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Dougie’s Friday mailbag (Eddie Hearn and DAZN, more Pacquiao-Matthysse feedback)

Daniel Roman flanked by Alex Componovo, of Thompson Boxing, and Eddie Hearn. Photo / Stacey Verbeek
20
Jul

THE STRUCTURE OF EDDIE’S DAZN DEAL

Hey Doug,

Haven’t written in for a while but have a few burning questions popping up in my head.

Eddie Hearn 



I like the article by Mike Coppinger on Eddie Hearn’s first signings. It hits the nail on the head. However, I don’t know if it’s because I am also called Eddie, live in London and love UK boxing … but I have a strong feeling Eddie Hearn is going to pull this off over the next 24 months. What is your gut feel on it?

1) I think he is an incredible sales person (for signing fighters) and knows exactly how to build a fight (for getting people to tune in), put on a show and pump up everything he has done (so people look back at most of his events fondly and tune into the next one).

2) To be a ‘success’ he probably doesn’t need to worry about the overall profitability? I think he probably has target viewing figures and a budget, simple as that, he knows exactly how to get people to tune in.

Mythical matchups 

Pac-Man Prime vs. Crawford prime at which ever weight you feel is most evenly matched.

Johnny Nelson 

Ran into him at a party, nice fella. We were talking about Dillian Whyte being 100% real (love Dillian) and AJ being a brand (love him too). Who do you have for the Whyte vs. Parker fight?

Cheers. – Ed, London

Whyte-Parker is a toss-up heavyweight scrap, in my opinion. I really don’t know who to give the edge in that matchup, maybe Whyte, but juuuuuuuust slightly (and he’ll have to put forth the best boxing form of this career).  

Nelson is impressive; a genuine gentleman-scholar. He’s a great interview and I think he’s one of the best boxers-turned-broadcasters out there.  

I think junior welterweight is the best weight for the Pacquiao-Crawford mythical matchup, and man, that’s another toss-up. Pacquiao – especially at 140 pounds – had the kind of speed, footwork, kick (punching power) and ultra-quick reflexes that would have more than troubled Crawford, especially early in the bout. I think the same PacMonster that blasted Ricky Hatton in two rounds would have hurt Bud and maybe put the Nebraskan down in the early going, but I also believe that Crawford would gradually figure out that frenetic style (which included a lot of craft at this particular weight), sort of like a bigger, stronger and more athletic version of Juan Manuel Marquez. I think Crawford would begin to assert himself in the middle rounds, get the better of Pac over the second part of the fight and take over down the stretch to earn a razor-thin, maybe majority or spit decision.

I like the article by Mike Coppinger on Eddie Hearn’s first signings. You Sir are in the minority (among British boxing fans, that is, if the comment section below the article is any indication), but I agree with you. It was a fine column and a balanced view of Hearn’s most recent announcements concerning his big plans for the DAZN platform in the U.S.

However, I don’t know if it’s because I am also called Eddie, live in London and love UK boxing … but I have a strong feeling Eddie Hearn is going to pull this off over the next 24 months. What is your gut feel on it? I think it’s way too early in this venture to know with any certainty if it will work or not. My gut tells me that Hearn’s boxing programming will bring in enough U.S. subscribers to the DAZN to keep the company behind the streaming service involved in boxing (beyond the rumored two-year “try out” period), but I don’t think this new partnership will make a huge impact on the American boxing scene. But that’s just the ole gut talking. Time will tell. 

I think he is an incredible sales person (for signing fighters) and knows exactly how to build a fight (for getting people to tune in), put on a show and pump up everything he has done (so people look back at most of his events fondly and tune into the next one). I agree 100%. I’m looking forward to covering some of this shows.

To be a ‘success’ he probably doesn’t need to worry about the overall profitability? Come on now, Eddie. Yes he does.

