Golden Boy Promotions and the subscription streaming service DAZN are nearing the conclusion of a new multi-year deal that could begin before the lynchpins of Golden Boy’s stable step to the ring again in early spring.
While chatting about the first of those bouts — unbeaten welterweight Vergil Ortiz Jr. meeting England’s Michael McKinson March 19 at USC’s Galen Center in Los Angeles — Golden Boy Chairman Oscar De La Hoya revealed the nearing of a reunion between the parties.
“We’re working very closely with DAZN,” McKinson said. “We’re very close, and hopefully we can announce something shortly.”
An official close to the talks but unauthorized to discuss them publicly told USA Today Sports+ Thursday negotiating the finer points may last beyond the DAZN-streamed Ortiz fight and could extend closer to the return of Golden Boy’s high-profile unbeaten lightweight Ryan Garcia (21-0, 18 KOs) when he meets Emmanuel Tagoe April 9 in San Antonio, Texas.
DAZN Executive Vice President Joseph Markowski confirmed to USA Today Sports+ by text message Thursday the service “will be announcing various things soon … stay tuned.”
The original Golden Boy-DAZN union began in late 2018 when Golden Boy’s prized fighter Canelo Alvarez emerged from an expired, multi-fight alliance with HBO and struck what was supposed to be an 11-fight, $365 million deal to fight on DAZN, with the streaming service declaring boxing’s longtime pay-per-view model dead.
Oh, how times have changed.
Alvarez sued to exit his Golden Boy contract after three fights on DAZN, and has since operated as a free agent who has performed three times on DAZN for British promoter Eddie Hearn and most recently fought on FOX pay-per-view for Premier Boxing Champions head Al Haymon.
Undisputed super-middleweight champion Alvarez (57-1-2, 39 KOs) is currently mulling opposing two-fight packages.
The first, from Hearn/DAZN, is to fight WBA light-heavyweight champion Dmitry Bivol in May and stage a trilogy-concluding bout against former middleweight champion Gennadiy Golovkin in the fall. The other, from Haymon/FOX, is to meet WBC middleweight champion Jermall Charlo and then unbeaten super-middleweight David Benavidez.
It wasn’t a foregone conclusion Golden Boy and DAZN would re-up. De La Hoya flirted with Triller and was going to main-event for them in a comeback fight before a COVID diagnosis caused him to cancel. He now says his comeback plans are over, turning all his energy to fight promotion.
DAZN, meanwhile, ironically shifted to embrace special pay-per-view offerings in the United Kingdom to assist its global business profits. DAZN will carry the late-spring heavyweight title rematch pitting unbeaten three-belt champion Oleksandr Usyk against the man he dethroned last year, England’s Anthony Joshua.
With Golden Boy, the expectation is DAZN will stream the promoter’s most significant bouts, those featuring Ortiz, Garcia, former super-middleweight champion Gilberto Ramirez and unbeaten former junior-middleweight champion Jaime Munguia.
The 23-year-old Ortiz (18-0, 18 KOs) is positioning for a mandatory welterweight title shot from the World Boxing Council or World Boxing Association, and De La Hoya said should Ortiz win next month — as expected — he seems poised to meet former welterweight champion Keith Thurman next. The winner will gain that mandatory position against the winner of April’s three-belt unification between champions Errol Spence Jr. and Yordenis Ugas.
“He wants to crown himself world champion this year,” De La Hoya said of Ortiz, who switched to trainer Manny Robles after previously being cornered by Robert Garcia. “This is not the toughest fight, but it’s the right fight for him after he’s been through some tough fights. A crafty boxer will teach him things for the future, and every single welterweight in the world will be put on notice.
“We have something special on our hands.”
McKinson is a +520 underdog against -1100 favorite Ortiz, according to Tipico Sportsbook, with Ortiz obviously intending to extend his knockout streak.
“Being an ex-fighter, I urge them and need them to do that. As a boxing fan first, I love great fights with knockouts,” De La Hoya said. “They know what they have to do to please fans and to become superstars. They know they need knockouts — especially Vergil Ortiz in Los Angeles. The L.A. boxing fan is smart about spending their hard-earned dollars. They know by paying for a Vergil Ortiz fight they’re going to get something spectacular, same with Ryan Garcia. I expect nothing less.
“Our job is to continue building big names. The future is bright for us with Vergil Ortiz and Ryan Garcia and we’re continuing to build them. We’re excited about the future. It looks positive. People are realizing these fighters want to fight the best, and it’s time we give it to them.”
Garcia, sidelined by a bout with depression last year after last fighting Jan. 2, 2021, said he wants to meet the top lightweights in the loaded division, a crop that includes champions Gervonta Davis, Devin Haney and George Kambosos Jr.
Another element of the Golden Boy-DAZN partnership is expected to be a series of other lower-profile bouts as De La Hoya re-stocks his stable, the official said, and Golden Boy meanwhile intends to continue providing other bouts for the regional sports network Bally’s Sports.