An easy place to catch all of our coverage from the WBSS pressers.
An easy place to catch all of our coverage from the WBSS pressers.
An easy place to catch all of our coverage from the WBSS pressers.
In boxing We hear the term “levels” chucked around by fans on a weekly basis, but what does it actually mean?
Well, it is quite simple really. It’s a way of looking at talent in context, a bit like how football separates the best teams by divisions. Where boxing is different from football is that when we see a top prospects it’s not always practicle to promote them up through the aforementioned levels (or leagues if you prefer) gradually.
Although this is something we as fans like to see it does leave so much room for presumption that certain skills are already possessed by a prospect, and as an intelligent woman once said
“Evolution has long been the target of illogical arguments that use presumption”
On Saturday night we seen Hughie Fury learn the hard way that sometimes a presumption of talent can damage and ultimately derail a prospects career.
Praise was heaped on Hughie Fury when he took the fight that Dillion Whyte didn’t want when he signed to fight Kubrat Pulev in the veteran fighters homecoming in Bulgaria. Hughie, the younger cousin of former Unified Heavyweight World Champion Tyson Fury, seemed ready to be fast tracked through the sport. On Saturday night we learned that it is individuals that are special, not their DNA .
It was clear from early on that Hughie Fury just didn’t have the experience, the skill set or even the heart to beat an awkward but ordinary opponent in Pulev. From early on it was clear that although Hughie Fury was the far bigger man in the ring he was being bullied by the vastly more experienced Pulev. Fury picked up a cut in the second round, something every boxer will go through in their career but this seemed to throw Fury’s concentration and a couple rounds later you could see the confidence and heart start seep out of a ever more defeated Fury. The longer the fight went on the more ordinary Pulev looked with his storm in style, but the more Fury looked like a fish out of water. Kubrat Pulev would have been coming into the ring on Saturday expecting a tough fight, what he got was an easy road to Anthony Joshua.
Now i am not trying to be nasty about Hughie Fury after all he is still a relatively young man but this was his second time being fast tracked up to world level ,the first being a close fight with Joseph Parker in which Fury also failed. In both fights i have seen nothing that would suggest that Hughie Fury should be fast tracked through the levels for a third time. On Saturday, I seen a young fighter try to implement his usual style and it didn’t work he couldn’t change as he had nothing else in his armoury to call on. For me Fury has used the Surname for all it is worth to get a world title fight, and more recently a shot at a final eliminator, now he must step back down the levels. He has to go and learn his trade and see where his talent will get him, not his name . If he does that and gets back to world level he will find himself a lot more equipped to deal with what’s in front of him .
There are not a lot of constants in boxing, it is a sport where things inside and outside the ring are constantly evolving but the one thing the sport will always retain is its power to shock. Today we woke up to the news that boxing’s biggest superstar had signed a five year deal with newly launched (in the US) streaming app DAZN, a deal worth $365m. DAZN may be the new boys in the US market but they are cash rich and look to be throwing everything at cracking the market to becoming one of the world’s biggest online sport’s platforms.
For years Canelo Alvarez has been the face of HBO boxing, the pinnacle of boxing in terms of super fights. A platform steeped in boxing history. A few weeks ago HBO announced it was pulling out of boxing leaving the superstar without a home. Although DAZN are cash rich this deal came as a shock to most as DAZN already have a $1B eight year deal in place with Eddie Hearn’s Matchroom and Golden Boy promotions who look after Canelo Alvarez have stated publicly “We are not interested in Co-Promoting Canelo”. As more details have emerged about this deal it has became clear that this deal is between Golden Boy and DAZN, separate from the Matchroom USA deal. This looks like a moment of genius from John Skipper, the Executive Chairman of Performance Group, the owners of DAZN. Skipper looks to have rekindled and relationship with Oscar De La Hoya after both knew each other from their time working together for ESPN, not just bringing in Canelo but also securing a home for Golden Boy and their stable.
So what does this mean for Eddie Hearn and Matchroom USA ?
