Canelo Alvarez’s lawsuit derailed temporarily due to error 

By Boxing News - 09/13/2020 - Comments

By Dan Ambrose: Canelo Alvarez’s lawsuit against DAZN, Golden Boy, and Oscar De La Hoya has been dismissed due to an error by one of the Mexican star’s attorneys. They have until the end of the month to amend the mistake.

The judge reportedly wants Canelo’s attorneys to designate which of the DAZN entities that they are suing.  As De La Hoya says, this won’t end the case by Canelo, but he’s hoping that the error made by them will let them “reset” and “work together” to get him back fighting again against the best.

De La Hoya didn’t mention any fighters by names that he wants Canelo to fight, but if he is hoping to set up a fight with Avni Yildirim, I’m sure that won’t fly with DAZN.

They want Canelo to fight “premium” opponents. Yildirim doesn’t fit that description, and arguably neither does Callum Smith and Billy Joe Saunders. Both looked horrible in their last fights, and they’re not well known in the U.S.

Canelo is getting paid a lot of money per fight since signing with DAZN, and he’s had it pretty easy in his first three fights. DAZN wanted him to fight Gennady Golovkin. Instead of facing him, he’s fought Sergey Kovalev, Rocky Fielding, and Daniel Jacobs. None of the three were the best or even the third-best fighters in their weight classes.

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While yesterday’s order does not end the case, we are hopeful that this error will allow us to reset, and refocus on what’s important – working together to get Canelo back in the ring against a top opponent ASAP,” said De La Hoya on Twitter.

“If not, we expect Canelo’s lawyers will now enter arbitration as is laid out in our contract.”

Are Saunders and Smith considered premium’ fighters?

“He’s suing Golden Boy and, more importantly, DAZN for not fulfilling his contract,” said Max Kellerman to ESPN about Canelo. “He has a $35 million guarantee per fight, but he’s supposed to be fighting premium fighters, and DAZN is refusing to consider Billy Joe Saunders and Callum Smith as a premium fighter. Andre, I disagree.

“I believe they are premium fighters. Clearly, Callum Smith is, and I would argue that Billy Joe Saunders is too. No, it’s not Demetrius Andrade or GGG in a third fight or [Artur] Beterbiev or [Dmitry] Bivol if you were to go up to light heavyweight, but certainly, it’s around that caliber.

“The Charlo brothers or [Sergiy] Derevyanchenko, those are all premium fights. You have been in a similar situation in the past where you fight good fighters, and someone else gets credit for fighting them. But for you, it’s not a premium fighter.

“On the other hand, enforce it. Make him not take easier premium fights. Make him take the hardest premium fights. What are your thoughts on the Canelo situation,” said Kellerman.

“It’s tough to have a polarizing opinion about it because obviously the lawsuit just came out, and I don’t have enough detailed information,” said Ward. “There’s a lot of hearsay being thrown around, but I will say this. As a fighter, you want to get paid your minimum period.

“That’s why they’re in there. They fight hard in the forefront when you’re negotiating because you know no matter what happens, this is what I’m going to get,” said Kellerman.

Max sees Saunders and Callum Smith as premier fighters, but he doesn’t say what he means by that label. If he means that Saunder and Smith are within the top five in their respective weight classes, you can agree with that. I can pick out five guys that I feel are better fighters than Smith and Saunders at 168.

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DAZN is likely looking at it differently. They want Canelo to fight not only a super talented fighter, which he hasn’t done yet since signing with them but also a popular guy. Jacobs, Fielding, and Kovalev are not super famous in the U.S They have a following, but they’re not in the same league a Gennady Golovkin.

Should Canelo have received his contract minimum?

“Now if there was nothing in the contract with Golden Boy that gave them an out if there was an act of God or, you know, some type of situation like we’re dealing with right now, then that’s on the streaming service slash network, and that’s on Golden Boy Promotions,” said Ward.

“But if we’re talking about premium opponents, I do consider those guys that you named as worthy opponents to get your minimum purse and payday.

“I do. But I’m not sure that’s the problem. I heard so many reports about the mandatory, and DAZN rejecting that guy.

“I don’t think he’s a premium opponent. But anyone of those other guys, Callum Smith, Billy Joe Saunders, I think that’s more than reasonable to give Canelo Alvarez his minimum. No question about it,” said Ward.

“Considering the amount of money that DAZN has poured into their service and considering the pandemic how it’s affected them economically, there’s the thought, ‘Wait a minute. Are they just trying to get out of paying him his minimum.’

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“I think it would be tough for them to make the argument that Callum Smith is not a premium opponent. That’s a tough argument to win,” said Kellerman.

