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NOTES FROM THE BOXING UNDERGROUND: CANELO BUSTS PBC "GOING OUT OF BUSINESS" MYTH

By Paul Magno | June 26, 2023
NOTES FROM THE BOXING UNDERGROUND: CANELO BUSTS PBC

Was Saul “Canelo” Alvarez joining forces with Premier Boxing Champions (PBC) a game changer? I don’t know. I don’t even know what “game changer” is supposed to mean. And, honestly, unless I’m getting some money off the deal, I don’t care. 

I’m just happy that the Mexican vaca lechera (cash cow) is now positioned to fight guys like Jermall Charlo, David Benavidez, Demetrius Andrade, David Morrell or even Errol Spence (in an ultra-mega, imagination-stretching catchweight monstrosity), rather than Dmitry Bivol (in a rematch nobody-- not even Canelo-- wants), Edgar Berlanga, or yet another brittle-boned Brit from Eddie Hearn’s stable of human sacrifices. 

Alvarez’s reported 3-fight PBC deal will also get him back into the limelight, where a superstar is supposed to be, and on to a Showtime PPV platform where the casual fan will actually know where and how to watch him. It’ll certainly be good to see him on a network where production values are greater than those of a Fite TV indy pro wrestling show. 

Right now, though, I think I’m most enjoying the die-hard PBC haters losing their shit online and clumsily piecing together a new “I hate you” narrative regarding the boxing company they’ve had going out of business every six months since 2015. After making network and business affiliation THE determining factor in boxing respectability, these people are now talking about how “it doesn't matter who your adviser or network is, it's all about the fights!” As the kids say-- GTFOH (Do they still say that?).

Well, if it IS “all about the fights,” then nobody should be complaining. This year has been awesome. And the PBC year, specifically, has been outstanding. We’re finally getting Spence vs. Crawford. We’re getting Inoue vs. Fulton. We got Tank vs. Garcia and Benavidez vs. Plant. Now, we can look forward to  Canelo Alvarez vs. Charlo, which could be as risky for Alvarez as the Bivol fight and is most definitely more intriguing than watching him half-ass his way through John Ryder.

Kudos to Canelo, by the way, for taking the career path of most resistance in this PBC alliance. He could’ve tried sticking around with Hearn and DAZN, spinning his wheels for the sake of another easy payday from the money marks at the wannabe Netflix of sports. 

Who knows, maybe getting “Canelo money” from DAZN wasn’t an option anymore. Maybe somebody in that brain trust, somewhere, finally realized that putting on a Canelo-sized event-- especially after downsizing Canelo’s star power over the last several years-- was beyond their capacities and capabilities. Maybe Alvarez had nowhere to go BUT Premier Boxing Champions.

None of that is my concern. I don’t care how the sausages are made, I just want them on my breakfast table. Canelo’s move is a plus for boxing and, really, that’s all I care about.

And what about Eddie Hearn, who, as recently as two days before the Canelo/PBC announcement, was publicly talking up his imminent plans for Alvarez?

The UK promoter and head of Matchroom Boxing took full responsibility for helping dull Canelo’s shine by feeding him his stable chum and, therefore, helping create the scenario where Alvarez HAD to look beyond DAZN for true main stage events. 

Just kidding. Hearn, of course, played it off like it’s no big deal and that, really, it was more of a mutual business decision.

“Sometimes the numbers work, and sometimes they don’t,” Hearn told pet YouTube outlet, iFL TV. “I think DAZN are saying, ‘We understand, and we don’t have anything for him at the moment. When he comes back or when he’s available again, Edgar [Berlanga] will be ready, and someone else might be ready...Who knows?’”

Hearn then claimed to be stoked about taking that $40 million or so allocated to a Canelo fight and using it to make a string of big fights for the platform because, you know, he did so well with that initial billion dollars in DAZN seed money. 

Wait...oh yeah, and he also responded to what he called the “Let’s target Eddie Hearn” reaction to Alvarez moving on. In typical clueless rich kid fashion, he says it must be because everyone’s jealous of him. 

“I think it’s quite flattering, really,” Hearn said. “I think when you want someone’s demise so badly...There has to be a reason for that. So what is the reason? The reason, normally, is that you’re envious of that person.

“The fact is, Lou DiBella is absolutely sick as a dog that he doesn’t have my deals around the world, and he doesn’t have my shows and he doesn’t have my business, because he feels he should be having them. But guess what? Tough shit, you ain’t got them.

“Leonard Ellerbe, sick as a dog, don’t do any shows anymore. So he’s looking at me, going,  ‘Why is he getting all these dates?’ He wants to be me. Oscar De La Hoya clearly wants to be Eddie Hearn...It is weird...but everyone keeps telling me how flattering it is that all these promoters keep talking about you. It is a bit tiring, but then I look at the mirror and go, ‘Jeez.’”

I mean, the disdain Hearn attracts totally couldn’t be about him being a smug pantsload, right? It couldn’t have anything to do with his obnoxious bragging when he felt like he had an upper hand in the game or his compulsive need to comment on other promoters’ business? Could people’s enjoyment of a perceived comeuppance via Canelo have something to do with him using Canelo fights-- the only really big fights he’s done outside the UK-- as proof positive of his promotional superiority? 

But, getting back to Saul Alvarez and PBC. 

As a consumer, I’m pleased. Boxing is a business and Canelo plays it like a business better than anyone since Floyd Mayweather. It just so happens that, this time, the boxing and the boxing business are in sync. Biggest will translate to best. That’s as close to “old school” as we can reasonably expect these days.

In the meantime, let me get back to social media where hate flows so freely among those who “love” the sport.

Got something for Magno? Send it here: paulmagno@theboxingtribune.com

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