Free Agent Canelo Alvarez Has Plenty of Options

By Paul Magno on October 3, 2018
Free Agent Canelo Alvarez Has Plenty of Options
The Big Four, Showtime, Fox, ESPN, and DAZN are hungry for marketable high-end talent.

The easiest transition may be to join Showtime, which is still embracing the PPV business model that made Canelo a very rich 28-year-old…

When HBO closed its doors to boxing after a 45-year relationship, a handful of high-end stars affiliated with the network suddenly found themselves shoved out into the open market.

Saul “Canelo” Alvarez was, by far, the premium cable channel’s biggest attraction at the time they decided to do away with boxing. But the Mexican star, who wielded his star power as leverage into a favorable network arrangement, was more of an independent contractor with an HBO preference than a true “house” fighter in the strictest sense of the word.

As such, Alvarez never got the mega-push from network execs or the fawning adulation from the on-air broadcast team network stars usually get. HBO made mutually-beneficial deals and happily hosted Alvarez’s fights, but one never got the feeling that Canelo was ever really part of the HBO Team.

When middleweight Kazakh KO machine Gennady Golovkin emerged as a potentially bankable—and infinitely more controllable—presence, the push from the network was to jerry-rig a Canelo-Golovkin series. And while the HBO suits would never admit it, the idea was probably to have “Triple G” crush Alvarez and get a nice little piggyback ride to next-level stardom in the process. Then, the network would have a true star of their own—one who demanded a smaller share of the money and was all-around more of a “good boy” employee.

But networks don’t dip their toes into the actual judging of bouts and HBO’s probable plans fell short when judges’ scorecards were read after two close fights. Golovkin, the house fighter and network darling, would emerge from two Canelo fights 0-1-1 with a battered image and the feeling that, perhaps, he was not quite as good as the HBO hype had painted him to be.

After the second high-profile Canelo-GGG bout, it was revealed that both fighters’ contracts with HBO had come to an end. The decision to kill off HBO Boxing would answer all questions as to why the network chose not to secure deals with both fighters prior to their big pay-per-view clash.

And this led to free agency for Saul Alvarez.

With Showtime, Fox, ESPN, and DAZN left in the boxing broadcast business—all hungry for marketable high-end talent to fill more and more TV dates—the demand for Canelo should be great. He is, after all, the top draw in not only the US, but in all of the Americas and a top draw worldwide as well.

So, where will Canelo go?

The easiest transition may be to join HBO’s premium cable rival Showtime, which is still embracing the PPV business model that made Canelo a very rich 28-year-old. With Showtime affiliated with the Premier Boxing Champions brand, the move across the street could line up possible bouts with Jermall Charlo, Jermell Charlo, Jarrett Hurd, or Julian Williams.

A decision to join Team ESPN would call for an uneasy alliance between Alvarez’s promoter Golden Boy and ESPN boxing house promoter Top Rank. And while the exposure would be tremendous on the sports network with access to over 90 million homes in the US, there are no real marquee names aligned with ESPN in the 154-160 lb. weight range. ESPN PPV is supposedly going to happen eventually, but at this point, there’d be no solid B-side to match against Canelo.

A move over to Eddie Hearn’s DAZN streaming project would be an interesting option. The newest player in the boxing broadcast business has deep pockets and a hunger to add prestigious names to their growing roster. They also have top middleweight contender Demetrius Andrade (who may be WBO champ after his scheduled October 20 date with defending titlist Billy Joe Saunders) and it’s a sure thing that Hearn-promoted Daniel Jacobs will be headed to DAZN after he faces Sergiy Derevyanchenko for the vacant IBF middleweight title in HBO’s final main event October 27.

Realistically, Alvarez is big enough to bring any and all challengers to him, so, he’ll likely be able to find quality opposition wherever he goes. But, for the company that brings him aboard, it’ll mean big business and an easier path to adding bigger names to their boxing roster.

That makes Canelo a prize acquisition.

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  1. te tumbo 03:55pm, 10/04/2018

    Btw, why won’t Gennady finally do some of the heavy lifting at MW by facing Derevyanchenko and NOT avoiding Charlo or even rematching Jacobs? because it looks, walks, and talks like a duck, it’s a DUCK.

  2. te tumbo 03:52pm, 10/04/2018

    Canelo has always represented Boxing not the corporate suits at HBO or its broadcast team of boxing-ignorant shills. Canelo did boxing a HUGE service by foiling HBO’s plans and finally eliminating that promotional hype-job Gennady who was never great and only looked good v. the series of tomato cans and mandatories he feasted on until his mid-30s and if he had defeated Canelo and Spike had defeated Lemieux Gennady-fanboys would be giving him another “mandatory” pass like they did for Wade and Monroe and never mind Vanes, i.e,. WTF was that about?!?anyway, Gennady-Hopers went from accusing Canelo of ducking, to Gennady would KO Canelo, to Canelo would never dare rematch Gennady, to “corrupt judging” that was actually chosen by Team Gennady and who defied HBO’s expectations by scoring the win for Canelo, fair and square. Canelo has come up the hard way and on his terms and conditions. an ATG in the making and accomplishing Lineal and Undisputed MW supremacy that Gennady never did or could.

  3. Casanovita de Ahome 09:44am, 10/03/2018

    That was the idea ....for Golden Boy and Red to have plenty of options…like taking target practice on Lemieux!

  4. thrashem 05:42am, 10/03/2018

    Sergiy Derevyanchenko may be heading to DAZN because Jacobs won’t get by Sergly. This guy is the rising star and Canelo better not fight or his crown is gone! You wanted GGG to come forward…
    HBO got out of boxing because of corrupt judging. That makes it not marketable!

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