By Mark Elezaj
Saul “Canelo” Alvarez has signed a record breaking five-year, 11-fight deal worth a minimum of $365 million with DAZN. The deal will start on Dec. 15 at Madison Square Garden in New York City, when Canelo moves up to super middleweight to fight Rocky Fielding.
This deal is now the highest paid athletic contract in sports history, bypassing the 13-year, $325 million dollar contract signed by Giancarlo Stanton in 2014, with the Miami Marlins.
“Canelo is the highest-paid athlete in the world. He’s extremely happy,” De La Hoya told ESPN after Alvarez signed. HBO tried to negotiate, making an offer for an HBO PPV event, but it decided not match the offer made by DAZN.
Although there had been rumors that the deal was going to happen, it was not until 1 a.m. Wednesday, when Canleo, signed the contract after a lengthy meeting with De La Hoya and Golden Boy Promotions president Eric Gomez.
Canelo is boxing’s biggest pay-per-view star since the retirements of Floyd Mayweather and Manny Pacquiao. He has generated hundreds of millions of dollars with his fights on HBO and Showtime PPV’s. This move to DAZN will take him off of any future PPV’s where his fights were around $80 each and place his next two fights per year on the DAZN streaming service, which only charges $9.99 a month (see my previous article on DAZN for any information).
When Canelo fought on pay-per-view, he earned money for every buy above a set threshold on top of his guaranteed payday. DAZN doesn’t offer pay-per-view, but Canelo will still earn more money beyond his guarantee based on the specific subscriptions that DAZN can reach throughout the life of this new deal.
“This is only from my hard work,” Alvarez told ESPN shortly after signed the contract. “The most important thing to me was being able to give the fans the opportunity to see me fight without having to pay the $70 or $80 for my fights on pay-per-view. That was the most important thing, more important than what I am making.”
“It’s very important for me to give the fans the biggest fights and the most important fights, and I promise you I will always do that. The December fight with Fielding is a dangerous fight. I am moving up in weight, and I don’t know how my body will feel. But I always want to take on challenges, and I am very happy my fans will be able to see me fight for a small cost.”
When asked if he was worried that he was moving to DAZN, he replied “Never. I was never worried because I’m very confident in myself.”
“I know how important I am to any platform I go to. I am very grateful to HBO and to Showtime for what they did for my career but I am happy we’re moving forward and that I will be able to fight on a platform that is the future. I’ve always liked a challenge, and this is yet another challenger in my career.”
“Being part of this historic deal will require me to prepare myself even more and offer fans even better performances. At the same time, I am humbled to be selected to lead this new vision for the sport of boxing, which will without a doubt be for the benefit of the fans.”
Although Canelo is the main part of the deal, De La Hoya was able to use him to secure different dates and license fees with DAZN for his company’s other fighters. The deal calls for Golden Boy to put on 10 “high-caliber fight nights” per year that will stream live on DAZN beginning in early 2019.
Those fights would include Jorge Linares, Rey Vargas, David Lemieux, Joseph Diaz Jr. Diego De La Hoya, Ryan Martin and Vergil Ortiz Jr., two of boxing’s top prospects.
“This is huge for boxing, huge for Canelo and huge for Golden Boy,” De La Hoya said. “Golden Boy is at the forefront of something very monumental for the sport of boxing.”
Because of how well the first Canelo vs GGG pay-per-view sold, Canelo earned around $50 million for his rematch with Gennady Golovkin, whom he beat to win the unified middleweight title on Sept. 15 in the year’s biggest fight. Now, Canelo will get a fee from DAZN for his fights as the streaming service continues to make a name for itself in the United States after successfully launching in Japan, Italy, Germany, Austria, Switzerland and Canada, where Canelo’s fights also will be included with a paid subscription.
“This is easily one of the best days in the growing history of Golden Boy Promotions,” De La Hoya said. “We are committed to making this sport as accessible as possible and at an affordable price for all the fans. My dream has been to make boxing a sport for all. DAZN has the perfect platform to make this dream come true, and with the biggest star in the sport at the helm of this journey, I have no doubts that we will succeed in unimaginable ways.”
Two weeks ago, De La Hoya met with John Skipper, the executive chairman of Perform Group, DAZN’s parent company, in Los Angeles. De La Hoya and Skipper knew each other from when Skipper was the president of ESPN. At that time, Golden Boy had a limited deal for a series of boxing events on the network.
“We were able to reach a conclusion of what Canelo is worth today and what he is worth tomorrow, and we worked out this deal,” De La Hoya said.
Skipper stated “We are thrilled to be exclusive partners with Golden Boy Promotions and Oscar De La Hoya,”
“By bringing Canelo’s fights to DAZN, we will turn his pay-per-view success into a growth engine for subscribers — a truly transformational moment for our business and the entire industry.”
This new deal makes DAZN the home for boxing’s two most significant superstars, Saul “Canelo” Alvarez and unified heavyweight champion Anthony Joshua. The new deal with Golden Boy also will give DAZN access to the roughly 7,000-hour library of Golden Boy’s fights, including videos from De La Hoya’s Hall of Fame career.
Also, ESPN and Top Rank recently entered into a seven year deal that runs until August 2025, calling for 54 live boxing events annually.
Al Haymon’s Premier Boxing Champions recently completed a four year rights deal with Fox which will start in December, and it also finalized a new, three year deal, with Showtime.
~The Fighting Voice~