The DAZN boxing family is not a happy, harmonious one at the moment. As a matter of fact, you could call it downright dysfunctional.
The streaming service’s two top promoters– Eddie Hearn and Oscar De La Hoya– have had major online beef recently, with the insults becoming quite personal. But the worst part for the wannabe Netflix of sports is not the social media nastiness, but what it could do for their already-struggling boxing product.
With Saul Alvarez’s decision to align himself with Premier Boxing Champions (PBC) for at least three fights, DAZN has lost its biggest star and the unified super middleweight champ. It hasn’t entirely lost its 168 lb. foothold, though. There still exists one big “in house” fight in the division– Mexico’s Jaime Munguia vs. Brooklyn-born Puerto Rican Edgar Berlanga.
Neither rank among the elite of the super middleweights at the moment, but both have name value and, stylistically, they could produce a memorable battle (or two, or three). The winner could also emerge as the top challenge to Alvarez, able to lure the Mexican superstar back to DAZN after his run with PBC.
In terms of marketing, it doesn’t get any easier than hyping a Mexico vs. Puerto Rico battle.
Munguia-Berlanga, which should be an easy DAZN “in house” fight to sign, makes tons of sense for the network, for the fighters, and for the promoters– except, the promoters are having a tiff.
After buzz started about a possible bout between the two, Golden Boy founder and figurehead Oscar De La Hoya hit Twitter with jabs aimed at pouring gasoline on the already-brewing feud he’s had with Hearn. According to the Golden Boy, his fighter Munguia is looking to fight PBC’s David Benavidez.
“Awesome news @jaimemunguia15 is very interested in fighting @Benavidez300,” De La Hoya tweeted. “Looking forward to starting discussions in what could possibly be fight of the year!”
Hearn, of course, fired back in an interview.
“Oscar De La Hoya works for DAZN. He’s a f***ing’ complete idiot,” Hearn told reporters during a post-fight press conference following Berlanga’s victory over Jason Quigley on June 24. “His job is to put on good fights with DAZN and he hasn’t really done that with Jaime Munguia. It’s probably the worst managed career I’ve ever seen in the history of boxing.
“His opponent list is awful other than Derevyanchenko recently, who is also a faded fighter.
“What I’ll do with Oscar De La Hoya is, I’ll speak to his bosses and I’ll come back to him,” Hearn added, referencing a longtime rumor that De La Hoya is basically just a spokesperson in his own company who has very little to do with the actual business. “I don’t have to deal with Oscar. We will speak with [Golden Boy president] Eric Gomez, like we always do.”
Berlanga has already stated his desire to face Munguia.
“That’s the biggest fight right now,” Berlanga told media after his latest win. “I want him in the big house. Madison Square Garden. That’s a fight that everybody wants to see.”
“We definitely want Munguia for next. That’s for sure-sure. That’s the motherf***er we want. He’s Mexican. I’m Puerto Rican. I got the man here [Hearn]…the best promoter in the business. I know he’s gonna make It happen for us.”
Munguia, meanwhile, seems well out of the loop. When asked about a David Benavidez fight on the El Clinch podcast, he seemed utterly noncommittal.
“I think it’s more likely to take place next year,” Munguia said. “[Benavidez] has commitments this year.
“I plan to fight again at 168 in November and then we should (both) be ready for the fight next year.”
It’s wildly unlikely that Munguia-Benavidez takes place. First and foremost, because it’s an exceedingly tough fight for Munguia that could very well stall Munguia’s career with an ugly loss. Second, despite April’s Tank Davis-Ryan Garcia blockbuster, Golden Boy doesn’t usually work well with PBC and De La Hoya has shown true animosity towards them in the very recent past.
All in all, Munguia-Berlanga is the way to go– if the two promoters can put aside their bickering.