On Friday morning DAZN put forth a press release announcing their first quarter schedule for 2022 that includes eight fight cards that span from early February through late March. The majority of these shows are promoted by Matchroom Sports -- highlighted by the third chapter of the Roman Gonzalez-Juan Francisco Estrada rivalry on March 5 in San Diego.
The shows on February 19 (Jaime Munguia-D'metrius Ballard) and March 19 (Vergil Ortiz-Michael McKinson) will be staged by Golden Boy Promotions.
Late last year it was speculated that this union between DAZN and the company founded by Oscar De La Hoya would come to an end. Back in 2018, as the platform began operations in the States, it signed Golden Boy's most high-profile client, Saul 'Canelo' Alvarez to a much ballyhooed 10 fight deal.
But as that relationship eventually dissolved and Alvarez left GBP, it put the long-term relationship with DAZN in jeopardy.
"We're working with them," Eric Gomez, the president of GBP told SNAC.com. "Obviously, this is the beginning, we're discussing more dates. We're excited about these two dates coming up."
Eric Gomez and Oscar De La Hoya in-studio on 3KR
When asked if he ever though this union would come to a permanent end, Gomez answered: "No, look in any relationship like this there's ups and downs. It's part of the business, it's no different than when we were working with Showtime, or HBO, or ESPN. But all along we've done well together, and it was always our feeling that if they wanted to continue that, we would give them an option to continue."
To make this clear, a long-term deal still has not been consummated, but there are on-going negotiations still taking place. You could say that these two upcoming shows in February and March is a mutual act of good faith by both parties.
"We love working with them, they've been great to us -- and vice-versa," stated Gomez. "So obviously when yo have a relationship like that which is working well, you want to continue. So we're in talks."
This would be good news for subscribers of DAZN. While Matchroom certainly has some high profile events, Golden Boy Promotions (under the guidance of their matchmaker, Robert Diaz) has consistently put together well-balanced and entertaining cards.
There are rumors that GBP is looking for another platform to put on a series of developmental shows, much like the series they once had at the Belasco Theater "We've been approached by a few (networks), but as of right now, we're only talking to DAZN," said Gomez.
In 2021, Golden Boy put on significantly less shows compared to their counterparts who had exclusive deals with broadcast partners locked in. Several of their boxers would be farmed out to other promoters cards to keep them active.
To which Gomez says, "I'm sure every promoter wants to do more (shows) but we can see the light at the end of the tunnel, and we're just going to keep focusing in on doing more and more and more. I think 2022 is going to be a huge year for us."
Many had begun to write the obituary for GBP after the departure of Canelo, who was certainly the straw that stirred the drink for that company. But being written off is nothing new for them.
"We've been there before, we've always ended up on top," said Gomez. "So it's part of it, you're always going to have people saying things. Again, we've been there before, it's part of the business. Fortunately I've been part of that history at Golden Boy.
Back in 2015 as the stable of Al Haymon fighters left Golden Boy, and the resignation of Richard Schaefer from the company, the future of the company was in great doubt. Back then they had Canelo to lean on.
For them the future and present of Golden Boy is Munguia, Ortiz, Ryan Garcia, Gilberto Ramirez and Joseph Diaz.
"We have five guys that are knocking on the door for world titles. We would like to get them into world title fights and hopefully the win the fights," said Gomez. In addition to those boxers, there are the likes of Seniesa Estrada and William Zepeda.
It's not official just yet, but it looks like Golden Boy will stay in DAZN.
"They're committed, they are spending a lot of money in boxing, and you have to respect that," says Gomez. "I commend that, they've started to have success now, they've seen the potential in boxing. We're happy. They more networks that we can get involved the better for the business."
So while they are not remarried, they are at least dating again.
Two fights that GBP wanted to put on their '22 calendar is a lightweight bout between Garcia and Isaac Cruz, and 'Zurdo' Ramirez facing WBA light heavyweight champion, Dmitry Bivol.
Not surprisingly, Garcia-Cruz was basically a non-starter.
"That's the fight Ryan wanted, we made a great effort to try to make the fight," explained Gomez. Cruz, who gave Gervonta Davis a hard battle in December is basically under the PBC banner. "But obviously, (Cruz) has a promoter, they have their plans. So we'll see what happens, but as for right now, we're going to look for other opponents because it doesn't look like he's going to take it."
The temperamental Garcia has not fought since last year when he stopped Luke Campbell. He backed out of two other fights in 2021, first citing mental illness, and then a hand injury, scuttling assignments versus Javier Fortuna and then Diaz.
Oscar De La Hoya and Ryan Garcia
As for Bivol-Ramirez, Gomez says, "We tried making the fight for December, but Bivol had different plans. He wanted to fight in his country. So yeah, we've been in touch."
Bivol defeated Umar Salamov on December 11 in Russia, while Ramirez stopped Yunieski Gonzalez in 10 rounds a week later in San Antonio.
"(Ramirez) is the WBA mandatory now, we're waiting for them to reopen the offices," explained Gomez. "I'm told they will reopen on Monday and then they'll make whatever ruling they have to make. But that's the fight we want to make."
The most recent episode of 'the 3 Knockdown Rule' on Triller with Mario Lopez and I featured an in-studio visit from the editor of Ring Magazine, Doug Fischer:
Based on recent comments by PBC executives, does it seem likely that we'll see a bout between Errol Spence and Terence Crawford in the near future?....Steve Geffrard has been tabbed as the replacement for Callum Johnson to face WBO 175 pound champion, Joe Smith, next weekend on ESPN..Is anyone willing to face Filip Hrgovic?....It's looking more and more like the rematch between Jermell Charlo and Brian Castano for the undisputed junior middleweight title will take place in March. The pair battled to a hard-fought draw in the summer...RIP to Martin Achard...I can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org