Well as it stand it is impossible for us to tell for sure. It was reported that on DAZN Apps launch night which featured AJ vs Povetkin fight, that subscription numbers were particularly poor, in the low tens of thousands if some reports are to be believed . This could mean one of two things for Hearn in my opinion. When DAZN announced their $1B deal with Eddie Hearn it was clear from early on that Eddie had targets to hit. Any fighters signed to the new deal was only offered a short term bumper deals, which most declined and any decent names were co-promotion deals. With HBO pulling the plug on boxing this could be a sign that DAZN may have decided to go another way, i mean its not everyday that the biggest star in boxing becomes a free agent. I’m not saying DAZN will ditch Matchroom USA completely, i am saying that DAZN are looking to build a platform on the back of Canelo and not Matchroom, maybe in the next quarter Matchroom USA will find their budget for putting on shows dramatically cut as DAZN have already secured the rights to stream Anthony Joshua fights from the UK along with Canelo’s fights, It doesn’t get much bigger than that.
We could also look at this another way. Eddie Hearn has worked with performance group now for over five years, together they have signed some massive deals outside of the US market so we know that there is a good working relationship between both parties. This may well be DAZN telling Eddie Hearn that they know they had given him a near impossible task to crack the US and this is their way of pushing things along. There can be no doubt that this deal puts matchroom USA in a significantly stronger position as subscribers will buy into DAZN in massive numbers to see Canelo, but these people will still be viewing the platforms other shows putting Hearn in a great position to build his own star.
One thing is for sure, this deal isn’t bad for boxing. The way in which boxing is evolving on the business side of things i think it actually makes sense for a platform NOT to be exclusive to one promoter. Any sort of negotiations between Matchroom and Golden Boy just became a hell of a lot easier.
Glasgow , 15th October
This tournament has been described as the Champions League of boxing in the past and when you walk into the press conference you certainly get that feel . Representation from all the major media outlets were in attendance from BBC to ITV (STV) , then you have your big players in the boxing media like Ring Mag and IFL in attendance , but something the WBSS has got right when it comes to the media is that it’s not ” Job’s for the Boys” which is usually the case with these big showpiece events . The World Boxing Super Series have on more than one occasion now made space for small independent outlets like myself which is a breath of fresh air .
Nisse Sauerland got thing’s underway in the presser outlining exactly just what this tournament is trying to do ….build stars . Nisse also emphasised that this tournament is aimed at a global audience so although they faced criticism for Season 1 final being in Saudi Arabia they won’t change . Josh Taylor looked in fantastic shape and we found out why . Taylor now has a permanent training base in London which means he isn’t spending the full camps . Taylor said he ready fight now, a couple of weeks out from fight night and predicts still with some hard training to come in the next two weeks he will be in the best shape of his career .
After the initial press conference we had time to catch up with Josh and Nisse
Every sport need’s one vital ingredient to thrive and that is competition . In boxing there is nothing that comes close to watching two evenly matched fighters battle it out to see who can find that extra something within themselves to get the victory . With competition comes rivalries and it is the rivalries that help elevate sport to a global audience . Where boxing is now tripping itself up is now we have promoters following the above blueprint of competition and it is damaging the sport .
Don King is probably the most famous or infamous promoter of all time bringing us some of the most timeless fights of all time , but Don King was a big Lion in a small jungle . King didn’t need to worry about multiple platforms and online streaming platforms as competition all aligned with different promoters all cash rich from big TV deals . Don King could make the biggest fights in boxing because he could make the fighters the most money , a very simple but effective model which no longer works in today’s game .
In the past couple of years we have seen boxing explode across multiple platforms in the UK and the US with more TV dates to fill than the sport has ever seen . Now some people may think this is a good thing for boxing , after all competition is good right ? Well not necessarily in this instance . One major flaw is that we will now see boxers put on TV before they are ready due to the amount date that need to be filled , which will be detrimental to their development . All boxing fans know how important the small hall scene is to the progression of a boxer . To use an old apprenticeship term “It’s where you serve your time” and like an apprentice you will go to work for a low wage in exchange for an education in your trade . How many young fighter’s will suffer at the hands of promoters only interested in filing TV slots . It is a very real possibility that the standards of boxing show’s will drop dramatically which will damage the sport .
There is another flaw in these massive multi platform deals is that crossover fights will be pretty non-existent . The same reason that see Super fights happen few and far between we will now see fringe world level to mid-level boxers stopped from crossing over . TV dates will trump a fighter progression . What we see is certain promoters trying to corner certain division and keep everything in house which is not healthy . With fighters not being allowed to the cross a divide it will inevitably lead to more one sided fights .
