Almost two years ago, Canelo Alvarez and Golden Boy Promotions left HBO (which is now out of the boxing business altogether) to start a new partnership with streaming service DAZN. The 11-fight, $365 million deal raised immediate eyebrows and DAZN undoubtedly believed they could “disrupt” the pay-per-view market by having a boxing superstar on a monthly subscription service.
If only it were that easy.
Three fights into the deal, Canelo is no longer affiliated with Golden Boy, and consequently the DAZN agreement is also null and void. Following an ESPN report on Friday morning that Alvarez was a free agent after he was granted his released by Golden Boy, Oscar De La Hoya has confirmed that his successful but exceedingly strained business relationship with Alvarez is now over.
“The lawsuit was resolved to everyone’s satisfaction, and we wish Canelo the best going forward. In strong partnership with DAZN, we will continue showcasing our wide array of talent, including rising superstars like Ryan Garcia, Jaime Munguia and Vergil Ortiz Jr., all of whom have the talent and potential to become the next biggest star in our sport,” De La Hoya wrote in a prepared statement.
So Golden Boy/DAZN is still alive but without by far the most profitable and most successful fighter on the roster. Alvarez (53-1-2, 36 KOs) last fought a year ago against Sergey Kovalev, and you may recall that DAZN ridiculously and deliberately delayed the main event start time until after UFC 244. Perhaps that was a fitting way for the partnership to prematurely end.
Canelo recently filed (and then due to a technical error, refiled) a lawsuit against De La Hoya, Golden Boy Promotions, and DAZN citing breach of contract. He sought declaratory relief and wanted to continue his career with no ties to either GBP or DAZN. Throughout this pandemic the tensions have run high, as Canelo and DAZN have been at odds over money and appropriate opponents given the lack of a full live gate and other traditional sources of revenue.
Alvarez aims to fight in December, potentially against IBF super-middleweight champion Caleb Plant (20-0, 12 KOs), who’s affiliated with Premier Boxing Champions and thus it would likely be a Showtime or FOX PPV.