Mexican boxer Canelo Álvarez has filed a lawsuit against OTT streaming service DAZN and Golden Boy Promotions for allegedly failing to deliver on the terms of a $365m (€310m), 11-fight deal.
In October 2018, DAZN signed a long-term US-focused rights deal with Álvarez in an agreement touted as the richest athlete contract in sports history. As part of the agreement, Golden Boy Promotions would put on up to 10 “high-calibre” fight nights per year that would be streamed live on DAZN.
Álvarez’s last fight was in November 2019, when he defeated Sergey Kovalev in 11 rounds. The Mexican had been due to fight in May but this was postponed due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
A disagreement has now emerged over the terms of Álvarez’s deal with DAZN and Golden Boy and the 30-year-old filed a lawsuit yesterday (Tuesday) claiming that the parties have not honoured the initial agreement. The lawsuit is seeking at least $280m in damages for Álvarez.
The lawsuit states: “After extended discussions between the parties, DAZN offered to pay Álvarez and Golden Boy Promotions a fraction of the contracted $40m license fee in cash and some DAZN stock in advance of a potential IPO.
“However, the entire value of the package – for a bout against another World Champion – was substantially less than Alvarez’ contractual guarantee.”
The lawsuit added: “Given that DAZN had made it clear that it would not honour its contract, throughout the spring and summer of 2020, Álvarez repeatedly asked Golden Boy Promotions to explore alternative broadcast options for a fall 2020 bout. Although Golden Boy Promotions reported that it was talking to various broadcasters, it failed to put forth a single alternative plan by which it would pay Álvarez the $35m it had promised him for each of his fights.”
Álvarez has fought three of the 11 fights outlined as part of the deal and currently has no bouts scheduled. In a statement, he said that he is “not going to let failures of my broadcaster or promoters keep me out of the ring”.
DAZN has declined to comment on the filing of the lawsuit.
In a statement, Golden Boy said: “Canelo’s beef is with DAZN. They’re the ones refusing to honour the contract by not approving the outstanding opponents we have presented to them and by refusing to pay the contractually required 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.
“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.”