Canelo splits with Golden Boy and $365m deal with DAZN ripped up
Mexican boxer Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez has parted ways with promoter Golden Boy and ended his $365 million deal with DAZN, the international over-the-top subscription broadcaster.
The split comes just two months after Alvarez sued both the streaming platform and Golden Boy, headed up by Oscar de la Hoya, for damages of least $280 million, filing a lawsuit in a federal court in California accusing the two parties of failing to honour the terms of the contract.
It was reported on Friday that the suit had been settled, with Golden Boy receiving no money as its contract with Alvarez comes to an end.
As a result of the pandemic, but also wrangling over the DAZN contract, Alvarez has not fought this year, with the company claiming that Golden Boy had not fulfilled its obligation to deliver one premier fight per year.
Alvarez’s suit alleged that Golden Boy failed to meet its fiduciary duty to the boxer and that “Alvarez has suffered harm and damages, including, but not limited to, the denied guaranteed payments, lost gate revenue, and opportunities for ancillary revenue associated with bouts, such as sponsorships and apparel revenue."
The Mexican thus ends a long-standing relationship with Golden Boy, whom he has been with since 2010.
The middleweight boxer, one of the sport’s biggest pay-per-view draws, signed a five-year, 11-fight deal worth a minimum of $365 million with DAZN just a month after the service launched in USA in 2018, but had threatened to not fight at all this year.
Since signing the deal with DAZN, the boxer has had three pay-per-view fights on the OTT platform, against the UK’s Rocky Fielding, USA’s Daniel Jacobs and Russia’s Sergey Kovalev.
Alvarez was set for a super middleweight bout against the UK’s Billy Joe Saunders on 2 May, but it was called off due to the pandemic, and Golden Boy was believed to be in discussions to arrange a clash with fellow Briton Callum Smith before the end of the year.
However, it was understood that neither a bout with Saunders nor Smith was considered a huge fight by DAZN on a par with the likes of Gennady Golovkin, who Alvarez fought in two high-profile encounters in 2017 and 2018.
A much-anticipated trilogy seemed imminent after DAZN signed a three-year, six-fight deal with Golovkin in 2019, but it failed to materialise almost two years after the agreement with the Kazakh boxer.
DAZN’s deal with Alvarez was regarded as the biggest such contract signed with an individual athlete, and the broadcaster felt it was yet to see a significant return on that outlay.
The OTT service and Golden Boy were at loggerheads over the contract, with the latter reportedly rejecting the notion that it had to deliver one premier event each year.
DAZN is now set to focus on other boxers, having recently announced its global streaming service will officially launch on 1 December, with the high-profile Anthony Joshua versus Kubrat Pulev heavyweight boxing bout to headline the month's offering.
The global OTT offering was to go live in over 200 countries at the end of April, but the outbreak of Covid-19 and the subsequent impact on the company's business delayed proceedings.
A beta testing phase began on 24 July, with a Golden Boy Promotions fight, which was streamed free of charge to those who had previously registered their interest in the service, and the global launch is now planned for the start of December, priced at just £1.99 ($2.61) or €1.99 ($2.36) per month.
DAZN's business model - monthly subscription fees with no long-term contracts - meant it was most susceptible to the suspension of live sport earlier this year, but the company now expects its global subscriber base to return to pre-Covid-19 levels, around 8 million, during the fourth quarter, with the global OTT service at the core of that target.
The streaming platform is active in Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Italy, Canada, Japan and Spain, but in September announced it was winding down its dedicated offerings in Brazil and USA, folding them into the global service.
Meanwhile, Fight Sports, the international combat sports television channel owned by New York-based CSI Sports, has acquired exclusive rights to show next month’s bout between US boxers Errol Spence Jr. and Danny Garcia in over 30 countries.
The channel holds rights in countries throughout Asia and Europe for the 5 December fight, which will take place at the AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas, the 80,000-seater home of the NFL’s Dallas Cowboys.
It marks WBC and IBF welterweight champion Spence’s first fight since being involved in a car accident last year.
Last month, Fight Sports showed Vasily Lomachenko’s win over Teofimo Lopez.