By: Hans Themistode
Canelo Alvarez has watched from the sidelines as most of his contemporaries have either entered the ring, or have big fights lined up for the near future. The four division world champion however, has been forced to wait.
The current pound for pound star drew headlines and massive praise for securing a $350 million deal with streaming company DAZN in 2018. The relationship between both parties seemed to be going as well as it could be. Alvarez had a rather easy time in the first contest of his deal, knocking out the unheralded Rocky Fielding in the third round in late 2018. From there, Alvarez fought two more times, defeating former middleweight titlist Daniel Jacobs via unanimous decision before ultimately moving up two weight classes to dethrone WBO light heavyweight champion Sergey Kovalev in the 11th round.
Despite their good start, Alvarez has now grown acrimonious towards the streaming company and his promoter, Oscar De La Hoya and Golden Boy, and is seeking $280 million in damages.
“This lawsuit arises from the breach of the single largest contract in the history of boxing, and one of the largest in all of sport,” stated the complaint. 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. However, the entire value of the package — for a bout against another World Champion — was substantially less than Alvarez’ contractual guarantee.”
DAZN’s refusal to pay Alvarez what was promised to him may have led to this suit, but his promoter in Oscar De La Hoya also shoulders a heavy load in the blame as well.
“Given that DAZN had made it clear that it would not honor its contract, throughout the spring and summer of 2020, Alvarez repeatedly asked Golden Boy Promotions to explore alternative broadcast options for a fall 2020 bout. Although Golden Boy Promotions reported that it was talking to various broadcasters, it failed to put forth a single alternative plan by which it would pay Alvarez the $35 million it had promised him for each of his fights.”
For now, Alvarez will seemingly sit on the sidelines for an even longer period of time. The Mexican native has routinely made two appearances in the ring per year with both centered around Cinco De Mayo in May and Mexico’s Independence Day in September. Regardless of his yearly tradition, Alvarez watched as both Mexican holidays came and went.
Although fans of Alvarez will now be forced to twiddle their thumbs as he sits in boxing purgatory, the Mexican star has assured his supporters that he will return soon.
“I’m the pound for pound number one in the world,” said Alvarez in a statement. “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,” he said in a statement on Tuesday. “I filed the lawsuit so I can get back to boxing and give my fans the show they deserve.”
Golden Boy fully understands where Alvarez is coming from in terms of filing his suit against DAZN. However, they can’t seem to process why they have been dragged into this legal mess as well. As far they are concerned, they’ve held up to their side of the bargain.
“They’re the ones refusing to honor the contract by not approving the outstanding opponents we have presented to them and by refusing to pay the contractually required amount,” said Golden Boy spokesmen Stefan Friedman.. “Even though our contract specifically gives Golden Boy the right to wait until the pandemic is over and fans can return; in the best interest of boxing, Golden Boy is doing everything it can to make great fights happen. We remain ready, willing and able to make a fight for Canelo as soon as possible.”