The Avila Perspective, Chapter 4: Streaming, JC Ramirez, and Canelo

The eyes of streaming are upon us all the livelong day.

Recent announcements by Golden Boy Promotions and Main Events about streaming fights on Facebook follows a number of other groups that have pledged to this alternative media venture.

It’s nothing new.

Streaming of prizefights has been around since at least 2005 when this company’s sister web site WWW.Boxingchannel.com  first launched. For more than a decade various prize fights have been streamed by our sites and continue to do so. We also have WWW.Canaldeboxeo.com

One big problem is getting the word out.

With thousands of television networks on cable and virtually billions of people streaming their lives on a multitude of social media platforms, it is quite easy to get lost in the shuffle in the vast Internet.

Television has fought to remain relevant by adapting to the millennials preference to using their phones rather than television sets. Still, television networks like HBO, Showtime and ESPN have a built-in viewership and can advertise on their networks for upcoming events.

That’s the advantage of television.

Top Rank has an agreement with ESPN and so does Golden Boy where their undercards are streamed on the ESPN app. So far it’s been a slow-moving process but every bout streamed seems to result in more viewers. According to one rating device system the numbers are down from the end of May to the end of June. But the ESPN app ranks number one in sports for streaming.

Recently, British boxing promoter Eddie Hearn has tugged along a so-called billion dollar boxing deal that relies on streaming called DAZN. It’s a four-year deal that Hearn’s company, Matchroom Sport, acquired that calls for 40 fight cards a year. About 25 will be televised from United Kingdom with 16 coming from the U.S.

Currently Hearn’s company has Katie Taylor, Anthony Joshua and Daniel Jacobs under contract. And with a boat load of money to offer free agent American fighters, it’s expected to grow quickly.

If this all sounds familiar it’s reminiscent of another promoter with loads of money who was going to take over the boxing industry and destroy rival promoters like Top Rank and Golden Boy Promotions. In that scenario the promoter bought up television rights and thought that would be enough.

Not quite.

What that American promoter and what this British promoter fail to realize is that there are thousands of channels and subject matter to watch on television or on streaming devices. They need the boxing media more than ever. Yet, Hearn fails to respond to media questions and thinks success will magically appear. All promoters must realize it’s the boxing media that points out to fans to pay attention to certain fight dates. Without that small cadre of reporters grinding away gathering facts and information about prizefighters, dates and match ups, it would all be lost in this nebula of entertainment.

It’s OK to be mysterious if you’re in the music business or motion picture industry, but when it comes to boxing or MMA, the fans like to see who’s in charge. Can you imagine Bob Arum never speaking to the public or UFC without Dana White. They are symbols of the sport and when their faces turn up on a television screen or words appear in print, fans of prizefighting perk up.

Top Rank in Norcal

WBC super lightweight titlist Jose Carlos Ramirez returns to his stomping grounds but this time with his gold strap around his waist. The Avenal, Calif. native makes his first title defense against Danny O’Connor at the Save Mart Arena in Fresno. ESPN will televise the match on Saturday July 7.

O’Connor (30-3) fights out of Massachusetts and recently defeated Steve Claggett by unanimous decision so he deserves the title shot. His only losses have come to experienced fighters.

Ramirez (22-0, 16 KOs) won the title by unanimous decision over the talented Amir Imam this past March. Then, he abruptly left trainer Freddie Roach and headed 60 miles east to Riverside where he’s now under Robert Garcia’s guidance.

One thing about the new change of trainers is that Garcia’s hillside stronghold has several fighters with whom he can spar that he won’t find any other place in the world, including Mikey Garcia, Vergil Ortiz and Hector Tanajara. That’s a trio of talent that’s hard to match.

The former U.S. Olympian reminds me of another Olympian, Juan Diaz, from the class of 2000. Both have that intense overwhelming style of fighting at 90 miles an hour and daring others to keep up. One major difference is that Ramirez seems to have pop. I didn’t think so at first, but he’s shown power recently.

Canelo-GGG

Mexican style has become a favorite phrase since Gennady “GGG” Golovkin first uttered those words following a fight several years ago.

Now it seems to mean standing toe-to-toe.

But in reality, Mexican fighters come in all packages.

You wouldn’t call Juan Manuel Marquez a toe-to-toe fighter but for many Mexican fans he epitomizes the Mexican heart. Even his rivals Marco Antonio Barrera and Erik Morales weren’t exactly toe-to-toe fighters. They blended science with an intense desire to win.

Now we have Saul “Canelo” Alvarez whose style leans more toward Barrera who in his later years became more scientific. Going even further back there was Salvador Sanchez whose bouncy style and lethal left hook could end a fight in a millisecond.

In other words, don’t expect Alvarez to stop doing what he’s doing.

“Look, Canelo, yes, he can box. He can move. He’s the more skillful fighter. He can do all that stuff, but he can also fight,” said Oscar De La Hoya, CEO of Golden Boy Promotions. “GGG hasn’t seen that, but I’ll assure you one thing: Come September 15, it’s all business. It’s all going in there and proving not to everyone who is watching but proving to GGG that he’s the better fighter.”

Golovkin is the boogey man for the middleweight division. Yes, Daniel Jacobs gave a good show but he wasn’t fighting Mexican style when they fought in March 2017. And that’s why Alvarez will be repeating what he did last year.

The Mexican redhead had his best moments by using his speed and movement, not when he stopped and traded blows.

Golovkin’s like an unstoppable tank moving forward with those sledgehammer arms blasting away anything in his path. It’s a scary thought for anyone inside the boxing ring. Canelo has to have some huevos to step in the ring again.

Of course money helps.

When Golovkin and Alvarez step back in the boxing ring at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas this coming September, expect the pay-per-view numbers to exceed their previous encounter. Boxing fans from each side are hungry for revenge.

GGG’s promoter knows it.

“Neither side wants to let it go to the judges. Canelo is predicting a KO. GGG doesn’t want to go through the same thing he went through last year in September — where his fate is in the hands of three people,” said Tom Loeffler CEO of 360 Promotions. “He wants to make sure he controls his destiny and wants to make sure there’s going to be no question who walks out of the ring as the champion on September 15.”

Personally I felt the first encounter was pretty good. Expect the notch to be turned up even more in this fight. These are two very strong human beings.

Photo: Eddie Hearn is flanked by Perform Group executives John Skipper (l) and Simon Denyer. Perform Group is the parent company of DAZN.

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