Canelo Alvarez’s bombshell lawsuit against DAZN, Golden Boy Boxing, and Oscar De La Hoya is unfortunately the most attention Canelo has been able to garner in 2020. Instead of facing Billy Joe Saunders or Callum Smith or Gennadiy Golovkin, the Mexican superstar has begun what figures to be a nasty court battle over his promotional agreement with Golden Boy and his $365 million contract to fight on DAZN.
One of DAZN’s wants is for Alvarez, at least once per year, to fight someone whom they deem to be a “premium” opponent. Golovkin fits the bill, but evidently neither Saunders nor Smith does, and neither Daniel Jacobs nor Sergey Kovalev did last year either. At middleweight and through light heavyweight, there are a lot of great fighters but simply not a lot of big names that can “move the needle” for DAZN, per se. So who exactly qualifies as “premium” in DAZN’s world? According to veteran boxing report Dan Rafael, it’s uh... two UFC stars and Oscar De La Hoya.
DAZN approved Callum Smith & BJS for Canelo but not as "premium" guys & wanted to dramatically cut license fee. I'm told DAZN would consider (not joking) De La Hoya, Jorge Masvidal & Khabib "premium" foes even though Oscar is 47, not since '08 & other guys aren't boxers. (more)— Dan Rafael (@DanRafael1) September 9, 2020
It seems unfair/unrealistic to give guy only one bona fide choice to fight in GGG when the contract doesn't specify that, according to the suit. To not consider Jacobs, Kovalev or Smith "premium" opponents is not legit to me. (more)— Dan Rafael (@DanRafael1) September 9, 2020
Yeah. Maybe there was a little more to De La Hoya’s comeback than meets the eye. There’s no way that either Khabib Nurmagomedov or Jorge Masvidal would be sent by the UFC to DAZN to take on Canelo and those are such absurd circus fights in the first place. Canelo might as well fight Jake Paul if it’s going to come to that.
If “premium” effectively means that it’s opposition who would draw the equivalent of 1 million buys for a Canelo fight, then GGG is the only “premium” opponent. Reading between the lines, it looks a lot like DAZN really just wanted to have the Golovkin trilogy right away and when that didn’t happen, things took a negative turn regardless of the pandemic. Golden Boy reportedly promised DAZN a third fight with GGG, but this wasn’t actually written into the contract so there’s nothing legally binding.
Anyway, Alvarez is seeking at least $280 million in damages from DAZN for (among other things) breach of contract. This is only the beginning of what could be a very contentious proceeding that will sideline Canelo indefinitely.