Note: As posted on my weekly boxing blog @World Wide Boxing Facebook.com
New York: Go back to November 2018 when Canelo Alvarez signed a 11- fight $365 million five year contract with DAZN and there was Oscar de La Hoya by his side. There were smiles on a podium at Madison Square Garden in New York.
The Garden was the appropriate place to announce the largest and lucrative contract with a fighter, promoter, and network. Alvarez was on a path to supremacy as the best pound-for-pound fighter. He would eventually add to his resume with two more titles at super middleweight and light heavyweight.
It seemed DAZN was in his corner. I questioned where de La Hoya stood. Then again, I always questioned his business decisions as head of Golden Boy Promotions. When de La Hoya split his ties with Richard Schafer, then I had many questions.
I had my doubts. I was under the impression this deal with DAZN and Oscar was not going to be a happy marriage in that Alvarez was leaking some comments about his displeasure being around de La Hoya and that preference of getting the proper opponents.
Besides, I was not content with the outcomes of two fights with Gennady Golovkin and stand to my opinion that Golovkin won that first fight for the middleweight titles. I want to see a trilogy between the two that will put an end to that chapter.
I was not a fan of Canelo Alvarez after those two fights with Golovkin in addition to allegations and his eventual suspension of using steroids. Not that I questioned his skills, to me, it was boxing politics and protecting Alvarez’ record with a quest to become the marketing tool for a sport that desperately needed a face, and the Mexican based WBC sanctioning organization was showing a preference to their champion.
And the end of that chapter with Golovkin is still in the balance. Canelo Alvarez is in command, and right now the king of boxing in the ring along with business decisions that are working to his advantage. A third fight is under discussion with Triple-G, but there may not be a demand to see it.
And the demand is not there right now because Canelo Alvarez has other plans, and he can call the shots. His status as the major player and richest free agent in the sport gives him the opportunity to call the shots.
So move ahead. Canelo Alvarez parts ways with Golden Boy last year and promotes with Matchroom Boxing and is victorious in December against Callum Smith. Thursday, he is doing more business with Matchroom and Eddie Hearn with a two-fight deal that begins in February against Avni Yildirim.
So Alvarez has his differences with de La Hoya and DAZN, the newest of the streaming networks and the usual boxing mess ends with litigation. Canelo Alvarez, in turn, is the richest free agent in boxing and remains the highest paid modern athlete.
But this is boxing and a sport where anything goes. And Canelo Alvarez, since then, has continued to cement his legacy and to many is the pound-for-pound best that can be debated. But you can’t debate that Canelo Alvarez is setting a tone for other fighters.
So why is Canelo setting this tone that has rival promoters and networks talking and looking at their next moves? More so, boxing is beginning to see this change and transition as to how one fighter with the leverage can call the shots.
Because of Canelo Alvarez, in a bracket with himself, deciding who or what is next, and that is unprecedented, fighters with or without star magnitude are taking notice.
And with boxing in a struggle to maintain strong ratings on Showtime, FOX, FS1, ESPN, and streaming platforms such as DAZN, Canelo Alvarez is the advantage for promoters and has the liberty to play the game and choose his spots.
Pay-Per-View boxing is another outlet for Alvarez. Why not? With exception of the PPV circuses that involved Floyd Mayweather Jr. with Conor McGregor, and the November Mike Tyson-Roy Jones Jr. spectacle, boxing pay per view events last year could not surpass over 300,000 buys.
So boxing fans draw to the spectacle that generates revenue. The sport and survival with pay-per-view depends on the interest that revolves around Canelo Alvarez.
You won’t see Mayweather in a real bout, though he returns to the ring against Logan Paul on pay-per-view which will create revenue, though Friday it was reported that date has been pushed back from February 20.
But you will see Canelo Alvarez and possibly two more times this year. He had that epic return against Smith after being away a year from the ring, Alvarez, a one or two times a year fighter has so many options at Middleweight or super middleweight.
WBO title holder Billy Joe Saunders, IBF holder Caleb Plant, or former champion David Benavidez are some of the possibilities at 168
Light heavyweight seems to be a thing of the past. Then again you never know what Canelo Alvarez will do next.
And that is the point here, because this boxing free agent with the platforms, marketing, and the name has set his strategy. Canelo Alvarez is going to have a busy year ahead.
And boxing fans, perhaps the casual one as well, they will follow Canelo Alvarez. He can make fighters, networks, and promoters the revenue. And not many fighters today have that ability.
Rich Mancuso: Twitter@Ring786 Facebook.com/Rich Mancuso YouTube “Sports With Rich” Like, Comment, Subscribe.
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