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Historic Canelo contract mired in legal limbo

By Murray Greig | China Daily | Updated: 2020-09-16 09:46
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Saul "Canelo" Alvarez has filed a US federal lawsuit claiming breaches of contract by streaming giant DAZN, Golden Boy Promotions and its CEO, Oscar De La Hoya. AP

Less than two years after signing the richest multi-fight deal in boxing history, Saul "Canelo" Alvarez wants out of it-but he's going to have to wait.

The four-division world champion, universally recognized as the current pound-for-pound king, filed a lawsuit in Los Angeles on Sept 11, citing breach of contract by streaming giant DAZN, Golden Boy Promotions and its CEO, Oscar De La Hoya.

Alvarez (53-1-2, 36 KOs) signed a $365-million deal with Golden Boy and DAZN in 2018, covering 11 fights at $33.1 million per outing against "premium" opponents selected by the network and promoter. But as of now, the 30-year-old Mexican has fought just three times, beating Rocky Fielding, Daniel Jacobs and, most recently, WBO light heavyweight champ Sergey Kovalev last November.

According to ESPN, Alvarez is seeking $280 million in damages, which represents what he's owed for the remaining eight fights, in addition to sponsorship and gate revenue.

Two days after it was filed, the lawsuit was dismissed in a Los Angeles court due to an error by one of the Mexican star's lawyers. They have until the end of the month to amend the mistake.

The judge reportedly wants Alvarez's lawyers to specify which of the DAZN entities they are suing. De La Hoya told ESPN the snag won't end the case, but the promoter hopes the error will allow both parties to "reset" and "work together" to reach a resolution.

The World Boxing Council recently approved Alvarez to fight for its vacant super-middleweight title against No 1 contender Avni Yildirim, but Golden Boy and DAZN would not go for it because they don't consider Yildirim a worthy foe.

Golden Boy planned on matching Alvarez against WBO super middleweight champ Billy Joe Saunders in May, but the fight failed to come off because of the pandemic. There were subsequent attempts to reschedule the bout for this fall, but when Saunders requested more training time to drop weight, it was scuttled.

The only blemishes on Alvarez's record are a majority-decision loss to Floyd Mayweather Jr (2013), and draws against Gennady Golovkin (2018) and Jorge Juarez (2006).

Even if both sides agree to work together to resolve the case, the complaint makes it clear that Alvarez is prepared to go to court.

"This lawsuit arises from the breach of the single largest contract in the history of boxing, and one of the largest in all of sports history," the lawsuit reads, per ESPN.

"I'm not scared of any opponent in the ring, and I'm not going to let failures of my broadcaster or promoters keep me out of the ring," Alvarez said in a statement. "I filed the lawsuit so I can get back to boxing and give my fans the show they deserve."

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