I think he probably has target viewing figures and a budget, simple as that, he knows exactly how to get people to tune in. Like I said, time will tell. He’s got to make the right fights for even the hardcore fans to pay attention. I think the Daniel Roman-Gavin McDonell main event he made for his Oct. 20 card in Los Angeles is solid. If he can get add the WBO mandatory Mo Hooker-Alex Saucedo 140-pound title bout to it, I think that’s a quality card worth covering and watching. I there’s a lot of potential for Roman, who signed a five-bout co-promotional deal with Hearn (along with Thompson Boxing). Roman vs. Scott Quigg would be sheer badassery, and if Hearn can help make a Roman-Isaac Dogboe showdown I think that would be one of the most anticipated unification bouts in any weight class. Demetrius Andrade vs. Billy Joe Saunders (another WBO mandatory) or vs. the Jacobs-Derevyanchenko winner, and Jarrell Miller vs. your boy Whyte are other examples of the kind of matchups Hearn is going to have to come up with.

 

MORE MANNY IN ASIA, PLEASE

Nice to see Pacman get the win. He still has skills and his hands are still fast, but he looks like a worn-out fighter. He’s stiff and his balance is off, and those are signs a fighter has seen his better days. The little guy is a legend and really one the of most beloved fighters of all-time, worldwide. Hope they keep him away from the big young welterweights, though. Let him have a few more fights in Asia against guys he can beat. He deserves it and his Asian fans deserve it. Manny did a lot to add legitimacy to Asian fighters not that those of us in the know didn’t already appreciate great Asian fighters. If he fights in one of the legendary arenas in Bangkok, I am buying my plane ticket!!! Go Pacmonster!!!!!! – Eugene

Hey bro, if you get a chance to see Pacquiao fight live, you should do it. He’s living legend, the greatest Asian fighter. It was an honor covering him during his prime. I thought he looked solid-but-unspectacular vs. Lucas Matthysse, the way you’d expect a 39-year-old veteran with 23 years and 69 pro bouts under his belt. It’s amazing that he’s lasted this long – at ANY level, let alone world class.

He still has skills and his hands are still fast, but he looks like a worn-out fighter. I wouldn’t call him “worn-out.” He’s not shot or burnt out. I think “faded” is a better adjective to use with him. But here’s the truth, a faded Pacquiao still beats all but the top four or five welterweights.

He’s stiff and his balance is off, and those are signs a fighter has seen his better days. No doubt about it.

The little guy is a legend and really one the of most beloved fighters of all-time, worldwide. No doubt about that, either.

Hope they keep him away from the big young welterweights, though. Agreed, but that’s where the money is (unless he opts to drop a few pounds and face Vasiliy Lomachenko at a catchweight). Manny is a national icon as well as a senator, but he’s still a prize fighter at heart.

Let him have a few more fights in Asia against guys he can beat. Do you think Adrien Broner would be willing (or able, legally) to travel?

He deserves it and his Asian fans deserve it. Once again, no doubt about it.

 

WAS PAC THAT GOOD OR MATTHYSSE THAT BAD?

I think it was more of the latter. Matthyse looked terrible in the fight BEFORE Pac, before that, he quit against Postol. He quit against Pac. Clearly, he is not a fighter anymore. He was slow and plodding, against the guy BEFORE Pac, against Pac he was stuck in concrete. He never started. I mean, he was trying to BOX with Pac, WTF???? Who in the f__k came up with that gameplan?????? The one thing Pac can still do at this stage would be use his guile, Matthyse is or should I say WAS a puncher, he should have never been THINKING about outboxing Pac. But Matthyse is so slow right now, with no legs or reflexes, he is not a puncher, he does not have the delivery system to throw the KO punch.

Once again, I am even talking about the fight before Pac. He was lucky to finally catch up to that other guy, against Pac, he was never close to the fight. He went down from a bizarre punch, then spit his mouthpiece out at the end, signaling he wanted no mas! His spirit was taken, he was not ktfo. He was tired of getting beaten to the punch and knew he had no way to win and just packed it in.

Thank you. – Jason C. Brown

I agree to an extent, although I am not calling Matthysse a “quitter.” He’s challenged himself way too much for that label to be stuck to him. However, I do believe that he realized that he didn’t have it that night against Pacquiao, and that he was a beaten man. He knew when enough was enough. That’s not a bad thing and I’m not mad at him for that.

