John Dennen considers what signing with DAZN means for Alvarez, as well as Gennady Golovkin and Floyd Mayweather
Canelo Alvarez signs a monumental deal with new platform DAZN
CANELO ALVAREZ has launched the next phase of his career and with it he might just have catapulted DAZN, a sports streaming service, to a new level of prominence in the USA.
The raw numbers of the deal the Mexican has signed with DAZN are vast – a five-year, 11-fight deal worth at least $365m. That, suffice to say, is a lot of money. But it’s a major breakthrough for DAZN. The streaming service only began operating in the USA in September, beginning with Anthony Joshua’s defence of the WBO, IBF and WBA heavyweight titles against Alexander Povetkin at Wembley Stadium. A good show to open with of course, Joshua is the unified heavyweight champion of the world. But his fan base, while significant, is based in Britain and Europe. Alvarez is the major name in Mexican and American boxing. Alvarez has been bringing in over a million pay-per-view buys a fight on HBO, albeit against Julio Cesar Chavez Jnr and Gennady Golovkin. That still goes to show how Canelo will bring with him the hefty number of new subscribers that DAZN needs, especially as their service comes at a cost of $9.99 a month for all the shows on the platform, comparing favourably to the price tag of around $80 for a one-off pay-per-view in America.
“I’ve always liked a challenge, and this is yet another challenge in my career,” said Alvarez. “Being part of this historic deal will require me to prepare myself even more and offer fans even better performances. At the same time, I’m humbled to be selected to lead this new vision for the sport of boxing, which will without a doubt be for the benefit of the fans.
“There are no words to describe this. I’m so happy to be able to give great fights for less money. That was the biggest motivation for me when doing this deal. I’m happy about this new alliance with DAZN.”
It’s big news for DAZN, which, thanks to Canelo, will take a prominent place among the sport’s broadcasters in the USA, alongside ESPN, which screens Top Rank’s excellent run of fights, including Terence Crawford, who reportedly brought in 2.7m viewers against Jose Benavidez on October 13, and Fox and Showtime, who will work with Al Haymon’s extensive network of fighters.
As well as Canelo, DAZN will have 10 other Golden Boy Promotions fight nights, as well as the sequence of bills Matchroom Boxing are staging in Britain and America. “This is huge for boxing, huge for Canelo and huge for Golden Boy,” promoter Oscar De La Hoya said. “We are committed to making this sport as accessible as possible and at an affordable price for all the fans. My dream has been to make boxing a sport for all. DAZN has the perfect platform to make this dream come true, and with the biggest star in the sport at the helm of this journey, I have no doubts that we will succeed in unimaginable ways.”
John Skipper [below, on left, alongside Canelo], the DAZN Group’s Executive Chairman, said, “Oscar De La Hoya, as a fighter and a promoter, has been the most important figure in the history of boxing on pay-per-view. Right now Canelo Alvarez is the most important fighter on pay-per-view. Canelo has sold 3.6m buys in his last three pay-per-view fights for a total subscription revenue of a quarter of a billion dollars. His next 11 fights will be available exclusively and internationally on DAZN.”
For Matchroom’s Eddie Hearn this is a turning point. He told Boxing News: “This is a massive moment for the landscape of US boxing and also for DAZN. DAZN is now home to the two biggest stars in the sport in Joshua and Canelo, and this really is just the beginning. With 32 Matchroom Boxing shows, ‘AJ’, Canelo, Golden Boy Promotions, the World Boxing Super Series and Bellator in just a few short months, DAZN has established itself as the home of fight sports in the US. If you want to fight ‘AJ’ or Canelo then you have to be with DAZN, and with Demetrius Andrade winning the WBO middleweight title [see page 16-17] and Danny Jacobs [also promoted by Matchroom, though his next bout will be on HBO] fighting for the IBF middleweight title on October 27 [see page 30], DAZN is paving the way for huge matchups.”
He added: “For all the naysayers, this is just the start and opens the floodgates ³
‘I’M HUMBLED TO BE SELECTED TO LEAD THIS NEW VISION FOR BOXING’
for others who have been warned away – this is the revolution of US boxing and it’s open season.”
Canelo had been the key figure in HBO’S boxing output. He might have had a last outing with the network but, with HBO announcing they were “pivoting away” from the sport by the end of this year, Alvarez has leapt on to a new platform. HBO was once the standardbearer of boxing broadcasting. With a couple more fights left to go, by 2019 boxing on HBO will be no more. “Once upon a time we were a promising kid. Then a challenger. Then a champion. A great champion. A long-time champion. And then a has-been who finally retired,” their former commentator, Larry Merchant, said. “So long, champ.”
