Bad Business Makes Canelo Alvarez A Lonely Boy


How is it that boxing’s biggest active attraction and money generator, Saul “Canelo” Alvarez, can’t seem to find an opponent for his upcoming May 2 fight date?

Blame bad business for that.

“There have been multiple offers out there,” Alvarez promoter Oscar De La Hoya recently told DAZN’s Chris Mannix. “They’re all on the table. It’s funny because everyone talks a big game — ‘Well, I want Canelo, I can beat Canelo.’ That’s BS. Nobody wants to fight Canelo. They’re all afraid of him. He is the superstar in boxing and if you fight him, you’ll make the most money. What’s the problem? Pull the trigger. Let’s make these fights happen.

“I’ve offered BJ Saunders a fight [against Canelo] and he’s balking at it…I want [Callum] Smith to fight [Canelo] and he’s balking at it. I have four other guys that I can negotiate with and talk to. If you guys don’t take it, then we’re moving on to somebody else. But [Canelo] will fight in May.”

Most recently, that May 2 Cinco de Mayo weekend slot as Canelo’s B-side was offered to super middleweight world titlist Callum Smith. In the recent past, the British star had been practically begging for the opportunity to meet the Mexican superstar, but  he turned down that opportunity when it was actually offered to him just last week.

“He’s an idiot,” De La Hoya told ESPN. “Callum Smith is a good fighter and has an amazing shot of beating Canelo and he turns it down?

“Callum Smith turned down the fight and he would have made three to four times the money he has ever made and he turned it down…I wish him all the best and hopefully he can make the same money somewhere else. But Callum Smith, the most dangerous fighter out there at super middleweight, is out there and he’s bragging how he wants to fight the best and he turns it down? What’s wrong with these fighters? What’s happening with the legacies? It’s all business now.”

Yeah, all business. And that takes us to the “why” behind the “what.”

Ever since streaming service DAZN signed Canelo Alvarez to a multi-fight, $365 million deal, potential opponents for the cash cow have been gouging the company for exorbitant payouts because they know that a major contract player without viable opposition is virtually worthless.

Daniel Jacobs and Sergey Kovalev got more than seven times their previous highest payday, raking in $14 million and $12 million, respectively, to face Alvarez last year. They also got lucrative post-Alvarez deals after losing to the streaming service’s marquee name.

So, is it any wonder why future Canelo opponents would want similarly massive payouts?

“They want a lot of money.” Alvarez told ESPN deportes when asked about why it’s been so difficult to sign an opponent. “When they’re going to fight with ‘Canelo’ they want the moon and the stars. That’s the complication. But there are a lot of options out there and there’s has to be someone out there.”

Recent buzz has Billy Joe Saunders doubling back to accept a Canelo bout. If that does, indeed, prove to be the case, then one can assume the pot was sweetened to make him do so. And, again, that’s just bad business.

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