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Sources: Canelo Alvarez finalizing deal with DAZN to stream his fights

Kevin Iole
Combat columnist
Canelo Alvarez lands a left hand in his win over Gennady Golovkin in September. (AP)

DAZN, the online streaming service that has gone all in on the fight game since debuting in the U.S. last month, is closing in on a deal with the biggest draw in the sport. Canelo Alvarez and DAZN are finalizing a deal that would see the WBA-WBC middleweight champion land with the free-spending streaming service, sources told Yahoo Sports.

Terms were not available, but it is expected that the deal will be a long-term agreement. Golden Boy Promotions, which promotes Alvarez, will get dates on DAZN beginning in 2019 to replace those it lost when HBO announced it was pulling out of boxing, sources said.

Alvarez, who defeated Gennady Golovkin last month in an HBO pay-per-view bout in Las Vegas that sold 1.1 million, is going to fight Rocky Fielding on Dec. 15 in New York for a super middleweight belt. No television deal has been announced for that show, though there is a news conference scheduled for New York on Wednesday.

DAZN already has IBF-WBA-WBO heavyweight champion Anthony Joshua, so Alvarez’s addition would give it a powerful 1-2 combination at the top to draw in viewers at its $9.99 monthly charge. At issue would be how to pay Alvarez, given so much of his money has come through pay-per-view upside.

Alvarez made around $50 million for his first bout with Golovkin, which sold 1.3 million. At $9.99 a subscriber, if DAZN got 1.3 million subscribers, it would generate only $12.987 million a month.

It is believed that Golden Boy CEO Oscar De La Hoya reached the deal with John Skipper, the executive chairman of the Perform Group, the global sports media company that owns DAZN. Skipper was formerly the president of ESPN.

DAZN is the latest entry into a boxing broadcast landscape that has suddenly gotten crowded. ESPN has signed Top Rank through 2025 to air its boxing cards, and the sport is also a staple of its streaming service, ESPN+, which was announced in April. ESPN’s broadcast of Terence Crawford’s 12th-round stoppage of David Benavidez on Saturday drew a peak of 2.708 million, the largest audience on either broadcast or cable for any combat event this year.

Though HBO announced it is leaving boxing at the end of the year, Fox will begin a new deal in partnership with the Premier Boxing Champions, and Showtime announced it has extended its deal with the PBC.

Showtime, ESPN and Fox all have pay-per-view models built into their programs, while DAZN does not.

DAZN, though, has been offering top-dollar to boxers to sign with the service. It announced a $1 billion deal with Matchroom Boxing USA to stream 32 fight cards per year on its over-the-top service.

Although no broadcast has been announced for Alvarez-Fielding, HBO remains a possibility. HBO has boxing events on its schedule on Oct. 27, with Danny Jacobs and Sergiy Derevyanchenko fighting for the vacant IBF middleweight belt; and on Nov. 24, with Dmitry Bivol defending his WBA light heavyweight belt against Jean Pascal.

If De La Hoya needs a broadcast outlet for Alvarez-Fielding on Dec. 15, HBO would be amenable to doing it as a pay-per-view, but it is not expected to stand in the way of Alvarez’s new venture given their lengthy history together.

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