Canelo Alvarez appears set to take a two-fight deal with Matchroom Boxing and DAZN, which will bring pay-per-view to the streaming service for the first time.
Mike Coppinger told ESPN’s State of Boxing that Canelo has agreed to the deal and Dmitry Bivol has signed a contract for a May 7 light heavyweight title bout, but that Gennadiy Golovkin — the intended second opponent for Canelo in September — still hasn’t signed off on it and has issues on his end.
Golovkin is back in training and expected to face Ryota Murata in an April middleweight unification bout. Canelo vs GGG 3 would depend on Golovkin beating Murata, which he’s expected to do but it’s certainly no guarantee. The Canelo-GGG trilogy bout would be at super middleweight for Canelo’s undisputed championship.
The deal is reportedly worth “upwards of $85 million,” which is short of the reported money PBC were offering for Canelo to face Jermall Charlo and David Benavidez in May and September, but Coppinger says Canelo “rejected the offer” about 10 days ago and there has “been no dialogue since.”
Canelo (57-1-2, 39 KO) fully unified the super middleweight division over an 11-month period from late 2020 to late 2021, winning the WBC and WBA titles against Callum Smith, adding the WBO belt against Billy Joe Saunders, and then beating Caleb Plant for the IBF title last November. He also fought Avni Yildirim between Smith and Saunders, so he had four fights in that time period, which is extremely busy for a modern fighter of Canelo’s stature.
2022 looks like it will be a two-fight deal, but he could look to take a fight in December; at the very least, it’s not out of the question.
Canelo had his historic contract with DAZN ended before it came to full terms in 2020. He did stay with DAZN fight-by-fight for his bouts against Smith, Yildirim, and Saunders, but jumped over to PBC and FOX Sports for the fight with Plant, and spoke highly of working with them.
But Canelo is a fighter who isn’t going to tie in with any promoter or network long-term; it seems he feels he’s learned a lesson with that, and that he’s going to take the deals he wants from here on. As the biggest money fighter in the sport, he’s taken control of his own career.
Bringing pay-per-view to DAZN is going to cause a stir with some, probably, but in all reality, it was inevitable. DAZN have still not gotten a proper foothold in the United States after three-plus years, and when a hot-and-cold niche sport like boxing is really the main attraction on your service for a market, that’s going to happen. There just isn’t a major U.S. market for things like darts and snooker. Canelo sells on pay-per-view. Eddie Hearn had talked about the inevitability of pay-per-view coming to DAZN in the United Kingdom for things like Anthony Joshua fights, but he stayed quiet about the U.S. side of things, because frankly he doesn’t have anyone on roster worthy of pay-per-view in the United States.
With Canelo, even on a short-term deal, he does. Where they would be wise is to not make people be paying subscribers to order a pay-per-view; ESPN+ does this for boxing and UFC PPVs, and it’s a mess of a system, and ESPN+ is a lot cheaper than DAZN month-to-month. In simple terms, you can’t ask people to pay $20 and then pay another $80. But we’ll see what they do.
As far as the fights, do you like the plan? Are you OK with PPV coming to DAZN, or at least the logic of it?