Boxing’s biggest star is a free agent, only a short time after his record deal looked poised to change the market.
Saul “Canelo” Alvarez (53-1-2 36 KOs) is one of the best pound for pound fighters in the world, and one of the biggest audience draws, and the current standard-bearer for Mexican fighters and boxing fans. When he signed an 11 fight contract to help launch DAZN, a sports streaming service, it looked like he and Golden Boy CEO Oscar De La Hoya were poised to be the biggest and most accessible duo in boxing.
Now the relationship has totally dissolved. Alvarez and De La Hoya have verbally sparred in public, and the trio of Alvarez, Golden Boy, and DAZN have had serious issues securing fights for the Mexican superstar. Alvarez has not fought since his knockout win over Sergey Kovalev in November of 2019, which made him a four-division champion. With the inability to secure an opponent and proper payment, in September Canelo filed a lawsuit in federal court citing breach of contract on an 11-fight, $365 million deal signed in 2018. A subsequent mediation situation between all parties failed and the suit was refiled after a technical error.
“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,” according to the initial lawsuit filed in California. “However, the entire value of the package — for a bout against another World Champion — was substantially less than Alvarez’s contractual guarantee.”
Now Canelo has secured his release, it is rumored that he has a date an opponent in mind. Sources have reported to ESPN’s Salvador Rodriguez that the target is IBF Super Middleweight Champion Caleb Plant (20-0 12 KOs) who fights for Premier Boxing Champions. A Mike Coppinger tweet seems to confirm this news and marks Texas as a possible location.
Canelo’s trainer and manager Eddie Reynoso issued a quote regarding the news of the split, saying “All this time we have been working very hard in the gym with a lot of responsibility and discipline, to be in great physical shape and ready to fight this year and it will be!”
After a failed relationship with Golden Boy and DAZN, Alvarez has a unique opportunity. After setting the market in 2018 and pushing boxing in a new direction, he now finds himself again out front again, with his destiny in his own hands.