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Will DAZN allow Canelo to fight cheaper opponent than Saunders?

Canelo Alvarez

By Sean Jones: Canelo Alvarez will be fighting in September, possibly without a live crowd on DAZN, and that means he could end up with an opponent that is less expensive than Billy Joe Saunders what supposed to be getting to fight him. There won’t be as much money to spread around if Canelo fights behind closed doors on September 12, and that’s going to create a need for Golden Boy to search for a cheap opponent.

With less money, we could see Canelo facing an opponent that will fit in Golden Boy’s budget for the fight.

Whoever it is that Golden Boy selects, they won’t get the same kind of money that Daniel Jacobs, Sergey Kovalev, or Gennadiy Golovkin received for their fights against Canelo.

Canelo (53-1-2, 36 KOs) and WBO 168 champion Saunders (29-0, 14 KOs) were on course to meet on May 2 on DAZN, but the pandemic caused the cancellation of the match. Saunders’ promoter Eddie Hearn is not giving up on his goal of still making that fight, and he’s already contacted Golden Boy in hopes of getting the negotiations going again.

Canelo Alvarez

Golden Boy looking for an alternative opponent for Alvarez

You got to respect Hearn for continuing to push for his fighter Saunders to be the one that Canelo fights next. Most promoters would have seen the writing on the wall by now and given up, but not Hearn. He’s still trying to get the 30-year-old Saunders the Canelo fight, even when it’s clear that Golden Boy is looking in another direction.

Hearn notes that Saunders may need to take less money for him to get the fight with Canelo, and he’s not entirely sure that he’ll agree to a cut. What Hearn will be counting on is DAZN not agreeing to Golden Boy picking the cheapest opponent they can find for Canelo’s next fight.

The streaming is paying Canelo $365 million for their 11-fight deal with hopes that he’ll bring in a massive amount of subscribers. That won’t happen if Golden Boy Promotions picks a non-talented or non-popular fighter that agrees to the smaller purse to fight Canelo, but he won’t attract fans.

“I think the options are for him to come back and offer Billy Joe Saunders a new deal, and again, maybe Billy Joe Saunders won’t take anything less than what they agreed,” said Hearn to SI Podcast.

“They could try and find a cheaper opponent, but is that an opponent that will be approved by DAZN? A cheaper opponent generally means a fight that fans aren’t interested in. So we’ve got to get the balance right.”

Saunders may not be an opponent that comes with a cheap price tag, but he’s not going to do much for DAZN against Canelo in terms of bringing in U.S subscribers. If Hearn believes that Saunders is a household name in the States, he’s fooling himself. Saunders is as obscure a fighter as Rocky Fielding, and about as popular.

Alvarez needs the best affordable option

Canelo has already had two easy fights on his current DAZN contract against Sergey Kovalev and Fielding. They’re going to want quality now, and someone that punch and fight. Saunders has no power, and he’s not going to bring in the subscribers to DAZN.

If Canelo wants to keep his popularity up with fans, he needs to face someone that the boxing fans want to see him fight. They don’t want to see him pad his record by fighting paper champion Saunders, and they also don’t want to see him face another old guy. Most of Canelo’s fights during his career against notable opposition were against older fighters.

The casual boxing fans have never heard of Billy Joe Saunders in the U.S, and the hardcore fans mostly think he’s boring to watch and not one of the best at 168. So if you’re DAZN, you’re probably not going to exert pressure on Canelo to return to the Saunders negotiations if you’re unhappy with Golden Boy selecting a less expensive option. If anything, DAZN will want Canelo to fight the likes of Sergiy Derevyanchenko, Jaime Munguia, or Chris Eubank Jr.

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