The market value of one of the boxing superstars is about to be tested.
On Friday, Canelo Alvarez announced a split from Golden Boy Promotions, setting the stage for perhaps the most lucrative run of his career. That says something when you consider that in 2018 he signed an 11-fight contract with streaming network DAZN, which was valued at $ 365 million two years ago.
Alvarez will never see the end of that contract after the differences of opinion between him, DAZN and Golden Boy prove irreparable. In the end, however, he could have something better – a situation that allows Alvarez to set his own price for the rest of his career.
Alvarez is ready to follow in the footsteps of Floyd Mayweather, the former pound-for-pound king of the sport who commanded massive purses a few times a year. Now that he no longer has his Golden Boy contract, 30-year-old Alvarez can go whatever route he wishes to cement his legacy as one of the greatest fighters in boxing history.
With that being said, what is his best option? Let’s take a look at the top 4 and see how they fit in.
Option 1: matchroom boxes
Let’s go ahead and get this out of the way. Yes, Matchroom has gained a lot of momentum in recent years as Eddie Hearn’s outfit has proven successful in both Europe and the US. Heavyweight champion Anthony Joshua remains one of the most famous athletes in the world, and his continued success will be of great importance to the advertising company.
However, it is highly unlikely that there will be a partnership between Matchroom and Alvarez. DAZN is Matchroom’s primary network. Matchroom has a great list of potential opponents for Alvarez – Billy Joe Saunders (Alvarez ‘pre-pandemic adversary), Demetrius Andrade, Callum Smith, and even Gennadiy Golovkin.
And that’s the big disadvantage of this split between Alvarez and Golden Boy. If those on both sides aren’t ready to swallow their pride, some of the sport’s best matchups are likely off the table.
Option 2: top spot
This is a good option for several reasons. Fighters like Teofimo Lopez and Terence “Bud” Crawford have benefited from an improved profile thanks to the Top Rank / ESPN partnership, and Alvarez could benefit from that notoriety as well.
Top Rank also has some good opponents that Alvarez can offer. At middleweight, the likes of the WBA “regular” playlist Ryota Murata and the former Rob Brant playlist are good options. If Alvarez is looking to move up to 175 pounds, there is a strong group with WBC and IBF title-holders Artur Beterbiev who could be the toughest opponent available for Alvarez.
Moving up into this weight class, however, is a pretty big risk for someone looking to start over. Top Rank has fewer but still competitive fighters like Eledier Alvarez, Jesse Hart and Michael Seals at 175. Aside from Beterbiev, Top Rank has no lucrative options for Alvarez.
Option 3: Premier Boxing Champions
If Alvarez goes to Al Haymons PBC, it will be hard to blame him. Sources have already told ESPN’s Salvador Rodriguez that Alvarez is targeting PBC fighter Caleb Plant for his next fight. The PBC stable offers Alvarez the largest selection of fighters for the future and, last but not least, does a good job of promoting his fighters. Sergiy Derevyanchenko and Daniel Jacobs, who fought Alvarez in 2019, could make for some exciting fights.
But nothing is arguably greater than a potential showdown against undefeated WBC title list Jermall Charlo, who dominated Derevyanchenko in September. After performing the best of his career, Charlo proved that he could be a worthy enemy for Alvarez if Alvarez is ready to make it happen. If not, there are several other fighters whose notoriety surpasses their ringing talent, which will result in winnable and fascinating fights.
Option 4: self-promotion
This makes the most sense for Alvarez. At this point in his career, he doesn’t need to be tied to a promoter. Its star power has even surpassed that of advertising companies in the industry. There is no reason for Alvarez to limit his future opponents to what boxing politics allows or to share wallets with more people. Mayweather set the blueprint for fighters who have the rare combination of elite craftsmanship and show manner when he decided to promote himself.
In this scenario, Alvarez has the chance to be even more lucrative than Mayweather. Alvarez doesn’t have any legal issues outside of the ring that make him uncomfortable for large companies. While Mayweather had Fortune 500 companies sponsoring his bouts, the former pound-for-pound king was dependent on additional sponsorships. Alvarez, on the other hand, has already signed a sponsorship deal with Heineken, which has accumulated behind him through advertisements and billboards for the Mexican beer company Tecate.
Whichever path Alvarez chooses, he has a full say in what happens as his career progresses. And rest assured, he will try to make money and make the most of his time as boxing’s biggest star.