LAS VEGAS -- Pairing Canelo Alvarez and LeBron James for the creation of the DAZN docuseries "40 Days" has raised the profile of the new streaming service and established a formula for content that company officials are bullish on.
"They've done a great production. They're doing a tremendous job," the champion boxer from Mexico said this week as he prepares for a three-belt middleweight unification bout against Brooklyn's Daniel Jacobs on Saturday at T-Mobile Arena.
"As a fighter, it pleases me, motivates me and encourages me, because it will put more eyes on us," Alvarez said. "As fighters, we should all appreciate that."
DAZN Group executive chairman John Skipper and executive vice president of content Jamie Horowitz, formerly of ESPN and Fox, respectively, merged the styles of HBO's former fight-preview series "24/7" and ESPN's wider-ranging "30 for 30," which uses award-winning filmmakers, in developing the documentary series "40 Days," which will devote episodes to various boxing matches and starts with James and business partner Maverick Carter's Uninterrupted production company focusing on Alvarez-Jacobs.
"This is representative of what we'll do with all of our signature fights," Horowitz said of the celebrity-driven project, which will continue this year with episodes preceding the U.S. debut of three-belt heavyweight champion Anthony Joshua on June 1, the DAZN debut of Gennady Golovkin on June 8 and Alvarez's planned September bout, which James and Carter will again produce.
DAZN's vision, as the bouts progress, is to align the fighters with celebrity influencers linked to production companies. The influencers must be boxing fans, Horowitz said, and DAZN has reviewed celebrity guest lists and footage from major fights to ensure that's the case.
James and Carter have been constant ringside observers at major fights when it doesn't conflict with the three-time NBA champion's basketball schedule.
Carter said James is drawn to boxing by its "mano-a-mano" nature.
"You're squaring off with one other person, and once you're in that ring, there's no hiding," Carter explained. "You survive or quit. And that level of strength, endurance, focus and mind-set is admired by every single athlete.
"This is the purest, most difficult, most amazing sport to see. No substitutes. You're singularly focused on one man. That focus is not found in other sports. And the stakes of boxing -- one mistake in football is an interception, and one in basketball is a turnover -- but a mistake in boxing can be a knockout and you have to go to the hospital. The attention to detail is not seen in any other sport."