Matthyse looked terrible in the fight BEFORE Pac, before that, he quit against Postol. You’re skipping a pretty sharp TKO performance against 140-pound fringe contender Emmanuel Taylor (last May on the Canelo-Chavez undercard), but you’re correct that he looked like an old man as he was struggling to cut the ring off on the unheralded Tewa Kiram earlier this year. Against Postol he was frustrated by the Ukrainian’s boxing style but he went down and remained down from a legitimate (and serious) eye injury.

Clearly, he is not a fighter anymore. The fighters are often the last to know this, or maybe I should say the last to ADMIT this to themselves. But that’s to be expected. If they accepted defeat or reality easily they wouldn’t be fighters.

He was slow and plodding, against the guy BEFORE Pac, against Pac he was stuck in concrete. Well, yeah, Pacquiao, even at 39, is heads and shoulders above Kiram.

He never started. That’s the story of the fight, really. But we should give Pacquiao SOME credit for this.

I mean, he was trying to BOX with Pac, WTF???? Who in the f__k came up with that gameplan?????? I’m pretty sure it was his trainer Joel Diaz (love that guy, though not as much as Steve Kim). I think he’s one of the better coaches in the game, but, yeah, a boxing strategy against Pacquiao does seem kind of silly in retrospect.

The one thing Pac can still do at this stage would be use his guile… Very true.

Matthyse is or should I say WAS a puncher, he should have never been THINKING about outboxing Pac. I agree. He needed to be looking for that one-hitter-quitter by setting a fast pace and FORCING Pacquiao into exchanges. Much easier said than done, my friend.

But Matthyse is so slow right now, with no legs or reflexes, he is not a puncher, he does not have the delivery system to throw the KO punch. Sad but true. I’m gonna miss The Machine.

 

WHY POVETKIN?

Hi Doug,

Look, I’m a Joshua fan and want him to succeed, I want a popular good heavyweight as the head of the sport, but come on, what’s this? How does someone reward a cheat like Povetkin with a fight for the biggest prize in sports?   I can’t believe Hearn and Joshua went ahead with this fight, and this is not direct backlash over the fact they didn’t choose Deontay, I know that fight probably needs a little bit more marinating in the U.S. to make financial sense, or at least maximize the potential, but Povetkin? A known cheat that has not only failed a drug test once, but twice? This is ludicrous, this drives me nuts.

Why does this happen Doug? I understand that they want to make lots of money, but come one, Joshua has been drawing a lot against pretty much anybody they put in front of him, they don’t need Povetkin. Hearn has some explanation to do because it’s on him. Thanks Doug, sorry for the complaint, but I’m pissed. – Juan Valverde, San Diego

I understand, Juan, but please take a deep breath and go to the happy place in your mind. I don’t want you to have a heart attack or stroke over the usual boxing bulls__t. You’re a real fan and not one of the schmucks, boxing can’t afford to lose you.

Alexander Povetkin. Photo courtesy of Sky Sports

But if you’re going to get mad, direct that rage at the sanctioning bodies. Povetkin isn’t Hearn’s first choice of opponent in lieu of the big Wilder showdown. The Russian veteran is dangerous. I’m sure the British promoter would’ve preferred a less risky challenger for his cash cow (especially now that he’s locked into Wembley Stadium for the next two bouts), but Povetkin is both the WBA and the WBO’s No. 1 contender. Povetkin had become the WBA’s mandatory for Joshua, who doesn’t want to be stripped of any of his belts. If Joshua-Wilder couldn’t get made, Joshua-Povetkin had to happen or AJ would lose the WBA strap.

How does someone reward a cheat like Povetkin with a fight for the biggest prize in sports? Povetkin’s backers fought the system tooth and nail the first time he popped positive for a substance that had only recently been banned, and then they appealed the WBC’s indefinitely ban after the second positive test, which included a $250,000 fine, and the sanctioning organization cut their ban to one year (with time served). Bottom line: the WBC and the other sanctioning bodies want to be in the Povetkin business because his promoter has very deep pockets and is willing to put his star in all the regional title bouts and title-elimination fights necessary to earn the veteran mandatory challenger status. Beyond the business aspect of Povetkin’s positioning, there’s the fact that he’s 8-0 since losing to Wladimir Klitschko in 2013, and he’s had some solid victories.

A known cheat that has not only failed a drug test once, but twice? He ain’t the only one among heavyweight standouts. Luis Ortiz is also a “double winner,” and I have no doubt that the Cuban contender will get another shot at the heavyweight crown before the end of 2019.

