John Den­nen con­sid­ers what sign­ing with DAZN means for Al­varez, as well as Gen­nady Golovkin and Floyd May­weather

Boxing News - - CONTENTS -

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


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


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.



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


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