubles Prices, Introduces $100/Year Option
DAZN, the boxing-centric streaming service that has been throwing insane amounts of money at fighters, including a record $365 million for Canelo Alvarez’s fights, increased its monthly cost from $9.99 to $19.99 this week, while introducing a new yearly rate of $99.99. The move was an apparent response to ESPN+ acquiring all the UFC’s PPV events, and an effort to coax people into paying for the year rather than signing up for the month with the biggest fight, then abandoning the service until the next huge matchup.
Of the “networks” DAZN is a huge player, maybe the biggest player, in boxing at the moment. However, what DAZN is trying to do is completely unprecedented, and could easily become one of the biggest failures in sports history.
DAZN is spending ridiculous money to acquire the biggest names in boxing and to air all of their fights, thereby eliminating PPV revenue. Essentially, they are using the Netflix model of business, where you spend huge amounts of money on content, assuming you will become profitable later, once you’ve established yourself as a must-own service.
The question is, are there actually enough boxing fans for this to work? People will pay for Showtime (as they did in the past for HBO) for their shows and movies, only to discover a boxer they are a fan of. The same can be said of ESPN+; fans will buy the service for their basketball or football content, and maybe stumble upon a UFC fighter they really like and want to watch fight. That’s not how it will work for DAZN; with very little non-combat sport related content, they are banking on there being enough boxing fans to carry their streaming platform.
The fascinating thing about the Netflix business model is that despite the Oscar nominations and the ubiquity of the streaming platform in American households, Netflix is almost 12 billion dollars in debt. While they are under fire from other streaming platforms, nobody is writing articles every day that movies or TV shows ”are dead” the way they are with boxing. Their future -- which is still uncertain -- is far from as murky as DAZN’s.
DAZN’s doubling of its price this week felt a whole lot like when Movie Pass started raising their prices in desperation, when it was clear their “disruptive” business model wasn’t working.
Oleksandr Usyk to Fight Carlos Takam in Chicago May 18
Speaking of DAZN, on the same night that Deontay Wilder will fight Dominic Breazale on Showtime, Oleksandr Usyk will make his heavyweight debut on the streaming platform. Usyk will not be fighting Alexander Povetkin, as was originally planned, but will be facing Carlos Takam instead. Takam is a decent fighter, but he’s not as good as Povetkin and, like Povetkin, at barely over six feet tall he’s not going to give us any indication how Usyk would handle the 6-foot-5-plus giants of the heavyweight division like Wilder, Joshua and Fury.
Lucian Bute Announces Retirement
Lucian Bute, the former IBF super middleweight champion from Romania who relocated to Montreal, officially retired this week. The move was not a surprise as Bute hadn’t fought since a 2017 TKO loss to Eleider “Storm” Alvarez, is now 39 years old, and was on a three-fight losing streak.
Jermell Charlo Acquitted of Domestic Violence Charges
After three hours, a jury found Jermell Charlo “not guilty” of allegedly choking and pulling the hair of his then girlfriend Jazmyne Olison. Charlo had two fights while under investigation, including a shocking and controversial decision loss to Tony Harrison in December. Supposedly, Charlo was offered a plea deal that would have made this go away much quicker but wouldn’t accept it because he didn’t want people to think he actually did what he was accused of. Charles still faces a civil charge from Olison.
Jarrett Hurd to Face Julian ‘J Rock’ Williams in Fairfax, Virginia
Jarrett Hurd will be defending his IBF, IBO and WBA 154 pound titles in Fairfax Virginia against Julian “J Rock” Williams. Hurd is from the Washington D.C. area, so this will be a homecoming fight for him, while for Williams this will be his first title shot since he was knocked out by Jermall Charlo in 2016. Williams is on a four-fight win streak since the loss to Charlo, while Hurd is undefeated at 23-0.
Adrien Broner, Tony Bellew Embarrass Themselves on Social Media
Adrien Broner represented himself well as always this week, posting a profanity- and homophobic expletive-laced rant where he said that he would be shooting any male fan that came up to him and tried to touch him.
The rant was apparently in response to a feud with social media star Andrew Caldwell, who Broner claims was contacting him looking to hook up, while Caldwell claims Broner was the one hitting on him. As a result of the threatening video, Broner was given a restraining order to stay at least 500 feet away from Caldwell. Broner’s homophobia was especially weird given his humping, and getting humped by Marcos Maidana in their fight, a note that boxing twitter was quick to point out. Maidana was spotted in the gym working out this week, looking far leaner than we have seen him before in his potential comeback bid. Supposedly, he entered the gym at 215, now weighs 190, and wants to fight at 153 before he tries to once again make welterweight.
Tony Bellew also found himself in hot water this week due to social media comments. After 26-year-old “Love Island” star Mike Thalassitis committed suicide, Bellew tweeted “heard today that celebrities coming off these shows are getting stressed out cos they aren’t getting enough money so it’s causing them to be depressed! WTF is going on? We’ve got SOLDIERS coming back from WAR for THIS COUNTRY suffering from PTSD living on the streets. Get a GRIP!”
People immediately reacted to the idea that a depressed, suicidal person should “get a grip” and criticized Bellew, who claimed he had been hacked the next day, which very few people bought.
On the other end of the spectrum, Gervonta Davis won social media this week with a great tweet at a frequent social media sparring partner. After T.J. Dillashaw relinquished his title when USADA found an “adverse finding” in his drug test, Davis, who has teased a fight with Dillashaw in the UFC and was involved in a twitter back and forth as a result of the public challenge, tweeted simply “TJ Pillashaw.”
Pacquiao-Spence Reportedly Not Next Fight for Either Man
Despite Errol Spence and Manny Pacquiao meeting in the ring and seemingly agreeing to fight last weekend, it looks like that bout isn’t going to happen next. Instead, Manny will reportedly be facing either Danny Garcia or Keith Thurman, while Spence will likely be facing Shawn Porter. There’s nothing wrong with any of those fights and given how fan’s reactions to the idea of Pacquiao-Spence was in large part fear for the safety of the Filipino legend, it wouldn’t be a bad thing for Manny to prove he can still beat a top-10 welterweight.