Unified middleweight world champion Canelo Alvarez and the streaming service DAZN have agreed to a five-year, 11-fight deal that will pay the boxer at least $365 million — the highest-paying athlete contract in history.
DAZN became the broadcast home of boxing in the United States after HBO announced in September that it is getting out of the fight business. The signing of Alvarez kicks off the DAZN-boxing partnership with an exclamation point and plenty of zeroes.
Alvarez’s first fight under the contract will coincide with his move to super middleweight. He will meet secondary world champ Rocky Fielding on Dec. 15 at Madison Square Garden in New York.
“Canelo is the highest-paid athlete in the world. He’s extremely happy,” Oscar De La Hoya, Alvarez’s promoter, told ESPN after Alvarez signed early Wednesday.
His contract surpasses that of Giancarlo Stanton, who signed a 13-year, $325 million pact with the Miami Marlins in 2014. He is now with the New York Yankees.
In the post-Floyd Mayweather-Manny Pacquiao era, Alvarez emerged as boxing’s biggest star on the pay-per-view fight circuit. HBO and Showtime typically charged $80 per fight, but on DAZN, his two fights per year will be available to those who pay $9.99 per month for the streaming service.
“This is only from my hard work,” Alvarez told ESPN after signing the contract. “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’s 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 for a small cost.”
Alvarez said he has confidence DAZN will succeed.
“I was never worried because I’m very confident in myself,” he said. “I know how important I am to any platform I go to. I am very grateful to HBO and to Showtime for what they did for my career, but I am happy we’re moving forward and that I will be able to fight on a platform that is the future. I’ve always liked a challenge, and this is yet another challenger in my career.”
Alvarez, 28, is from Mexico. He has a 50-1-2 career record with 34 KOs.
—Field Level Media