Canelo’s Reach Across Weight Divisions and Sanctioning Bodies
By Steven Weinberg | Contributing Writer and Photographer
Published: August 09, 2019
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Saul “Canelo” Alvarez (52-1-2, 35 KOs) has made it well known that he has no desire to face Gennady “GGG” Golovkin (39-1-1, 35 KOs) a third time.
Following the first two bouts, however, Alvarez became one of the highest-paid athletes in the world when he signed a 5-year, 11 fight, $365 Million contract with DAZN – with the implicit understanding that GGG v. Alvarez III would happen… someday.
Shortly thereafter, GGG signed a six-fight, $100 million deal with DAZN with the goal of facing Alvarez a third time. It looked like the fight was going to happen.
Alvarez remained steadfast, however, saying he had no interest in fighting GGG, but softened his stance by saying the fight may happen if GGG wins a belt.
In the strange world of boxing, with no teams, schedules, or seasons to structure participation, whether Alvarez likes it or not, he and GGG are headed for a third fight, and the making of the match is reaching across weight divisions and sanctioning bodies.
It all started on June 26 when the WBC “promoted” Alvarez to the organization’s “franchise champion” from middleweight “world champion."
As most boxing fans were left wondering what a “franchise champion” is, what it means for Alvarez is that he is bestowed with a special status and no longer obligated to face his mandatory WBC challenger - WBC interim champion Jermall Charlo.
Practically speaking, Canelo has been maneuvered away from the ever-dangerous Charlo.
For better or worse, the boxing move was made out in the open as the WBC admitted the franchise designation was made via a mutual agreement between itself, Alvarez, and Golden Boy Promotions – Alvarez’s promoter.
The bone thrown to Charlo is that he has been elevated to full world champion status with all the obligations of mandatory defenses.
Because Alvarez was freed of his WBC obligations, he began to look for his next fight. Talks began wherein Alvarez would move up in weight and face WBO Light Heavyweight champion Sergey Kovalev.
The only problem was that Kovalev is set to face Anthony Yarde on August 24 in Russia. While Golden Boy reportedly offered Kovalev $6 million for the fight, the step aside money to Yarde was to come out of Kovalev’s purse.
What’s more, since Danny Jacobs was paid $12 million for his fight with Alvarez, Kovalev is aware that there is more money in the pot which he believes he is entitled to as a result of his resume, and what it will do to Alvarez’s resume should he lose.
Not surprisingly, the negotiations failed. If Kovalev gets past Yarde, the possibility of Alvarez facing Kovalev will undoubtedly be revived.
WBA Light heavyweight champion Dmitry Bivol is currently without a dance partner because of the WBC and IBF unification bout scheduled between Oleksandr Gvozdyk and Artur Beterbiev.
Bivol has been quite vocal about his ability to move down to Super-Middleweight to face one of the champions and has called out Alvarez numerous times.
Alvarez, who holds the 'regular WBA Super-Middleweight title and is under no obligation to defend it, has not entertained Bivol’s challenge.
Alvarez’s plans at Super-Middleweight are entirely unknown.
In the meantime, Alvarez announced that he would not be fighting on Mexican Independence Day weekend this September to secure an appropriate opponent in the future.
Golden Boy subsequently attempted to schedule Jaimie Mungia’s defense of his WBO Super Welterweight championship on the prized date. Interestingly, it was at a catch-weight of 151 pounds against welterweight Jesse Vargas.
Initially, internet sensation and Lightweight contender Ryan Garcia was to be the co-feature with Mungia. However, Garcia is not happy with being on the same card as Mungia and publicly stating he will not allow his name to be used to fill seats for Mungia’s benefit.
While Alvarez contemplated moving to Light Heavyweight and ignored his Super-Middleweight title, the IBF ordered Alvarez to defend its Middleweight title against Sergiy Derevyanchenko.
Purportedly Golden Boy signed an agreement with the IBF that if a deal were not made by July 29, Alvarez would be stripped of its title.
Negotiations commenced, DAZN, who owns Alvarez’s broadcast rights, approved of Derevyanchenko as an opponent so long as Alvarez took a $5 million reduction from his $35 million guarantee, Derevyanchenko sought $7 million to the $5.5 million offered by Alvarez’s team, and not surprisingly, negotiations failed.
Consequently, the IBF stripped Alvarez of its belt. Golden Boy expressed its displeasure with the IBF, despite their agreement, and Alvarez vented on social media that he was unaware of Golden Boy’s agreement and wasn’t being treated fairly.
I'm very upset and ashamed with my fans, to be unfairly stripped of my belt by the IBF, but specially when i did not have the knowledge of the agreement that GBP match maker had signed.— Canelo Alvarez (@Canelo) August 2, 2019
The IBF moved quickly and ordered that Gennady “GGG” Golovkin and Derevyanchenko face each other for their vacant Middleweight belt. Negotiations for the fight are underway.
If GGG and Derevyanchenko do not come to terms, GGG is Alvarez’s WBA Middleweight mandatory challenger.
Alvarez is now rumored to be in unification talks with WBO Middleweight champion Demetrius Andrade, who is also a DAZN fighter.
Presuming that GGG defeats Derevyanchenko, and Alvarez defeats Andrade, all four sanctioning bodies – the WBC, WBA, WBO, and IBF, and DAZN will have a say in each fighters’ next bout.
They know the most money to be made for every party involved is insuring that GGG v. Alvarez III is made.
If the WBC rules apply to Alvarez’s franchise belt, the WBC, WBA, WBO, and IBF rules require that each fighter pay 3% of their purses to each organization.
When the third fight occurs, because Alvarez is guaranteed to make $35 million, and GGG will at make at least $16.6 million, the organizations will split a minimum $12.4 million between themselves.
The sanctioning bodies simply cannot make that money anywhere else on the planet or with any other fight. Moreover, DAZN needs the fight to not only pay for the Alvarez and GGG contracts, but to gain new subscribers and continue to broadcast future fights.
Therefore, GGG v. Alvarez III will have to be made sometime next year under the guise of sanctioning rules and broadcast contracts.
Saul “Canelo” Alvarez effect on the business of boxing is immense.
So far, there have been a lot of twists and turns and six different weight classes affected because of Alvarez trying to make his next fight and not face GGG.
For better or for worse, boxing is a business, and Alvarez is simply a commodity to be marketed. When the sanctioning bodies and broadcasters want a fight to happen - it will.
The many fighters affected in the process are simply collateral damage. But not to be cynical, at least boxing fans have something to look forward to in 2020.
(Featured Photo: John Locher/AP)