Canelo files lawsuit against DAZN, Golden Boy & De L Hoya in Los Angeles
By Jim Maltzman: Superstar boxer Canelo Alvarez has filed a lawsuit in the federal court in Los Angeles, California, with a complaint against Golden Boy Promotions, their CEO Oscar De La Hoya, and DAZN, alleging that they haven’t covered the terms of his contract that was completed with the streaming giant in 2018.
Canelo signed a $365 million deal at the time, which covers 11 fights. As of now, the 30-year-old Canelo has fought 3 of the 11 contests, beating Rocky Fielding, Daniel Jacobs, and, most recently, Sergey Kovalev.
Canelo seeking $280 million in damages
According to ESPN, Canelo is looking to get $280 million in damages, the money that is still on the remaining eight fights with DAZN, and addition to the sponsorship and gate revenue. He also allegedly wants to be able to potentially walk away from his deals with Golden Boy and DAZN.
“This lawsuit arises from the breach of the single largest contract in this history of boxing, and one of the largest in all of sport,” the complaint says per ESPN.
DAZN, Golden Boy, and Canelo haven’t been able to agree on his next opponent, and they’ve reached an impasse. It’s not just the opponent that they reportedly couldn’t decide on; it was the amount of money that Canelo would get for the fight.
Canelo has been sitting on the shelf inactive since beating W.B. 175-pound champion Sergey Kovalev ten months ago on November 2, 2019. The former four-division world champion Canelo has been idle since then, his career grounded due in part to the pandemic.
Canelo’s 11th round knockout win over the 36-year-old Kovalev made him a four-division world champion, but he’s been unable to fight since that contest.
“I’m the pound for pound number one in the world. I’m not scared of any opponent in the ring, and I’m not going to let failures of my broadcaster or promoters keep me out of the ring,” Canelo said in a statement.
“I filed the lawsuit so I can get back to boxing and give my fans the show they deserve.”
Even if the lawsuit is successful for Canelo, it doesn’t guarantee that he’s going to give “fans the show they deserve.” The fans want to see Canelo fight Gennady Golovkin in 2020, and that’s not going to happen.
GGG is planning on defending his IBF middleweight title against his mandatory Kamil Szeremeta next, and that fight still doesn’t have a date. If Canelo does return to the ring in 2020, the best boxing fans can hope for is him facing Billy Joe Saunders or Callum Smith.
The World Boxing Council recently approved Canelo to fight for their vacant WBC super-middleweight title against #1 contender Avni Yildirim. That’s a belt that Canelo expressed interest in fighting for, according to the WBC.
Canelo vs. Yildirim wouldn’t be a fight that the fans deserve. That fight would be a step down from Alvarez’s last contest against the aging Sergey Kovalev, who looked like a shell of his former self from the high point of his career in 2012.
Saunders still wants Canelo in 2020
If Canelo does return to the ring this year, Saunders is the guy that would be ready to face him. This week, Billy Joe announced on social media that he hadn’t gotten the fight that he wanted against Canelo. He now plans on going in a different direction.
Aside from Saunders and Smith, there aren’t a lot of options for Canelo this year. U.S. fans would prefer that Canelo fight David Benavidez, Caleb Plant, Jermall Charlo, GGG, or some of the light heavyweights like Artur Beterbiev and Dmitry Bivol.
Earlier this year, Golden Boy Promotions had planned on matching Canelo against WBO super middleweight champion Billy Joe Saunders for May 2020, but the fight failed to come off. The coronavirus situation interrupted those plans, making it necessary to put off the fight.
Later, there were attempts to reschedule the Canelo-Saunders fight for September, but Saunders needed more time to train to take-off weight. That left Canelo without an opponent.
Billy Joe would be an exciting match for British fans if the contest took place in the U.K. He’s not a great option for attracting subscribers to DAZN if that’s something that Canelo would be thinking about seeing. At this point, it’s unclear whether Canelo will remain with DAZN after the lawsuit concludes.
If so, he should look to face guys that that bring in subscribers, fighters that the U.S. fans know of and care about seeing Saunders and Callum aren’t big enough names to attract a lot of interest in the States. You hate to say it, but they’re probably in the same league as Rocky Fielding in terms of being known by the casual fans in the U.S.
The lawsuit could keep Alvarez out of action
“After extended discussions between the parties, DAZN offered to pay Alvarez and Golden Boy Promotions a fraction of the contracted $40 million license fee in cash and some DAZN stock in advance of a potential IPO,” the suit states via ESPN.
“However, the entire value of the package — for a bout against another World Champion — was substantially less than Alvarez’ contractual guarantee.”
According to the suit complaint, Canelo was asking Golden Boy to give him the option to fight with different broadcasters s that he could get the $35 million per fight, but they were unable to come up with anything.
There was interest in matching Canelo against the Saunders mentioned above and Callum Smith, but it’s unclear whether the money he would get from DAZN was as much as his contract stated he was supposed to get per fight.
Just how much fan interest there would be from a fight involving Canelo and Saunders or Smith in the United States is anyone’s guess.
Given that Saunders and Smith aren’t household names in the U.S. and lack popularity, it’s possible that the number of subscribers that DAZN would get from putting on a Canelo fight against one of them would be underwhelming.
It’s no secret that the fight that DAZN wanted was Canelo vs. Gennady Golovkin III. Only Canelo knows why he didn’t make the trilogy match with GGG in 2019 when the Kazakstan fighter was ready and eager to make that match.
Rather than face GGG, which was the fight that DAZN wanted, Canelo fought Kovalev and Jacobs. Those are good fighters, but there was no demand from boxing fans in seeing Canelo fight either of them.
GGG is the fight fans want
In recent years, Kovalev had been beaten twice by Andre Ward and Eleider Alvarez, and he was viewed as an older fighter on the downside of his career.
As for Jacobs, he’d already lost to Golovkin in 2017 and gotten lucky in beating Sergiy Derevyanchenko by a razor-close 12 round decision in 2019.
Again, only Canelo knows why the fight with Golovkin wasn’t made last year. That’s a fight that should have happened a year, as GGG almost lost his previous battle in October against Derevyanchenko.
At 38-years-old, Golovkin isn’t young enough to wait around for years, staying busy beating top tier fighters without eventually losing. It won’t be suitable for DAZN if Golovkin is beaten while waiting for Canelo to fight him finally.
It works against Canelo if he waits too long before fighting Golovkin, as he won’t get credit if he’s too old. Also, if Golovkin loses to someone before he faces Alvarez again, then that’ll hurt interest in the third fight between them.
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