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Is Canelo done for 2020?

Canelo Alvarez

By Matt Lieberman: Canelo Alvarez could be done for the year unless his lawsuit against DAZN, Golden Boy, and Oscar De La Hoya is speedily wrapped up in time for him to schedule a fight for 2020.

The trial would need to be completed quickly for Canelo to be able to schedule a fight against a top tier opponent,

If Canelo is going to stay with DAZN, they would need to iron out how much he’s paid per fight.

Assuming DAZN expects Canelo to face only premium opposition for him to get approved for his $35 million per fight purses, then he’ll only rarely get that amount.

Alvarez only rarely fights premium guys

Canelo has only faced a small handful of premium fighters in his career with his fights against Floyd Mayweather Jr and Gennady Golovkin.

If Canelo had fought Shane Mosley, Sergey Kovalev, and Miguel Cotto earlier in their careers, they could have been considered premium fighters. But by the time Canelo fought them, they were old lions, who lost a lot from their game.

Canelo lost to Mayweather and arguably lost twice against Golovkin. Also, his wins over Cotto, Erislandy Lara, and Austin Trout were all controversial.

Canelo Alvarez

Canelo (53-1-2, 36 KOs) hasn’t fought this year, as his attempts at facing WBO super middleweight champion Billy Joe Saunders last May has gone down in flames for various reasons.

Alvarez was supposed to be fighting twice a year for DAZN, with at least one of the two being a premium opponent, according to Dan Rafael. DAZN reportedly didn’t want to pay Alvarez the full $35 million for him to fight Billy Joe Saunders or Callum Smith, which they feel are premium opponents.

There’s no argument there. If you saw Saunders’ last fight against Marco Coceres, it’s clear that he’s nowhere near being a premium opponent.

Callum looked even worse in going life and death in beating John Ryder by a questionable 12 round decision in November of last year. However, what DAZN likely means in wanting Canelo to fight a premium fighter is they want him to face opposition that will bring in subscribers.

It doesn’t matter that Callum and Saunders are good basic belt-holders. What they’re not are guys that will create a lot of interest and bring in a massive amount of subscribers as Canelo’s opponent.

Not a lot of great options for Canelo at 168

The super middleweight division is filled with a lot of less spectacular fighters, most of which lack popularity and personality. Saunders and Callum are among the best in the division, but this isn’t a great weight class.

If DAZN were only going to pay Canelo the full $35 million for his fights against premium fighters, which are scarce, then it would set him up to where the vast majority, if not all, of his contests, would see him make less what he was making.

The list of fighters that DAZN considers to be premium is relatively small. According to Rafael, these are the guys that DAZN feels to be premium fighters:

  • Gennadiy Golovkin
  • Oscar De La Hoya
  • Jorge Masvidal
  • Khabib Numagomedov

It’s unclear why DAZN only has GGG and De La Hoya as premium fighters in of bo, as there are some outstanding talents in boxing that Canelo would attract a lot of interest fighting.

Canelo facing the likes of Jermall Charlo, Artur Beterbiev, and Dmitry Bivol would be huge fights. De La Hoya is 47, and he’s not seen action since retiring in 2008 following a loss to Manny Pacquiao.

Did DAZN make a mistake?

DAZN views De La Hoya as a premium opponent based on his popularity, and the same applies to the MMA fighters Khabib and Masvidal.

Canelo taking on any of those guys would be a terrible mismatch, worse than Floyd Mayweather’s circus fight against Conor McGregor. Khabib and Masival would be lost inside the ring with Canelo.

Canelo Alvarez

If they put a pair of boxing gloves on, they would be overmatched against Alvarez.

DAZN arguably made a blunder in giving Canelo a vast $365 million, 11-fight deal in 2018. It would have been better if DAZN had a fight by fight deal in which they would have the final vote of approval for any guy that Alvarez fought.

With Canelo’s history of selecting a lot of older fighters and less than premium guys, it was a questionable move on DAZN’s part to give him a big deal.

