Canelo Alvarez signs largest contract in the history of sport

Boxer Canelo Alvarez at Madison Square Garden in New York. He will meet Rocky Fielding in a 12-round, super middleweight bout in December. (AP Photo)
Updated 17 October 2018
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Canelo Alvarez signs largest contract in the history of sport

  • A massive moneymaker when he fought on pay-per-view, Alvarez will be able to be seen for much cheaper on the sports-streaming service DAZN
  • A third fight with Golovkin could feature in the 11-fight deal after their draw and Alvarez’s narrow victory in the rematch

NEW YORK: Canelo Alvarez is boxing’s new $365 million man.
Alvarez has signed an 11-fight deal that his promotional company says is the richest athlete contract in sports history, guaranteeing the Mexican middleweight champion at least that much money to have his fights shown on the sports-streaming service DAZN, beginning with his next bout.
Alvarez will move up in weight to challenge WBA super middleweight champion Rocky Fielding on Dec. 15 at Madison Square Garden.
A massive moneymaker when he fought on pay-per-view, Alvarez will be able to be seen for much cheaper through the subscription service that launched in the US in September and now features perhaps the two biggest figures in boxing in Alvarez and heavyweight champion Anthony Joshua.
“We have No. 1 and No. 2. They’re the two most important fighters in the world,” DAZN executive chairman John Skipper said. “Canelo fighting on DAZN, we believe that that will help us attract some of the other fighters, some of the other premier fighters.”
Alvarez (50-1-2, 34 KOs) is coming off a victory over Gennady Golovkin in a middleweight showdown in September. That fight, like most of boxing’s biggest, was shown on pay-per-view. It cost $84.95 to be seen in high definition.
And while planning his next fight, Golden Boy Promotions also needed a place to put it. With HBO bowing out of boxing after this year, the company had talks with Showtime, ESPN and Turner Sports about televising Alvarez’s future bouts.
But Skipper made an aggressive offer for DAZN (pronounced Da-Zone) when he met with Golden Boy about two weeks ago and the deal was quickly finalized.
“John came with the best deal. John Skipper came, he wasn’t playing games,” Golden Boy President Eric Gomez said. “He said, our first meeting with him over two weeks ago, he came to our office and said, ‘I’ve got a blank check, I’m not leaving until we make a deal.’ And he put his money where his mouth is.”
Skipper said it wasn’t quite a blank check, but one that ensured Alvarez wouldn’t be taking a pay cut to leave pay-per-view. He said Alvarez’s last three fights generated 3.6 million buys and nearly a quarter of a billion dollars, making him someone who can be transformative to a subscription service focused largely — at least for now — on combat sports.
“So I’ve got to find those fans,” Skipper said. “They are going to want to watch his fights and they’re going to get to buy them for a lot less expensive than they did before.”
It will cost them $9.99 a month for a subscription in the US Under the five-year partnership, Golden Boy also will put on up to 10 fight nights per year that will stream live on DAZN beginning in early 2019.
Gomez said Alvarez is committed to fighting 11 times during the deal and willing to fight any of the contenders at 160 or 168 pounds. Alvarez said for now his plan is to return to 160 after the bout against Fielding (27-1, 15 KOs), a British fighter who appeared significantly taller than Alvarez, who will be trying to win a title in his third weight class.
A third fight with Golovkin would be a natural after their draw and Alvarez’s narrow victory in the rematch, but there would be plenty more options at middleweight if they don’t meet again.
Whoever he ends up with, at least Alvarez knows now where it can be seen.
“I’ve always said that when one door closes another one opens and we’re very happy with this new alliance that we’ve made with DAZN,” Alvarez said through an interpreter. “Forget about what the price is, the amount of money that we’re making. The most important thing is that fans can enjoy this fight at a very low price.”