If DAZN’s contract states that Canelo must fight one premium fighter per year, and he’s not come close to doing that, then you could see where they would have a problem.

Saunders and Callum are good fighters, but they’re hardly premium. Those guys aren’t even really well-liked in their own countries, let alone in the U.S.

Two contracts

“With reference to the contract, there are multiple contracts in play here,” said Chris Mannix on SI Boxing with Chris Mannix. “Canelo has one contract with Golden Boy, and Golden Boy has one contract with DAZN.

“So we’re talking about two unique contracts that are in place here. With litigation like this, will the contracts have to be exposed? Will there have to be transparency in this process?

‘It seems that this lawsuit is contending that Golden Boy didn’t disclose that they allegedly made promises to DAZN that weren’t necessarily spelled out in Canelo’s deal with Golden Boy.

“If Golden Boy implied or has in the contract with DAZN that Canelo will fight Gennadiy Golovkin, and if they don’t have that in the contract with Canelo, how does that resolve itself?

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“Let’s pretend that’s hypothetical. In the contract with DAZN, Golden Boy made promises in some way, shape, or form to deliver Canelo-Golovkin. In the contract with Canelo, it doesn’t spell that out,” said Mannix.

It doesn’t make sense for there to be two contracts that don’t say the same thing. That would be a lot of problems if Golden Boy’s contract with DAZN said Canelo WILL fight Golovkin.

If Canelo’s contract doesn’t say anything about Golovkin, it’s no wonder he’s not fighting him. Why would Canelo want to fight a risky opponent like Golovkin if he didn’t have to?

Did DAZN have approval rights?

“From DAZN’s perspective, from what I understand, they have approval rights over Canelo’s opponents,” Mannix said. “It doesn’t seem like from reading that lawsuit that Canelo believes that.

“This seems like an area of discrepancy from Golden Boy negotiated with DAZN, and then Golden Boy turned around and negotiated with Canelo. Is this a big problem with Golden Boy in this?

“If they’re writing a contract one way and another one another way, legally is that problematic for them or is this a case where DAZN should have gone their homework more and basically had this spelled out that this fight [Canelo vs. GGG] would have in X-date?

“I thought it was very interesting that a spokesman for Golden Boy, Stephen Friedman, came out and said effectively, no one ever promised Canelo vs. Golovkin. That’s a pretty strong statement.

“When I read that, you better hope there’s not emails or some kind of correspondence because if there are, even if there are hints that this would happen, that would be problematic for them.

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Without any evidence, I don’t believe people in boxing are smart enough not to have text messages and emails. I don’t believe it. There’s got to be stuff out there that sheds light on this situation of what was promised to who and when,” said Mannix.

We don’t know what DAZN’s contract with Golden Boy says. It’s possible that Canelo’s contract stated he and his promoters could pick who they wanted. But if DAZN had a different deal that gave them the right to approve Canelos opponents, then that could explain why they’re having problems.

Canelo wants $280 million 

“When you read the damages part of this, the $280 million that is basically the rest of his contract and being free from DAZN and Golden Boy,” said Mannix. “What was your reaction to that?

“That’s a sizable amount of money to ask for ineffectively, not earning it. Not going out and getting that money. Let’s talk about a potential settlement.

“My understanding is that absent a lawsuit, DAZN can’t negotiate directly with Canelo. They negotiate with Golden Boy, and they negotiate with Canelo, which is why there are two contracts, to begin with.

“With Canelo suing DAZN, does that allow them to negotiate with Canelo directly now? Does it take tort interference off the table? I think people in boxing that are familiar with boxing lawsuits remember Mikey Garcia.

“It was probably six or seven years ago now where he was trying to get out of his contract with Top Rank. It was a protracted legal battle that cost Mikey Garcia years off his career. If this plays out in court, I think a settlement is the more likely outcome with all this.

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But if there isn’t a settlement and this becomes a legal battle, how protracted could this be? We’re talking millionaires and billionaires. There is money behind the lawyers in this,” said Chris.

Will a judge award Canelo $280 million in damages, and let him walk away from his contracts with DAZN and Golden Boy without fighting his last eight fights? It’s hard to believe that they would.

What will be really interesting is which promoter will look to sink Canelo in the aftermath. With his high purse requirements, and all the stuff that he’s left in his wake, will many promoters be wanting to sign him?

If Canelo wants to fight guys like Yildirim, Saunders, and Callum Smith, how do you sell those fights on pay-per-view to cover his purse requirements and the purses for those fighters and the undercard? Would a fight involving Canelo and Saunders or Smith even generate $40 million?