This is ludicrous, this drives me nuts. Sorry to hear that. All you can really do is boycott the fight.

Why does this happen Doug? My guess is that if the sanctioning bodies and boxing commissions took a hardline and permanently banned fighters that tested positive for PEDs the sport would lose its glamor divisions. Consider this: HALF of heavyweights in The Ring’s top 10 have tested positive for a banned substance at some point during their pro careers. You already know about Povetkin (No. 3), Ortiz (No. 5) and Tyson Fury (No. 10), but were you aware that Dillian Whyte (No. 6) served a two-year ban from the sport for a positive test early in his career (starting in late 2012)? Did you know that Jarrell Miller (No. 8) served a nine-month suspension by the California commission for testing positive in conjunction with a kickboxing competitions (in 2014, after he’s also begun his pro boxing career)? And, as far as I know, Big Baby is not enrolled in the WBC/VADA Clean Boxing Program (which is probably why he isn’t rated by the WBC – he’s No. 3 in the other three sanctioning organizations).

 

GREAT REMATCHES THAT NEVER HAPPENED

Sugar Ray Leonard-Wilfredo Benitez. SRL won their tiff on a close decision thanks to a nasty cut WB received from an accidental head butt. l loved both boxers but them not facing each other again irks. Love your insights. Paul Panza. – Portland, OR

Leonard (right) cracks Benitez. Photo: THE RING Archive

I never thought about that potential hall-of-fame rematch. Thanks for brining it up. I think the main reason it didn’t happen was that Benitez immediately moved up to junior middleweight after losing to Leonard, who had plenty of high-profile (and very worthy) dance partners at 147 pounds. By the time Benitez won the WBC 154-pound title (with that brilliant one-hitter-quitter in the 12th round against the very capable Maurice Hope in May 1981), Leonard had already faced Roberto Duran their back-to-back classics and was in the build-up to his signature showdown with Thomas Hearns.

However, part of the build-up to the Hitman was a WBA 154-pound title victory over the underrated Ayub Kalule in June 1981. So, Benitez and Leonard won junior middleweight belts in back-to-back months in the same year. The thought of a 154-pound unification bout is tantalizing.

And as much as I love Sugar Ray, I think Benitez was little bit better at junior middleweight. I can envision the Puerto Rican star earning a close revenge decision over his American nemesis at 154 pounds if that bout took place in 1981 or in ‘82.

 

RJJ VS TWO ATGS

Hi Dougie, enjoy the mailbag as always. This and Stephen Edwards’ ‘breadbag’ give me all I really need when it comes to my boxing fix. I haven’t had much time to read and comment on the mag recently but I always make a point to catch the mailbags.

For no particular reason, I was thinking about RJJ and where his incredible athletic ability could have taken him had he found opponents that pushed him to his limits. It’s a damn shame he never really found a nemesis. He could have had one in Toney if the two had fought at SMW or LH. Imagine that trilogy – one at MW (which we know how that turned out), one at SMW, one at LH. How do you think that would have played out?

I suppose he found one in Tarver, but maybe just at the wrong time, when his ‘weight game’ backfired.

Anyway, this got me to thinking: Who does RJJ do better against? SRL at MW or Ali at 200lbs?

How would RJJ’s skills stack up at these weights against those legends?

I’d love to hear your thoughts.

On to more contemporary events… Pacquaio: I don’t know how much to take from his victory as ‘The Machine’ seems broken down to me. BUT Pac did look fitter and more determined than he has looked in some time. A change is as good as a holiday, as they say and sometimes long-standing relationships can become a burden. Freeing himself from the US, from Roach, from Arum to some degree may be rejuvenating for him even more so than salt water.

Is it possible that at this age he can actually ADD to his legacy? I apologise for using the ‘L word’, but you know what I mean. If Pacquaio beat Broner and Khan now, given his age, in my mind that takes him into a boxing nirvana. Not that Broner and Khan are great… but it would be some achievement for a former flyweight – at 39! That would be one of the best late-career resurgences I can think of. Can you think of any better?

