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Will there be an end to the Canelo Alvarez saga?

Canelo Alvarez
Hogan Photos/Golden Boy Promotions
Canelo Alvarez could fight sooner than we think while Pacquiao-McGregor looks like a goer for the new year, writes George Gigney as he rounds up the news from the boxing media

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We could yet see Canelo Alvarez fight in a professional boxing ring this year. As reported by The Athletic – who have covered the Mexican’s fallout with DAZN and Golden Boy extensively – a 10-hour mediation session was held last week in an attempt to settle the dispute.

Canelo Alvarez, DAZN chief operating officer Ed McCarthy, Golden Boy Promotions’ Oscar De La Hoya and Eric Gomez, along with the respective legal teams of all three parties were reportedly all in attendance. “The tenor of the meeting was described as calm,” the report reads.

Sources told The Athletic that DAZN offered Canelo a restructured deal which would guarantee him upward of $20m per fight – along with upside tied to how many DAZN subscribers each event generates. That last part is a significant kicker; it’s a similar structure to pay-per-view deals offered to fighters, where they earn a percentage of the PPV sales their fight generates. Importantly, Canelo would also work with DAZN on the selection of each opponent.

In theory, this new deal could see Canelo earn more than the $35m guarantee for a fight in the original contract, should a fight draw in a large amount of new subscribers.

Canelo is said to still be considering the offer, and he may well choose to push on with his lawsuit, but these are positive signs for a situation that looked hellish just a couple of weeks ago.

This week, Canelo’s legal team will have needed to submit amends to their initial lawsuit in order for it to be considered in court – if they don’t do so, it’s a sign that Alvarez could accept DAZN’s latest deal. That would be a great outcome for the sport.

This doesn’t seem to address Canelo’s ongoing issues with Golden Boy – it remains to be seen if he will still attempt to separate from them.

Canelo Alvarez

While Canelo may be boxing’s biggest star, his standing in popular culture is tiny compared to that of Conor McGregor, who this week announced he will fight Manny Pacquiao.

Audie Attar, who manages both fighters, confirmed to ESPN that there are serious talks for the pair to face each other in a boxing ring in late December or early January, and that it could take place somewhere in the Middle East.

In a statement, Pacquiao’s aide, Jayke Joson, confirmed the plans for a fight next year and added that some of Pacquiao’s earnings from the event would go to Covid-19 relief in the Philippines.

“For the sake of all the Filipino Covid-19 victims, Senator Manny Pacquiao will be fighting UFC superstar Conor McGregor next year,” Joson said.

“The huge portion of his earnings will proceed to those who are affected nationwide by the pandemic.”

To claim Pacquiao would be fighting McGregor “for the sake of Covid-19 victims” is almost laughable – Manny is very much involved in this for his own gains. Yes, he has long supported his people using his huge earnings from boxing, but a fight with McGregor would line his pockets like no other. Using some of that money to help his country’s fight against the pandemic, while admirable, will also go some way to helping his inevitable run for President of the Philippines.

Does the fight anger me, as a boxing fan? Not all that much. Yes, it would be interesting to see how far Pacquiao can push his 41-year-old body against the best at welterweight, but Manny only has so much left to offer the sport. It actually feels like the UFC would be missing out the most; Conor remains its biggest star and can still be involved in enormous fights there.

TalkSPORT picked up an interesting bit of news during the week; Manchester City Council approved plans for a new £350million indoor arena which could host boxing in the future. It would hold 23,500 people, making it the largest indoor venue in the UK.

It’s set to be completed in 2023 and hopefully by that point fans will actually be allowed to attend live events again.

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The outstanding Vasyl Lomachenko-Teofimo Lopez lightweight unification fight is still without a UK broadcaster, and Bob Arum is not happy.

“I don’t think any of the television networks in the UK have bothered to buy that fight,” he told IFL. “Where’s Sky and where’s BT and where’s ITV? If it’s such a great fight, how come nobody’s bought it?

“Meanwhile every bit of Eddie [Hearn]’s junk goes on Sky and they make the poor fans in the UK shell out money to watch all of this stuff.”

There is still plenty of time for the fight to be picked up – and you would think, with their relationship with Arum’s Top Rank, BT Sport would be a frontrunner – though this is also a fight that would take place in the early hours of a Sunday morning in the UK, and will likely come with a hefty price tag to acquire the rights for. We shall see, but it’s too good of a fight to not be aired in the UK.

Broadcasts

With Sky airing the cruiserweight World Boxing Super Series final and BT showing Josh Taylor’s super-lightweight title defence from London, there was plenty of boxing available to UK fight fans over the weekend. The best card of the week – topped by the Charlo twins in America – was also available in the UK, but only on FITE.TV for around £12.

You have to assume money was lost there – not many UK fans will have stayed up and shelled out for this card, despite it being an excellent one. No one on it is a legitimate star; it seemed a card destined for Sky or BT.

However, as Arum alluded to, it seems UK broadcasters are being more selective in which international shows they pick up. In these bizarre times, that’s no huge surprise.

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