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Canelo signs 11-fight deal with DAZN for $365M

Canelo Alvarez

By Sean Jones: Saul Canelo Alvarez has signed a huge five-year, 11-fight deal for $365 million with DAZN in a move that will keep him with the platform until 2023. Canelo will be 33-years-old by the time the deal is up.

Canelo’s deal with DAZN was finalized on Wednesday at 1:00 a.m. ET. Canelo signed the deal with DAZN in a hotel in New York on Times Square, according to Dan Rafael. Canelo’s longtime promote Oscar De La Hoya of Golden Boy was present, as was his two trainers.

Canelo will earn money from each fight in addition to the $365 million that he’s receiving from DAZN for signing with them. Just how much money Alvarez will make for each fight will be decided on by DAZN on the number of subscriptions he brings in for each individual fight. This is something that will be decided during the negotiations for the fights. For Canelo to maximize the revenue he can bring in with DAZN in the next five years, it would obviously be in his best interest to fight the best competition available. That means Canelo can’t afford to fight too many Rocky Fielding type fighters, and instead focus on fighting the likes of Gennady Golovkin, Daniel Jacobs, Demetrius Andrade, Ryota Murata, Sergiy Derevyanchenko, Jermall Charlo, David Benavidez, George Groves, Gilberto ‘Zurdo’ Ramirez, Jose Uzategui, Jermell Charlo and Jarrett Hurd. Those are the guys that Canelo can make goo money fighting. However, they’re all risky fights for him, and he could lose to many of them, which makes it highly unlikely that he’ll face more than a small handful of them during his 11-fight deal with DAZN.

DAZN doesn’t offer pay-per-view at this time. That’s something that will likely need to be changed for them to cover the huge purses that Canelo will want for his 2-fights per year that he takes. Canelo tends to fight on the Mexican holidays in May and September. This year, Canelo is fighting in December because he missed out on his May 5 fight after receiving a six-month suspension by the Nevada State Athletic Commission after testing positive for a performance enhancing substance clenbuterol last February. Canelo will likely return to fighting two times per year after 2018.

Now that Floyd Mayweather Jr. is retired from boxing, Canelo is the #1 pay-per-view attraction in boxing. His fights have brought in a huge amount of money for HBO and Showtime.

Surprisingly, Canelo’s monstrous 5-year, 11-fight, $365 million blockbuster deal with DAZN is the biggest contract for an athlete in history. The previous high was a $325 deal for New York Yankees player Giancarlo Stanton back in 2014, according to Dan Rafael. It’s surprising that Canelo is getting the huge deal with DAZN, given that his last two fights against Gennady Golovkin were viewed by boxing fans as losses for the Mexican star.

The judges gave Canelo a highly questionable draw in the first fight with GGG in September 2017, and then a 12 round decision last September. The controversy surrounding those fights make it strange that Canelo is being given such a huge contract. There’s no word whether DAZN is interested in signing Golovkin as well. For the platform to only sign Canelo and not GGG, it makes one wonder whether this is more about popularity than actual sporting value. Canelo is arguably more popular than Golovkin, but not the better fighter in the eyes of many boxing fans.

The DAZN deal for the Golden Boy star Canelo Alvarez starts with his December 15 fight against WBA secondary super middleweight champion Rocky Fielding at Madison Square Garden in New York. Canelo and Fielding, 31, will have a news conference on Wednesday to talk about their December 15 fight. During the press conference, Canelo and Golden Boy Promotions will surely talk about the new deal with DAZN, and how they plan on making this work. There’s a lot of unknown about whether the DAZN platform will be able to pull in enough subscribers to satisfy Canelo’s huge purses that he previously enjoyed with HBO.

“Canelo is the highest-paid athlete in the world. He’s extremely happy,” Golden Boy Promotions CEO Oscar De La Hoya said to ESPN.com following Canelo signing with DAZN.

If Canelo stays with DAZN for the full five years, it would take him to the end of his prime as a fighter. Some fighters are able to continue to fight well into their mid-30s, but not the ones that are dependent on their hand speed and reflexes like Canelo. Once Canelo loses his speed, he’ll have problems competing at the highest levels due to his short 5’8” height and lack of reach. He could suffer the same fate as Roy Jones Jr. who was a shot fighter by the time he hit his mid-30s after he lost his hand speed due to age.

The deal with DAZN sees the 28-year-old Canelo moving on HBO, who are getting out of boxing after 45 years of broadcasting fights at the end of 2018. Canelo signing on with DAZN, although a great news story, leaves a lot of questions about whether this is going to workout. With the monthly subscription cost of $10 for the subscribers to DAZN, the platform will need to raise the costs when Canelo fights for him to enjoy the kind of money he’s been making at HBO. Canelo made $50 million for his first fight against Gennady Golovkin last year in September 2017, and that was with 1.3 million buys. As pointed out by Yahoo News, if the same 1.3 million buys on HBO are matched by 1.3 million subscribers to DAZN, Canelo’s fight would bring in $12,987 million. If the boxing fans then immediately cancel their subscription, then DAZN would be bringing in very little. They would need a massive amount of subscribers to satisfy the money that Canelo was getting with HBO.

There’s no word whether there’s an opt out for DAZN if Canelo’s career suddenly tanks with him losing fights and no longer being the guy he is today. With Canelo coming off of consecutive controversial fights against Gennady Golovkin, there’s major uncertainty whether he can cut it at the highest levels of the middleweight division. A lot of fans think the only reason Canelo didn’t lose both fights to Golovkin is because he was fighting in Las Vegas, Nevada.

HBO had the option to match DAZN’s offer for Canelo’s December 15 fight against British fighter Rocky Fielding (27-1, 15 KOs), but they opted not to, according to Rafael. HBO could have televised Canelo-Fielding on PPV on their network. However, the fight is not expected to bring in a lot of PPV buy. Despite holding the WBA secondary 168 lb title, Fielding isn’t considered as good as many of the other super middleweight champions and some of the top contenders as well. Fielding was knocked out in the 1st round by Callum Smith in 2015. Smith is now the WBA Super World super middleweight champion after stopping previous WBA champ George Groves in the 7th round last month on September 28 in the World Boxing Super Series super middleweight final. Fielding has won his last six fights against lesser opposition. Fielding has been winning, but not against the best. So, instead of Canelo and Golden Boy Promotions choosing the talented fighters like Callum Smith for the December 15, they selected Fielding. This brings up the question about what type of opposition Canelo will be fighting in his 11-fight contract with DAZN. Will Canelo face the best, as he says he will, or will he pad his record for the next 11 fights of his DAZN contract to ensure that he doesn’t lose again or find himself involved in additional controversial fights like he’s had against Golovkin, Erislandy Lara and Austin Trout. DAZN won’t be getting such a great deal if Canelo is going to pad his record against fighters like Rocky Fielding instead of taking on the best fighters at middleweight and super middleweight.

Canelo probably isn’t the middleweight or super middleweight, but he’s more popular than the other fighters. Boxing is a different type of sport. It’s not like other sports where you have to be the best to make the most amount of money. Boxing is more like professional wrestling where you’re popularity with the fans is what results in you making money.


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