I still consider Pac a top 5-7 WW even though he is on the slide. But if he got ambitious and took on Thurman in Thurman’s second fight back from injury lay off… how do you rank Pac’s chances? I think he would stand a decent shot at taking a decision. Even now his output would be greater and he put in some lovely body shots on Matthysse – something Thurman does not like at all. 60-40 in Thurman’s favour probably but Pac will always be dangerous as a crafty left-hander.

That’s all, man. Nothing pressing. But if you get a chance to run through these points, I’d love to hear your thoughts. – Giuseppe

Thanks for sharing your thoughts, Giuseppe.

I agree that Pacquiao is a top 5-to-7 welterweight despite his age and boxer mileage. I wouldn’t count Pac out against Thurman if he got the unbeaten American after his tune-up bout (whenever that happens), but I would still favor Keith by close decision in that matchup. I know Thurman’s punch output is low and he appears susceptible to body shots but it would be difficult for Pac to get off against Floridian the way he did against Matthysse. Thurman’s lateral movement (and ability to punch on the fly) would trouble the future hall of famer.

I don’t know how much to take from his victory as ‘The Machine’ seems broken down to me. Matthysse was a lower top-10 welterweight going into the Pacquiao fight. Despite stopping Tewa Kiram (and winning a secondary belt), The Ring’s Ratings Panel suggested DROPPING Matthysse in the welterweight rankings based on his performance (and we did). Pac deserves credit for the win, but we should keep in mind where the Argentine was rated before the fight.

Freeing himself from the US, from Roach, from Arum to some degree may be rejuvenating for him even more so than salt water. It appears so. I think he likes being his own boss and the potential his promotional company has in parts of Asia.

Is it possible that at this age he can actually ADD to his legacy? Of course, it is

I apologise for using the ‘L word’, but you know what I mean. If Pacquaio beat Broner and Khan now, given his age, in my mind that takes him into a boxing nirvana. Not that Broner and Khan are great… but it would be some achievement for a former flyweight – at 39! Those are certainly winnable high-profile fights (although I’d probably favor Khan to outpoint him).

That would be one of the best late-career resurgences I can think of. Can you think of any better? James Toney’s back-to-back victories over Vassiliy Jirov (for the IBF cruiserweight title) and Evander Holyfield to earn The Ring’s 2003 Fighter of the Year award (12 years after winning that honor for the first time as a middleweight) comes to mind. Bernard Hopkins had too many to mention (Tarver and Wright after the controversial losses to Taylor, Pavlik after the close split loss to Calzaghe, the record-breaking win against Pascal after the disputed draw, unifying 175-pound belts after losing to Dawson).

For no particular reason, I was thinking about RJJ and where his incredible athletic ability could have taken him had he found opponents that pushed him to his limits. Jones was indeed a phenomenon but he could have looked a little harder for challenges than he did in my opinion.

It’s a damn shame he never really found a nemesis. He had a few U.S. amateur rivals that he could faced in the pro ranks, including Gerald McClellan and Frankie Liles.  

Jones (right) tags James Toney in their 1994 superfight. Photo by THE RING Archive

He could have had one in Toney if the two had fought at SMW or LH. They did fight at super middleweight. Jones took a weigh-drained Toney to school in ’94.

Imagine that trilogy – one at MW (which we know how that turned out), one at SMW, one at LH. How do you think that would have played out? Jones never fought Toney at 160 pounds. Maybe you’re thinking of B-Hop. I think RJJ beats Toney at 168 and at 175 (a weight that never seemed to suite ole Lights Out).

I suppose he found one in Tarver, but maybe just at the wrong time, when his ‘weight game’ backfired. It was late in his career, but Tarver was no Spring Chicken, either.

Anyway, this got me to thinking: Who does RJJ do better against? SRL at MW or Ali at 200lbs? He definitely does better against Leonard, against whom he had the size and strength/power advantage and maybe even an edge in speed and reflexes.

How would RJJ’s skills stack up at these weights against those legends? Very well. Jones was a master at controlling pace and distance. However, Leonard had a much better boxing foundation/fundamentals and Ali’s reach, speed, reflexes, power and iron chin would have been too much for Roy to overcome.

 

 

Email Fischer at [email protected]. Follow him on Twitter at @dougiefischer

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