Right now there probably isn’t a better time for a boxer to be a free agent .
Brook has been told he must return to 147lbs , which he said he WILL do . Funny because he wanted Khan to move up .
When you think of Oklahoma you think of a musical , or if you are a keen American historian you may know Oklahoma is the place where the native Americans where sent after being evicted from there home lands back in the 19th century , but in amongst all that Oklahoma has a proud boxing history . It was a misdemeanour to take part in prize fighting until the 1970s , an unpopular law , so the good people of Oklahoma simply ignored it . the very first Championship boxing bout took place in the city when Denmark’s Battling Dane defended his world title . Officially the next boxing bout that took place in the city was in the 1970’s but it is known that the most important Heavyweight Champion ever Jack Johnson fought in Oklahoma , the very first ever black heavyweight world champion , so has Sugar Ray Robinson and George Forman . But Oklahoma like many cities has struggled to become a relevant boxing city as it didn’t have a Boxing Commission until 1999 .
After years of struggling to find professional boxers for the city to get behind it now looks like they finally have a young talent to throw there support towards . Alex Saucedo (24) has already been compared to the legendary Arturo Gatti , a comparison that the boxing world does not throw around lightly , but if anybody happened to catch Alex Saucido’s last fight against Lenny Zappavigna you can see why he is well on his way to earning the comparisons , and the Oklahoma crowd love it .
I asked Alex what it was like to win such a dramatic fight against Lenny Z .
” This was a very tough fight because both of us wanted to win because we knew the winner would go and fight Maurice Hooker for the WBO World Title . Both of us didn’t want to go down so it became a war . Im just happy that the fans enjoyed the fight and i came through it and thats all that really matters . ”
At just 24 Alex is still learning the finer points of boxing but that night in the sooner state he proved he had the heart of a lion which means he is half way there to becoming a champion . I asked Alex if he had watched the fight back and what had he learned from that night that will push him on to the next level .
” Watching it back he caught me with a good shot in the fourth but i stuck in there and that definitely gave me vital championship experience for the next upcoming fight against Hooker . Me and my trainer (Abel Sanchez) sat down and we watched the fight back together . We were able to see what i did wrong but we also seen a lot of what i did right . Right after Canelo vs GGG fight he will be waiting for me up at Big Bear . I am already training here in Oklahoma City so when i get up there we can work on the finer things and we will be training really hard for this next fight . ”
When I was watching Saucedo/Zappavigna fight on TV it was astonishing the noise coming from the Oklahoma crowd , something that you don’t really hear from an American live audience. There was a point in that fight where Saucedo looked to be on the brink of going down as he was hurt badly by Zappavigna and the 24 year old has no doubts about what kept him going.
” In that fourth round i just knew i couldn’t go down in front of my people . That is why I do all this training, to prepare for situations like that but the support of the crowd pushes you up and I loved that, I loved that all those people came out to support me and I appreciate everyone of them ”
Next up for “El Cholo” is WBO World Champion Maurice Hooker who is coming off a fantastic win against Terry Flannigan. It was widely expected that this fight would be shown on Eddie Hearn’s new online platform/partner DAZN but after Hooker/Saucido went to purse bids it was Top Rank who coughed up the money for there man with a whopping $1.6m. I asked Alex what it was like to be backed by your promotion team with such a big bid to secure the fight for him in front of his home fans in Oklahoma .
” Hooker is a very good fighter , he may even be the best fighter I have ever faced and thats why he is the world champion . It’s great that Top Rank and ESPN have shown this faith in me and it means a lot. I told them to get ready because i am going to give them some great fights .
Sometime when you interview a fighter you get the feeling it is just a job to them but with Alex Saucedo you can tell that this lad wants to go to the top. When talking about a very hard fight he had recently Alex was the one who brought up all the things he done wrong in that fantastic victory. His fight with Hooker will take place on 16th November in Oklahoma. Here in the UK it will be shown live on Boxnation , and trust me you will not want to miss this fight .
This Interview was took from our podcast ” Beat To The Punch” check it out on radio blog
Or here on youtube