By: Hans Themistode
This past November 2nd, was a historic day in boxing history. Yet, it was also a frustrating one.
Canelo Alvarez was successful in his bid to become a four division world champion as he moved up to the Light Heavyweight division to take on then champion Sergey Kovalev. The contest took place at the MGM Grand, Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada.
Although Alvarez was giving up a ton of size in the contest, he found a way to come away with the victory. The contest started slow between the two, but things picked up in the later rounds. After appearing to slow down, Alvarez managed to stop his bigger opponent in the eleventh round courtesy of a right hand from Alvarez.
The results of the contest were not surprising, but what preceded said bout was.
Although Canelo vs Kovalev was a huge contest. One that drew the interest of both hardcore and casual fans, it wasn’t the only massive contest that took place on the night. Several hundred miles away at Madison Square Garden, in New York City, UFC stars Jorge Masvidal and Nate Diaz took the city by storm at UFC 244.
Not only were the two contest taking place on the same night, but they were also taking place at roughly the same time. Fight fans would be forced to choose between the two. This isn’t the first time something like this has happened. It doesn’t occur often but when it does, both contests usually take place and fans simply choose where their allegiance lies. This time around however, something unusual happened.
Following a quick stoppage win in the first round during the co main event, fans and media alike were forced to wait over an hour and a half for the main event to take place. Instead of allowing both Canelo and Kovalev to take place, DAZN decided to put their main event on hold while they awaited the conclusion of Jorge Masvidal and Nate Diaz.
Yes, DAZN made the biggest star in boxing wait while another contest in an entirely different sport took place.
Wait, there’s more.
DAZN also played the UFC contest in the arena to the thousands of fans that were waiting.
Multiple camera shots showed both Canelo and Kovalev taking a nap on their respective couches in the back room while they awaited their turn to enter the ring.
DAZN’s logic behind their thought process was that if they simply waited for the UFC contest to be over, that they would see even more subscriptions. According to executive’s with DAZN, that is exactly what happened. Although they have not confirmed just how much more subscriptions they gained from waiting.
Still, whether it was a success for DAZN or not, it left a sour taste in the mouth’s of many that were there.
Boxing promoter Leonard Ellerbe, who helped build Floyd Mayweather into the biggest star the boxing world has ever seen, was adamant in his displeasure over what the streaming platform had done to Canelo.
“That would have never happened with a Floyd/Showtime event. Never ever!” Said Ellerbe.
Add Showtime boss Stephen Espinoza amongst those who were critical of DAZN as well.
“Stalling a Canelo fight so we can all sit in the arena and watch MMA on screens is insane,” said Espinoza. “An insult to the sport of boxing in general and to Canelo & Kovalev in particular. Fans came to MGM to watch boxing. If they wanted to watch MMA, they would have stayed home and done so.”
Whether or not DAZN will pull off another delay is still questionable. However, as long as he is apart of their platform, Canelo has vowed to never allow it to happen again.
“I will not allow them to do that,” said Canelo. “At least for my fights. I will talk to them [DAZN]”.
With Canelo slated to return to the ring in May of 2020, let’s hope that we will no longer have to deal with a delay ever again.
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