Alleged DAZN Bias Front Page News after Canelo Decision Victory
By: Jesse Donathan
The lead up to Saturday nights highly anticipated clash between Mexican middleweight superstar Canelo Alvarez and Daniel Jacobs brought out a range of emotions and fears among fight fans and pundit alike. Straight out of the mandatory Boxing 101 course, BoxingInsider.com’s Sean Crose wrote in his May 03, 2019 article titled, “Judging Concerns Hang Over Canelo-Jacobs Fight Week,” that, “There is no doubt that Saul “Canelo” Alvarez is the biggest star in boxing.” But, as Crose points out, “Canelo’s popularity among Las Vegas judges, however, has caused many to raise eyebrows.” The question of whether Daniel Jacobs, a cancer survivor and natural fan favorite, could get a fair shake loomed like a dark cloud in the week leading up to Saturday nights showdown between the two boxing rivals.
While most fans seem content with Canelo’s Saturday night decision victory, UFC Heavyweight Champion Daniel Cormier was left wondering which fight the DAZN fight analysts were watching. “Brian Kenny and Sergio Mora really suck! Canelo won but Danny fought a good fight man wtf they ruined the fight,” wrote Cormier in his Saturday night Twitter post.
The former WBC Super Welterweight Champion and DAZN analyst Mora caught wind of the Cormier tweet and replied, “Sorry you thought I sucked champ. I think your striking sucks. Let me work with you so @JonnyBones doesn’t kick your (expletive) for a third straight time.” Normally, I would find such back and forth exchanges between professional fight analysts unfortunate, though a semi-regular occurrence on Twitter, but it does highlight the potential for bias in the sports entertainment industry. Something which many longtime fans will tell you is a given due to the saturated state of bias and corruption that permeates nearly all facets of combat sports today.
For his part, Cormier wasn’t alone in his observations. Forbes.com contributor Brian Mazique critiqued the DAZN fight analyst crew himself, finding it hard to remember a more blatantly slanted broadcast in his May 5, 2019 article, “Canelo Alvarez Vs. Daniel Jacobs: Despite Biased Commentary, Saturday’s Fight Was No Blowout.” Canelo is reported to have signed a $365-million dollar deal with the streaming service DAZN, 35-million from the Jacobs fight alone according to a May 4, 2019 bloodyelbow.com article titled, “Canelo vs Jacobs salaries: Alvarez gets $35 million, Jacobs to get over $10 million,” by author Anton Tabuena.
Prior to Saturday nights middleweight bout, Canelo and Jacobs famously scuffled, with Jacobs letting Canelo know he was there to kick butt and chew bubblegum. And he was all out of bubblegum. In a May 3, 2019 latimes.com article titled, “Canelo Alvarez and Daniel Jacobs have to be restrained at weigh-in,” author Lance Pugmire noted that things got slightly out of hand at Fridays weigh-in. “Jacobs quickly assumed his position on Alvarez’s side of the stage for photos of their face-off.” According to Pugmire, “When Alvarez approached, Jacobs met him by aggressively pressing his forehead to the champion’s.”
The theatrics didn’t stop there either, according to a May 4, 2019 boxingscene.com article titled, “Jacobs Faces $1M Penalty, 3 ½ Pounds Overweight at 2nd Weigh-In,” author Keith Idec writes, “Eddie Hearn wasn’t kidding. Daniel Jacobs’ promoter suggested Wednesday that Jacobs could ignore the 170-pound limit for his second-day weigh-in the morning of his fight against Canelo Alvarez.” According to Idec, “Oscar de La Hoya, Alvarez’s promoter, told ESPN.com that Jacobs weighed 173.6 pounds at their second-day weigh-in.” According to boxingscene.com:
“The 32-year-old Jacobs told a group of reporters Tuesday at MGM Grand that he intends to weigh a maximum of 175 pounds when he enters the ring Saturday night to face Alvarez.”
Considering Jacobs is reported to have weighed 173.6 for the 2nd weigh-in on Saturday morning, I have a hard time believing he will be entering the ring Saturday night no more than 175 pounds. Idec would go on to write that, “The 5-feet-8 Alvarez (52-1-2, 35 KOs) stands four inches shorter than Jacobs (35-3, 29 KOs).” During Friday’s pre-fight face off, Canelo appeared to be the smaller man by some margin before things got out of a hand, despite wearing what appeared to be red and white elevator shoes to neutralize the obvious height discrepancy for the cameras.
“Regardless, Jacobs weighing in 3 ½ pounds more than what was allowable in their contracts will not prohibit their 12-round, 160-pound unification fight from taking place Saturday night at T-Mobile Arena,” explained Idec.
The second day weigh-in stipulations highlighting the roles overall size, weight cutting, proper hydration and game planning play at the most elite levels of professional boxing. These variables and more all come together in the alchemy of the sweet science, that when firing on all cylinders, leads to the kind of elite pugilistic performance we saw Saturday night between two great fisticuff artists.
“Canelo is already all but confirmed for Boxing’s Hall of Fame, and that’s no small achievement, but to be remembered as one of the greatest middleweights in boxing history is an impossible task for 99% of professional 160lbers,” writes BoxingInsider.com’s Ste Rowen in his May 3, 2019 article titled, “Canelo Has the Throne & And is Now Three Fights Away from Middleweight Immortality.” Rowen would go on to note, “When money isn’t an issue, for Canelo, it should now be all about his lasting legacy.”
“In his backstage exhalation, Canelo Alvarez spread his arms wide on a couch, surrounded by championship belts on each side, content that the boxing world is his,” writes latimes.com columnist Lance Pugmire in his May 5, 2019 article, “Canelo Alvarez wants to ‘fight for a title’ — and maybe make Gennady Golovkin squirm.” Pugmire would go on to note that with, “Álvarez’s over Daniel Jacobs in Saturday night’s middleweight unification bout at T-Mobile Arena both bolsters his case as the boxing’s No. 1 pound-for-pound fighter and provides him a wealth of leverage in negotiations for his next fight.”
Canelo is well on his way to cementing his legacy as one of the best, capturing Jacobs IBF title Saturday night to add to his own WBA and WBC titles. Though as BoxingInsider.com’s Ste Rowen points out, the history of the middleweight division commands that Canelo is going to have to really do something special in order to walk the hallowed halls among boxing royalty like Marvin Hagler and Sugar Ray Robinson. Hagler had his war with Hearns, Canelo has questionable decision victories over Gennady Golovkin to highlight the mountain Canelo has left to climb if he wants to cement his name as one of the all-time great middleweights.