It does herald significant change in the industry and by signing this multi-fight deal, at 28 years old, Alvarez has pledged the peak years of his career to a new player in the market. It’ll be fascinating to see what direction that takes him in.
Gennady Golovkin would have to chase him to DAZN, if he’s going to hunt down a third fight with his great rival. Canelo is now in a strong position. In 2017, the controversial draw with Alvarez saw Golovkin retain his WBC, IBF and WBA middleweight titles. Canelo’s failed drug tests saw their rematch then postponed to September 2018 as Alvarez served out a mere six-month ban and Golovkin was stripped of his IBF belt as he waited on Canelo. Alvarez scored a hard-fought points win over the Kazakh to win the WBC and WBA middleweight titles. Now Canelo has plenty of options, including the third fight with Golovkin. But there are also potential unification bouts for him at middleweight, with Andrade winning the WBO title – which Billy Joe Saunders vacated – on October 20 on DAZN. If Jacobs can win the vacant IBF crown against Sergey Derevyanchenko on October 27, Jacobs’ promoter, Hearn, will also try to put him in the frame for a fight with Canelo.
A third Canelo versus Golovkin fight will always be appealing. But it might not happen in the near term, as both do have alternative options. Ryota Murata’s loss to Rob Brant for a secondary WBA middleweight title [see page 25] might well have caught “GGG’S” attention in the meantime, as he weighs up his next move.
Furthermore, Alvarez’s immediate future sees him step up to supermiddleweight to box WBA secondary titlist Rocky Fielding on December 15 at Madison Square Garden, which will be the Mexican’s first outing on DAZN. “I’m also happy to be making history by fighting at Madison Square Garden for the first time,” Canelo said.
“My recovery has been great. The cut is recovering. We haven’t started sparring yet, but we will start soon. We will do more than 50 rounds of sparring like in every camp. This is a new challenge, to be moving up in weight. We’ll see how the weight affects me. He’ll be bigger and maybe even stronger than me. This is a risk that I am taking. I’m entering the comfort zone of the champion, but I’ll take this challenge on because that’s what I need to do to make history in my career. I want to be one of the top 10 Mexican fighters to become a ‘threedivision world champion.’”
Whatever happens, Alvarez is the most highly paid boxer in the sport today. That though might prompt a counter-move from Floyd
Mayweather, who was the most highly paid athlete in the world and has never been one to share the limelight. Mayweather’s pay-per-view spectacles against Manny Pacquiao, in 2015, and Conor Mcgregor last year netted him hundreds of millions of dollars.
Mayweather remains the only man to have beaten Canelo. He outpointed the
‘THIS IS THE REVOLUTION OF US BOXING AND IT’S OPEN SEASON’
Mexican in 2013 and the latter craves a rematch. Alvarez would love to fight Mayweather again, telling DAZN, “I think it’s one of the things I want to strike from my record. I think that it’s one of the thorns I want to take out of my side.”
But their rivalry looks likely to remain a business stand-off. Mayweather has been floating the possibility of yet another comeback, possibly against Pacquiao and even deigning to answer a call-out from another UFC fighter, Khabib Nurmagomedov, the man who recently beat Mcgregor.
As if right on cue, on the same day Alvarez announced his new deal, Mayweather welcomed Nurmagomedov “to come into [his] world.” Nurmagomedov is known for his wrestling and it’s impossible to see him as a threat even to a 41-year-old Mayweather in a boxing ring. Yet the aptly named “Money” reckons a one-off bout with the Russian would net him around $200m.
“Oh, we fighting. He called me out. So, he’s got to come to my world,” Mayweather told TMZ Sports. “I’m my own boss. So I can’t say what’s going on on Khabib’s end. But, on my end, we can make it happen.
“When I face Khabib I’m getting a nine-figure payday. It’s more than the Mcgregor fight. Probably 100m US dollars more, guaranteed.
“I’m going to say somewhere between 110m and 200m US dollars guaranteed.”
Nurmagomedov is notorious not only for beating Mcgregor in an MMA bout but launching himself into a brawl afterwards. Mayweather did add: “Vegas is the fighting capital and after the fight you have to conduct yourself like a true professional, not just in the ring, but outside the ring also.”
But there is every indication that if he does fight again it would be televised by his regular partner Showtime, who have screened his pay-per-views and whom Mayweather addressed in his tweets on the subject of Nurmagomedov. The one wish Canelo might not get is that Mayweather rematch.
‘I THINK THAT IT’S ONE OF THE THORNS I WANT TO TAKE OUT OF MY SIDE’
JACKPOT: Canelo’s DAZN earnings will be eye-watering
REVENGE IN MIND: Canelo [left] wants the chance to avenge his defeat to Mayweather
PAST AND FUTURE: Canelo [below, on left] battles Golovkin in his last bout, and will meet Fielding [above left, on right] next