Canelo Alvarez sues Oscar De La Hoya, DAZN, alleging breach of $365M contract

Canelo Alvarez filed a lawsuit against Oscar De La Hoya and Golden Boy Promotions, his promoter, and DAZN, the streaming service for his fights, alleging breach of his $365 million contract on Tuesday, The Athletic’s Mike Coppinger reported.

Alvarez is seeking no less than $280 million in damages, per the complaint filed in the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California and obtained by Coppinger.

“I’m the pound-for-pound No. 1 in the world,” Alvarez said in a statement to The Athletic. “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. I filed the lawsuit so I can get back to boxing and give my fans the show they deserve.”

Why is Alvarez suing Oscar De La Hoya?

Canelo Alvarez and Oscar De La Hoya sit at a table.
Canelo Alvarez is suing Oscar De La Hoya and his Golden Boy Promotions. (AP Photo/John Locher)

Alvarez, one of the sport’s biggest stars, finalized a 10-fight, $350 million deal with DAZN in October 2018. The new deal came after HBO announced it would stop broadcasting boxing. It included an already scheduled fight at the end of 2018 that brought it to 11 years and $365 million.

It is the richest multi-bout contract for a fighter in history and was to pay him $35 million guaranteed for each fight. Alvarez has fought twice so far under the contract. But he has only been paid about half of the guaranteed money, per The Athletic.

“DAZN executives balked at paying Alvarez his full purse, arguing that the star boxer failed to fight a premier opponent, as required by his contract.”

Alvarez, 30, reportedly asked Golden Boy to find a new broadcast partner so he could fight again in 2020, but it failed to find one, per the lawsuit. Hence why he is including Golden Boy and De La Hoya, its CEO, in the lawsuit.

Golden Boy: Fight is with DAZN

Stefan Friedman, a spokesperson for Golden Boy, said in a statement to ESPN that the fighter’s “beef is with DAZN.” He said it’s the streaming company that’s “refusing to honor” the contract because it won’t approve opponents and refuses to pay the contracted amount.

“Even though our contract specifically gives Golden Boy the right to wait until the pandemic is over and fans can return; in the best interest of boxing, Golden Boy is doing everything it can to make great fights happen. We remain ready, willing and able to make a fight for Canelo as soon as possible.”

Friedman added: “Contrary to the complaint, Golden Boy has an equal approve right over Canelo's opponents. Nobody from Golden Boy ever promised anyone that Canelo would fight any specified opponent. We simply agreed to put on the kind of premiere, history-making fights we worked on together in 2019.”

Alvarez’s last fight was in November 2019. He was scheduled to fight in May against Billy Joe Saunders, but it was postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. He has no fights on the schedule.

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