Canelo Alvarez will be challenging WBA light heavyweight champion Dmitry Bivol on May 7th on DAZN pay-per-view for $59.99 for subscribers and $79.99 for newly signed subscribers to the streaming giant.
The fan reaction to the announcement of having to pay to watch Canelo challenge WBA 175lb champion Bivol (19-0, 11 KOs) is a mixed one, as many fans resent the idea of now needing to shell out money for a platform that was previously non-PPV.
A lot of fans are upset about learning that they’ll need to pay to see Canelo fight, but they’re going to have to get used to it because this is likely going to stay this way moving forward.
It was obviously not cheap for Matchroom and DAZN to sign Canelo to a two-fight deal, and they’re in negotiations for a third fight in December. The options for that fight are WBC cruiserweight champion Ilunga Makabu and John Ryder.
In September, Canelo will be facing Gennadiy ‘GGG’ Golovkin in a trilogy fight, assuming both fighters win their next contests. IBF middleweight champion Golovkin (41-1-1, 36 KOs) is fighting WBA champion Ryota Murata in April on DAZN.
PBC’s deal was more lucrative than Matchroom’s
“There were significant discussions with Canelo and his team, and was very much in play,” said Showtime president Stephen Espinoza to Fight Hub TV reacting to Canelo Alvarez choosing to sign a two-fight deal with Matchroom Boxing rather than PBC.
“There was a very aggressive offer put on the table initially for one fight [Jermall Charlo] and then later on for two [Charlo and David Benavidez], an offer that was significantly more lucrative than I believe the offer that was on the table for DAZN,” said Espinoza.
“Canelo and Eddy [Reynoso], they run their own business and they have their own criteria. If they think that’s what’s right for them, more power to them. We would love to continue to do business with them, and who knows?
“The Charlo fights, the Benavidez fights, there are other fights. He’s gone to other platforms and done business with them. The door remains open, and we would love to do business with him in the future if this one doesn’t work out.
“It was significantly more lucrative than what DAZN had on the table. At least from my understanding from what I was told,” said Espinoza about the two-deal offer PBC presented for Canelo to fight Jermall Charlo on May 7th and David Benavidez on September 17th.
“We were in discussions for a Showtime pay-per-view event,” said Espinoza on where Canelo would have fought had he accepted the two-fight deal. “No, not really [on Canelo & Reynoso not giving feedback on why they rejected the offer].
“It’s not something we push. If someone says, ‘Okay, we’re going in a different direction,’ we understand. You make your own business decisions, and the door remains open. There are plenty of good fights,” Espinoza said.
For Canelo to turn down a bigger offer from PBC, suggests that he’s confident about his ability to beat Jermall Charlo or more likely David Benavidez.
If Canelo thought he could beat those guys, he would have agreed to Espinoza’s deal.
Espinoza hopes to sign a deal with Canelo in future
“He’s got a lot left in his career, and hopefully our paths cross again, hopefully in the future,” said Espinoza about Canelo. “I think we had a compelling package, and I’m certainly not completely objective to it.
“But I think in terms of legacy, I think in terms of fan appeal, in terms of the excitement of the styles, I think the [Jermall] Charlo fight is the most exciting, the most desirable fight and probably the most lucrative fight and probably the most biggest event possible.
“Personally, if I was in his shoes, that’s the fight that I would have taken, but they’re their own men, they make their own decisions, and I got to respect their decisions,” said Espinoza on Canelo & Reynoso choosing to reject the Charlo and Benavidez two-fight deal.
“David [Benavidez] has the David Lemieux fight and we’re looking to slot that in the schedule. We’re looking at Phoenix in April or May somewhere around there.
“With respect to Jermall, he was holding out, waiting for this, and if it turns out definitively that we’re not getting the fight, there are a number of opponents that we’ve talked to and some that are really attractive.
“With a little bit of luck if we get some cooperation on the other end, we’ll be able to announce a fight that will make a lot of people happy,” Espinoza said about Jermall Charlo.
“That might be a possibility [Caleb Plant vs. Jermall Charlo]. I don’t know how close that fight is, but I think there are a couple of other good options that will surprise people. I’ll keep quiet not to impede the process.
“You know my own personal philosophy. You talk too much about a deal and it tends to ruin it. Jermall is looking for a big fight. You know, another big signature win, a statement fight against a top-five, top ten type of opponent and we’re doing our best to lock that in for him,” said Espinoza.
If Canelo is interested in resisting Espinoza’s two-fight deal to face Jermall Charlo and David Benavidez, he’ll swing back that way in 2023 to take the $100 million being offered.
What’s likely is Canelo will return for a fight with Charlo, but not Benavidez. I think Canelo knows that he doesn’t have the youth, stamina, or punch output to beat a fighter like the 25-year-old Benavidez.
For that reason, Canelo will agree to the Charlo fight, but he’ll have Espinoza replace Benavidez with someone beatable like 37-year-old Anthony Dirrell.
Canelo possesses speed advantage
“Bivol is a good fundamentally sound fighter and he’s got a good solid punch,” said Espinoza when told that a lot of boxing fans believe Bivol is the toughest opponent for Canelo.
“He [Bivol] doesn’t have the quickness, the athleticism, the movement that I think Canelo does. Size is what makes it interesting. It’s not a particularly interesting clash of styles.
“Not every Bivol fight has been the most exciting, but there’s interest in the challenge of seeing Canelo in a new weight class.
“But at least domestically, here and in Latin America, North America, the Charlo fight was the bigger fight [for Canelo].
“He was certainly more well known, and it’s a bigger fight commercially, but another thing that Canelo wanted to do was cross another weight class and another challenge off his list.
“He’s certainly entitled to make that decision at this point in his career,” said Espinoza.
The size and boxing ability of Bivol could overcome Canelo’s hand speed advantage that he’ll have going for him in this fight. Also, Canelo has a very, very low work rate, and he might be outworked by Bivol.
The Russian fighter’s trainer will have noticed that Canelo isn’t capable of throwing more than a small handful of shots each round, and he could have Bivol outwork him.