International Sports

Boxing champion Canelo signs the richest deal in sports history with new $365 million contract

Key Points
  • DAZN signs five-year deal with Mexican fighter Canelo Alvarez.
  • Deal supersedes previous record contract for baseball hitter Giancarlo Stanton.
  • DAZN offers premium fight nights at a fraction of traditional pay-per-view costs.
Canelo Alvarez, left, throws a punch against Floyd Mayweather Jr. during a 152-pound title fight, Sept. 14, 2013, in Las Vegas.
Steve Marcus | Reuters

WBA and WBC middleweight world champion Canelo Alvarez and the streaming service DAZN have agreed a five-year, 11-fight deal that will pay the boxer at least $365 million.

The partnership is being described as the highest-paying athlete contract in history.

"I am humbled to be selected to lead this new vision for the sport of boxing, which without doubt will be for the benefit of the fans," said Alvarez at the announcement in New York on Wednesday.

DAZN became the broadcast home of boxing in the United States after HBO announced in September that it's getting out of the fight business. DAZN is owned by the U.K.-based Perform Group — it launched in Austria, Germany, Japan and Switzerland in August 2016 and moved into the U.S. market this year, making boxing one of its premium sports.

Its biggest fight night to date has been last month's world heavyweight encounter between Anthony Joshua and Alexander Povetkin, with the entire event card being offered for just $9.99, a fraction of what the traditional pay-per-view cost usually is in the U.S.

"By bringing Canelo's fights to DAZN, we will turn his pay-per-view success into a growth engine for subscribers — a truly transformational moment for our business and for the entire industry," John Skipper, the executive chairman of DAZN said at the announcement also on Wednesday.

Mexican fighter Canelo has fifty wins on his record and just one defeat, coming in 2013 in a controversial majority point's decision against Floyd Mayweather. His last victory came in a much publicized middleweight unification fight against previous unbeaten fighter Gennady Golovkin. That bout reportedly earned HBO $121 million, with Canelo himself taking home $5 million.

This new partnership will now elevate him to the top of the list of highest paid athletes, in terms of an annual fee for the contract duration. Canelo's value overtakes the 13-year, $325 million that the Miami Marlins paid to Giancarlo Stanton back in 2015. However, when the salary is broken down purely into an annual amount, Paris Saint-Germain soccer star Neymar still earns more, supposedly receiving $42.3 million a year.

DAZN's boxing partnership with Alvarez will kick in later this year with his move up to super middleweight to challenge British fighter and secondary world titlist Rocky Fielding on December 15 at New York's Madison Square Garden.