The pandemic is part of the problem

“I think everyone in boxing hopes this doesn’t last long. And I don’t think, and you can see it from Canelo’s statement, I don’t think he wants this to drag out,” said Mannix. “And I think he wants to get back in the ring, and it is looking for the right opportunity to do it this way.

A judge seeing those contracts will probably illuminate a lot of things quickly. I think we’ll have some answers once somebody sees the contracts.

“The pandemic has changed things. If we weren’t in the middle of the pandemic, we would have had Golovkin fight Kamil Szeremeta last spring. We would have had Canelo against Billy Joe Saunders, and if they came out of that, we would have been prepared to call Canelo vs. Golovkin III.

“That was pretty much set in stone. Part of the problem was the pandemic, but part of it now is we haven’t seen Canelo-Golovkin 3 yet. Last fall, Canelo could have accepted a third fight with Golovkin.

“Everything fell apart over the summer. Canelo lost his Mexican Independence Day date, and he had to fight Sergey Kovalev in November. Canelo’s refusal to fight Gennady Golovkin for personal reasons has contributed to all of this.

“It all kind of traces back to that for me. Canelo, because he doesn’t like Gennady Golovkin, and he doesn’t like some of the things that he said to him and about him, specifically when it came to the positive drug test, that he didn’t want to fight him last September.

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“I think when we look back at the story of this mess, I think that’s part of it. Canelo has, I don’t say responsibility, but I think that contributed to where we are right now. Canelo wouldn’t fight Golovkin last September,” Chris said.

Only Canelo knows why he didn’t fight Golovkin in 2019. It would be interesting to hear what Canelo has to say on the matter. If Alvarez knew that DAZN wanted him to fight Golovkin and decided not to, that’s bizarre.

He’s got to have a reason for not making the fight. Was it Golovkin that caused the fight to not happen last year? Canelo isn’t saying.

Alvarez should have fought Golovkin in 2019

“I understand that Canelo wanted to get his money, and he had a contract, and you expect the person that gives you the contract to live up to it,” said Mannix. “I just think that when you look back at all this, him deciding not to fight Golovkin will loom large in all of this.

“Hopefully, it all gets ironed out. I still think it’s possible that we see Canelo back in the ring at some point in November, and Golovkin soon after. They’re both contracted to fight on the Cinco de Mayo weekend in May of 2021.

“I hope that’s how this plays out because I think they both need that third fight now to get the momentum back for their respective careers.

“Yes, I think they [Billy Joe Saunders and Callum Smith] are elite fighters, but I think you have to put your thumbprint in blood that no matter what’s happening next year, if this pandemic is still going on and it’s clear or whatever, you [Canelo] have to fight Golovkin.

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“I don’t believe DAZN has a problem with Callum Smith or Billy Joe Saunders. They just need that damn fight to happen. The fight has already been devalued to a certain degree,” said Chris.

Canelo should have GGG last year for sure, especially given that he didn’t have a lot of options. Canelo’s fights against Jacobs and Kovalev were against guys that had been exposed before.

Golovkin and Dmitry Pirog had already beaten Jacobs, and Sergiy Derevyanchenko had arguably done it too. Kovalev had lost to Eleider Alvarez and Andre Ward twice.

Canelo vs. GGG III must happen in May 2021

“Golovkin, after he beat Steve Rolls, you could say Golovkin alright is back, top of his game type of guy, but after having that life and death fight against [Sergiy] Derevyanchenko, he’s diminished a little bit,” said Mannix.

“Maybe he gets some of that back against Sceremeta, which I think he will, and that builds the momentum back up. But you got to have Golden Boy saying, no matter what, in May 2021, if the pandemic is still raging and we lose the gate, we don’t care.

“You’ve got to do that fight before Golovkin hits 40. That’s just what it is. Canelo and Golovkin are signed to DAZN to fight each other; it’s as simple as that, whether they said it specifically or not.

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“That’s why they’re with DAZN. That fight needs to be on the books one way or another for anything else to happen,” Chris said.

If Canelo fights Golovkin next May, then he’ll be facing him at age 39. That’s not 40, but that’s pretty close. Had Canelo fought GGG in the trilogy match in December 2018 instead of choosing Rocky Fielding, then Golovkin would have been 37. That sounds a lot better than 39.

What we don’t know is if the contract that Golden Boy has with DAZN says anything about Canelo needing to fight Golovkin. If it doesn’t, then Canelo can choose whoever and never have to fight him.

It’s unbelievable that DAZN would have signed a deal without there being language in the contract stating that he has to fight Golovkin at least once if now twice.