BOXING’S biggest superstar just became a free agent and this will have myriad effects on how the sport will hold up next year in light of the “new normal” and the effects of the ongoing pandemic likely to be felt for many months afterward.
The Golden Boy Promotions recently announced that Canelo Alvarez has been released from his contract after a lawsuit filed by the latter was amicably settled.
What’s interesting is that Alvarez has previously signed a deal with DAZN which was a radical departure from the traditional income streams of boxing. It has a streaming platform that charges monthly subscription fees as opposed to the pay-per-view model which charges one-time fees.
STRAW. Amidst the pandemic, boxing struggled, and only quite recently made a triumphant comeback into mainstream consciousness with the return of Vasyl Lomachenko, previously its top pound-for-pound fighter.
Lomachenko lost to Teofimo Lopez and while that fight generated enormous feedback due to its compelling nature, remember that boxing is a superstar driven sport and so its fortunes rise and fall with the capacities of its superstars.
Alvarez (53-1, 36 KOs) last fought in November 2019, when he defeated Sergey Kovalev to win the WBO light heavyweight division. Of course, the pandemic had something to do with it, but not everything.
He has sued Golden Boy for a breach of contract on an 11-fight deal so that means he had already been sidelined too much even before Covid-19. But now that the legal obstacles have been hurdled, he is set to make his own mark.
He can perhaps follow the footsteps of, ironically, the Golden Boy himself, Oscar de la Hoya, who made enough money to split from Bob Arum’s Top Rank and start his own promotional company. That template was soon followed by Floyd Mayweather Jr.
The common undercurrent we see is that these fighters had not only earned phenomenal success on top of the ring, they also had the financial gravitas to trailblaze their own paths.
Alvarez is big enough to craft a new template for fighters to follow suit, but what the sport also really needs right now is just for him to fight. Soon.
VERBATIM. “So you think right now you want to see me perform, you put a belt on the line. I’m sorry, but it’s like drugs. I just can’t say no. You offer me a title, you got me.” -Roy Jones Jr.
LAST ROUND. It’s on one of my best buddies since our high school days, Marcelino Co, who recently celebrated his birthday. Cheers!