‘No surprises’ about former Premier League duo Nordin Amrabat, Jurado flying high in Saudi Arabia

Updated 13 November 2018
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‘No surprises’ about former Premier League duo Nordin Amrabat, Jurado flying high in Saudi Arabia

  • Amrabat signed for big-spending Al-Nassr in the summer and has scored three goals in eight games
  • Jurado, meanwhile, joined Al-Ahli from Espanyol in the summer and his playmaking ability has resulted in the Jeddah giants succeeding

LONDON: A former Premier League coach is not surprised high-profile imports Nordin Amrabat and Jose Manuel Jurado are flourishing in the Saudi Pro League, believing they have the ability and the pedigree to inspire their clubs to mount a title challenge.
Amrabat signed for big-spending Al-Nassr in the summer and has scored three goals in eight games to propel Jose Daniel Carreno’s side up to third in the table. Jurado, meanwhile, joined Al-Ahli from Espanyol in the summer and his playmaking ability has resulted in the Jeddah giants becoming the second most prolific team in the league. Both clubs are hot on the heels of leaders Al-Hilal and are prepared to pounce should the champions slip up.
Dean Austin, the former Tottenham defender, coached both Amrabat and Jurado at Premier League club Watford and has kept a keen eye on their fortunes.
“I’ve followed their careers closely since I worked with them and I saw they had moved to Saudi Arabia,” Austin told Arab News. “I fully expected them to make a big impact as they are very good players and top professionals. It sounds like they are really enjoying themselves and good luck to them as they both work so hard.”
Amrabat, 31, became Al-Nassr’s fourth costliest player ever when he joined from Watford for £7.65m ($10.05m). According to Austin, he is capable of playing on either flank and has experience of playing in Holland, in La Liga and the Premier League.
Amrabat has said in previous interviews he feels he plays his best football on the left flank, where he can cut in on his favored right foot and have a crack at goal. He is playing on the left in a 4-1-4-1 formation at Al-Nassr.
“I felt he was good enough to play off either flank, but I guess the left might have been his preference,” said Austin. “If he is going to play there, I think you need a really quick, offensive left-back who is prepared to go past him and go on the outside. You need to have the correct balance in the team.”
Moroccan Amrabat was in many pundits’ team of the World Cup at the end of the group stages. His displays helped his team to a 2-2 draw with Spain and saw them narrowly lose out to Portugal.
“He had a good World Cup and I reckon there would have been a few clubs looking at him. He has pace, strength, a great desire and is a really willing worker. He wants to work,” Austin said.
Amrabat played in the same Watford side as Jurado in 2016 and they were reunited when Al-Ahli beat Al-Nassr 2-0 in Riyadh earlier this month. Jurado was taken to Watford and then to Espanyol by Quique Sanchez Flores, the coach who was offered the chance to take the top job at Al-Hilal earlier this year.
Sanchez Flores never made it to the Kingdom, but Jurado, 32, did and he is showing why he played at Real Madrid, Atletico Madrid and Schalke.
“He is a really good technician,” said Austin. “He is silky smooth and can pass off either foot. From the first day at Watford, you could tell he was seriously talented. He’s clever and a very talented footballer.”
Jurado did not pull up as many trees in the Premier League as Watford hoped and he lasted just one season before returning to Spain.
“He had an indifferent time with us,” said Austin. “He had some good games, but he found it tough in some others. He came to us from Russia and it was not easy to adapt. He found it very quick, but the Premier League is a very difficult league and he probably didn’t show us as much as he would have liked. Sometimes with Jose, it’s about trying to find the right balance of the team to have him in it.”
Al-Ahli coach Pablo Guede is fielding Jurado in a left-sided role just behind Djaniny, the big-money summer signing from Mexico, or as a No. 10 behind Djaniny and the prolific Omar Al-Somah.
Jurado scored his first goal in the 2-0 win over Al-Faisaly and pulled the strings in the 5-1 rout of Al-Fateh, claiming two assists. Jurado has played alongside Raul, won the Europa League and finished runner-up in La Liga twice, but Austin says the playmaker is “as humble as they come.”