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Canelo Alvarez’s HBO contract ends after Gennady Golovkin rematch; De La Hoya to explore options

It’s not just Gennady Golovkin who’s HBO contract is up after Saturday night’s pay-per-view blockbuster. The same is true for Canelo Alvarez.

The Gennady Golovkin vs. Canelo Alvarez rematch might be the last time we see either man on an HBO platform in the foreseeable future.

Just days after the Los Angeles Times reported that Golovkin’s HBO contract was nearing expiration, journalist Lance Pugmire has got another scoop confirming that this is also the final fight of Canelo Alvarez’s deal with the premium cable giant.

Golovkin’s promoter Tom Loeffler indicated that he wasn’t exactly satisfied with the $1 million purse for the Kazakhstan native’s May fight vs. Vanes Martirosyan, and according to Pugmire’s article, Golovkin himself apparently felt that “HBO seemed unsupportive of his plan to fight a replacement opponent in May after Alvarez was suspended for six months for submitting two positive tests for clenbuterol.”

As for the Canelo side, Oscar De La Hoya seems a little more direct as far as what’s in store for the Mexican superstar, and the grim outlook for HBO Boxing.

“It makes me wonder if HBO even wants to be in boxing,” De La Hoya told the Los Angeles Times on Wednesday.


“Given the circumstances that boxing is in line at this moment, with ESPN, DAZN and the fact that Fox television has paid millions and Showtime’s doing many things, it’s going to be very interesting for us and Canelo to see what HBO can do to keep him. ... HBO’s been my family since I started boxing and it has been my family up until today. I’ve always given HBO the first and last opportunity, but this is a business and I must do what’s best for my fighters. I want to do what’s best for Canelo’s career, and right now particularly, boxing is big business on television, with more than 200 fights on a year.”

Alvarez has fought on HBO since 2014, and appeared on the network several times between 2010 and 2012. HBO had a falling out with Golden Boy Promotions, primarily due to problems with then-Golden Boy CEO Richard Schaefer, which led to Canelo and other Golden Boy fighters appearing on Showtime. When Schaefer resigned from Golden Boy — that’s another story in itself — HBO and De La Hoya patched things up and Canelo returned to HBO.

Right now, Golden Boy is essentially one of the few promotions filling HBO’s dates. As mentioned before, HBO’s boxing budget has been substantially slashed from even ten years ago, and Showtime — in large part because of Al Haymon’s Premier Boxing Champions, which features many ex-Golden Boy fighters — has the bulk of the top talent at the moment. HBO was not committed to broadcasting the rematch between Eleider Alvarez and Sergey Kovalev (a fight which Alvarez won by KO in a major upset), and it looks like that fight will be shown on ESPN.

This isn’t to say Canelo or GGG are destined not to re-sign with HBO, but with PBC’s combined $120+ million per year from FOX and Showtime, streaming service DAZN’s estimated $125 million per year, and ESPN reportedly in the $60 million per range for Top Rank, HBO is not exactly a powerhouse anymore. Their budget is smaller than that of their competitors.

HBO Boxing has been in existence for 45 years, but it’s anybody’s guess as to how much longer they’ll commit to airing the sport. Meanwhile, one of the biggest storylines in the aftermath of this Saturday’s pay-per-view rematch in Las Vegas is now the fact that we might see big bidding wars for both Canelo and Golovkin, as the boxing landscape in the US takes a major turn heading into 2019.