Canelo Alvarez signs most lucrative contract in sports history with DAZN to stream fights
Arguably the biggest star in boxing is now among the richest the sport has ever seen
Fresh off the biggest victory of his career, unified middleweight champion Canelo Alvarez is now in possession of the richest athlete contract in sports history.
The Mexican superstar helped the all-sports streaming service DAZN continue its rapid expansion into the United States following a September launch by agreeing to a monstrous multi-fight deal early Wednesday, which confirmed the initial report from BoxingScene.com.
Alvarez (50-1-2, 34 KOs), the biggest star in American boxing, signed a five-year, 11-fight deal worth a minimum of $365 million with DAZN, per ESPN's Dan Rafael.
"Canelo is the highest-paid athlete in the world," Alvarez's promoter, Oscar De La Hoya of Golden Boy, told ESPN. "He's extremely happy."
De La Hoya is expected to announce the deal at Wednesday's press conference in New York to promote Alvarez's Dec. 15 return at New York's Madison Square Garden when he moves up in weight to challenge secondary WBA super middleweight titleholder Rocky Fielding in the first bout of his new DAZN deal.
Alvarez, 28, outpointed, which also marked his last bout with HBO after the premium cable network announced it . De La Hoya told ESPN that in addition to Alvarez, Golden Boy signed an undisclosed deal to promote 10 cards annually on DAZN beginning in 2019.
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A key part of the deal for boxing fans is that it removes the sport's biggest PPV star in the U.S. from the platform altogether as Alvarez's fights can now be accessed on DAZN, along with various other boxing and mixed martial arts events, for the monthly price of $9.99. DAZN, which doesn't do PPV bouts, will also have access to Golden Boy's fight library, which includes the careers of Alvarez and De La Hoya.
"This is only from my hard work," Alvarez told ESPN shortly after signing the deal at 1 a.m. ET at a hotel in Times Square. "The most important thing to me was being able to give the fans the opportunity to see me fight without having to pay the $70 or $80 for my fights on pay-per-view. That was the most important thing, more important than what I am making.
"It is very important for me to give the fans the biggest fights and the most important fights, and I promise you I will always do that. The December fight with Fielding is a dangerous fight. I am moving up in weight and I don't know how my body will feel. But I always want to take on challenges, and I am very happy my fans will be able to see me fight at a small cost."
In the ever-changing world of boxing's splintered broadcasting market in America, Wednesday's announcement is a big one for DAZN considering it is now the home of the sport's two biggest global stars. DAZN made a big splash over the summer by signing promoter Eddie Hearn of Matchroom Sport, with a stable including unified heavyweight champion Anthony Joshua, to an eight-year, $1 billion deal. Joshua fought on the platform's debut card following its U.S. launch when he defended his trio of world titles by stopping Alexander Povetkin in London on Sept. 22.
DAZN, which is owned by the U.K.-based Perform Group and overseen by former ESPN president John Skipper, also signed an exclusive deal with the World Boxing Super Series to stream a trio of tournaments promoted by Sauerland Events. DAZN, which also signed a multi-year deal with Bellator MMA, had previously launched in Japan, Canada and parts of Europe.
England's Fielding (27-1, 15 KOs) is largely unknown in the U.S. but brings with him a substantial size advantage as a former light heavyweight. In Fielding's only high-profile bout to date he was knocked out in the first round by Callum Smith in 2015.
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