Some fighters seek out the riskiest opponents they can to give fans entertaining fights, but Canelo hasn’t been consistent in this area. As a result, we’ve seen Canelo fight the likes of Rocky Fielding, Amir Khan, Alfredo Angulo, Julio Cesar Chavez Jr, and Sergey Kovalev.

The list goes on and on to the beginning of Canelo’s career. He’s done his fair share of cherry-picking, and DAZN perhaps didn’t know what they were getting themselves into when they signed him in 2018.

They thought Canelo would fight Gennady Golovkin in a trilogy. It was clear that was a fight that DAZN wanted, but Canelo did his own thing, picking Rocky Fielding, Danny Jacobs, and Sergey Kovalev.

Why didn’t Canelo fight GGG?

Did Canelo face these guys to show DAZN that he wasn’t going to fight the guy they wanted to in GGG or was he ignorant of them wanting him to make that fight? Was it a situation where Canelo wanted to age Golovkin before fighting him again?

Canelo Alvarez

That’s what some boxing fans believe. Golovkin 38 now. If Canelo had fought him for the third time in December 2018, Golovkin would have been 36, and still young enough to potentially give him problems.

DAZN is correct in not viewing Canelo’s last three opponents Rocky Fielding, Danny Jacobs, and Sergey Kovalev, as not being “premium” opponents.

Kovalev is pretty shot at this stage of his career, and Jacobs was never great, to begin with. He loses when he steps up against acceptable opposition.

Fielding was a paper champion only and nowhere near being a premium fighter. Only Canelo knows why he wanted to fight Fielding so severely. Was it to add a title to resume superficially?

DAZN got it right

It’s hard to disagree with DAZN with them not viewing Kovalev, Jacobs, or Fielding as premium fighters. Kovalev was considered as the fourth-best champion when he held the WBO 175lb title in 2019. He wasn’t the fourth-best fighter in the division.

Canelo Alvarez

There’s is unquestionably some contenders that would likely beat Kovalev, but he was a belt-holder because he beat Eleider Alvarez to win the WBO title. This is the same Eleider that was recently knocked out by Joe Smith Jr.

DAZN did give the green light for Canelo to face the British super middleweights Billy Joe Saunders and Callum Smith, but they didn’t view them as “premium” fighters.

As a result, they were said to be looking to reduce Canelo’s $35 million payment if he were to face one or both of them, according to Rafael. Just how far DAZN was looking to slash Canelo’s pay for him to fight Callum or Saunders is unknown.

I’ve heard they wanted to cut it in half to the $17 million range. Whether Canelo would make that much money fighting Callum and Saunders on another network platform is anyone’s guess.

If Canelo tried to face Saunders or Callum on Showtime, Fox, or ESPN pay-per-view, the numbers would likely be insufficient.  You never know, though.

Saunders and Callum fail to move the needle

Canelo is popular and maybe his fans would be willing to pay to see him fight Callum or Saunders, but not in high numbers. The average fan would likely turn up their nose at the idea of paying to see Canelo fight either of them.

Canelo Alvarez

What we don’t know is if Canelo was told by DAZN who they felt were premium fighters. If Canelo knew who DAZN wanted him to fight and he still chose not to make those fights, then you can’t give him a pass.

Canelo can stay on top longer if he’s strategic with the way he picks his opponents. So instead of facing Golovkin, David Benavidez, or Caleb Plant, he targets Saunders or Callum. Those are better match-ups for Canelo.

But if Canelo was in the dark about who constituted as being a premium fighter, then it’s understandable why he chose to fight Kovalev and Jacobs. However, it’ hard to believe that Canelo didn’t realize that he was facing less than the best in taking on Jacobs and Kovalev.

Jacobs is a good fighter, but he’d already been beaten a couple of times. At 168, Jacobs would likely lose badly to David Benavidez and Caleb Plant. Edgar Berlanga and Callum Smith would be a problem for him as well.

Kovalev, Fielding, and Jacobs aren’t bums, but they’re also not among the best in their respective weight classes.

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