Without an opportunity in the Alliance of American Football, NFL, or Canadian Football League, former Cleveland Browns quarterback Johnny Manziel has been looking to get back into the world of professional sports. An opportunity recently arose, but it was not exactly what many expected. Manziel had partnered with DAZN to promote a Saturday afternoon boxing match.
According to TMZ, Manziel had signed a "one-time" partnership with the streaming service to promote an upcoming boxing matchup. However, this deal could reportedly turn into something more. DAZN also signed a similar deal with New York Giants running back Saquon Barkley.
Entering the weekend, the expectation was that the majority of sports fans would be watching the Saturday afternoon battle between the University of Georgia and LSU during the SEC Championship. However, there was also a heavyweight boxing match taking place in Saudi Arabia between Andy Ruiz Jr. and Anthony Joshua. Manziel and Barkley had the goal of getting fans to stream the fight on the DAZN platform while watching the game on their televisions.
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One reason that DAZN was using Barkley and Manziel to promote this rematch between Ruiz and Joshua is that no one expected the outcome of the previous bout. Ruiz took home the victory on June 1, which was viewed as one of the biggest upsets around. He was viewed as an underdog once again on Saturday but had the support of actor Sylvester Stallone. Would Ruiz be able to upset Joshua for a second time in 2019?
“I watched the first fight and like the rest of the world, I was shocked when Andy Ruiz won,” Barkey said. “After I watched One Night I was even more amazed by how it all unfolded. I have no idea what will happen in the rematch but I will be glued to my screens with the fight on one TV and the SEC Championship on another.”
Ultimately, there was not another upset knockout in the ring for Ruiz. He lost by unanimous decision to Joshua, which allowed the heavyweight to regain his WBA, WBO, and IBF titles.
With the bout over, DAZN can now plan for the next fight on the schedule while Manziel continues to look for a return to professional football. Will he be tapped once again to help promote another event for the streaming service? The answer is unknown, but it's entirely possible.
(Photo Credit: Peter G. Aiken/Getty)