Canelo vs Khabib: When DAZN considered offering Khabib Nurmagomedov a fight against Canelo ...

A professional boxing match between Canelo Alvarez and Khabib Nurmagomedov was reportedly in the making. Back in September 2020, the combat sports world was set abuzz with debates and discussions that DAZN was considering offering Khabib Nurmagomedov a fight against Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez.

While certain sections of the combat sports community first reacted to this news as though it were a joke – perhaps, at best, a mere rumor – it soon dawned upon fans and experts alike that DAZN indeed gave this matchup serious consideration.

Khabib Nurmagomedov, an MMA legend best known as a grappling specialist, would’ve made his professional boxing debut against one of the most dangerous professional boxers of all time.

Now, to call Canelo Alvarez, a striking specialist would be a severe understatement. A true master of the striking-centric martial art of boxing, Alvarez is widely regarded as one of the most technically proficient pugilists of all time.

Had this professional boxing match between Khabib Nurmagomedov and Canelo Alvarez come to fruition, it’d have likely been a much bigger mismatch than 2017’s ‘money fight’ between Conor McGregor and Floyd Mayweather Jr.

Today, we revisit the bizarre story surrounding the proposed boxing match between Khabib Nurmagomedov and Canelo Alvarez.


Canelo Alvarez was being pitted against fighters like Khabib Nurmagomedov, Jorge Masvidal, and Oscar De La Hoya in 2020

In case you missed the bizarre story involving Canelo Alvarez, Golden Boy Promotions, and DAZN – given the rise of the COVID-19 global pandemic and related pandemonium in 2020 – we've got you covered. Veteran boxing journalist Dan Rafael of ESPN posted a series of tweets last year wherein he concisely explained the Canelo vs. DAZN saga.

The tweets also addressed the fact that DAZN aimed to book Canelo Alvarez in boxing matches against fellow high-profile combat sports figures such as Khabib Nurmagomedov, Jorge Masvidal, and Oscar De La Hoya. Fans can read some of the notable tweets from Rafael's Canelo-DAZN Twitter thread below:

As noted by Dan Rafael, DAZN wanted Canelo Alvarez to fight twice a year, with at least one of these two fights being against a “premium” opponent. The problem, however, was that DAZN hadn’t offered Alvarez a definitive list of premium opponents. A handful of opponents who were considered premium by DAZN included Khabib Nurmagomedov, Jorge Masvidal, and Oscar De La Hoya.

The problem, in this case, was that Nurmagomedov and Masvidal weren’t professional boxers and were under contract with the UFC. Meanwhile, boxing legend Oscar De La Hoya was 47 years of age at the time and hadn’t competed in a professional boxing match since 2008.

Fellow professional boxing icon, Gennady Gennadyevich Golovkin, was considered a premium opponent by DAZN. Regardless, given the $35 million-plus paycheck that DAZN would owe Canelo for the fight, a trilogy fight between him and GGG would likely be off the table.

The belief was that Canelo Alvarez in a boxing vs. MMA crossover fight or a nostalgia fight against De La Hoya would garner much more revenue than a fight against GGG or another current top boxer.

Ultimately, Canelo Alvarez didn’t fight any of the aforementioned opponents, and that’s not all. There was another tectonic shift in this story, one that was a long time coming.


Canelo Alvarez parted ways with Golden Boy Promotions and DAZN after filing a lawsuit for breach of contract

The gist of the contract dispute is this: Canelo Alvarez asserted that he aimed to fight more often. Back in 2018, Alvarez had signed an 11-fight deal worth $365 million with DAZN. The Mexican boxing megastar was promoted by Oscar De La Hoya’s Golden Boy Promotions at the time.

While the deal seemed incredibly lucrative at first, it gradually started to fall apart. Disagreements between Canelo Alvarez, Golden Boy Promotions, and DAZN adversely affected the momentum of the talented boxer’s career. These disagreements reached a crescendo when Canelo Alvarez filed a federal lawsuit. His legal team cited breach of contract as the cause, among other things.

The writing was on the wall. Canelo Alvarez wanted to be free. Alvarez and the millions of fans supporting the world-renowned boxing savant strongly emphasized that he ought to be freed from the contract.

As reported by ESPN last year, Canelo Alvarez finally became a free agent after he, Golden Boy Promotions, and DAZN reached a settlement whereby he was released from his contract. Alvarez has since worked with Eddie Hearn but has been exercising an abundance of caution regarding long-term contracts with any promoter.

CBS Sports also confirmed that Canelo Alvarez was free of his contract with Golden Boy Promotions and DAZN.

The belief is that Canelo Alvarez is likely to continue working with top-tier boxing promoters like Eddie Hearn, albeit not on a long-term contract basis. His past two fights were promoted by Hearn’s Matchroom Boxing.

Canelo Alvarez’s last fight took place at the AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas, on May 8th, 2021. It witnessed Alvarez become the first fighter to defeat Billy Joe Saunders, as BJS’s team threw in the towel after the eighth round.

A thunderous uppercut from Canelo Alvarez had seemingly fractured BJS’ orbital bone, due to which he was unable to continue the fight. With an impressive stoppage victory over the previously undefeated Billy Joe Saunders, Alvarez won the WBO super middleweight title and retained his WBA (Super), WBC, and The Ring super middleweight titles.

Presently, the consensus in the boxing world is that Canelo Alvarez is likely to fight IBF super middleweight champion Caleb Plant next and unify the super middleweight belts.

Meanwhile, Khabib Nurmagomedov retired from the sport of MMA in October 2020. It’s believed that he’s unlikely to compete as a professional combat sportsperson in the future since his mother doesn’t want him to fight professionally without his father by his side.

However, in a recent interview, Javier Mendez hinted that perhaps 'The Eagle' could make a comeback to combat sports. If this were to happen, here's a list of five potential opponents the world would love to see him face.

Also Read: Watch: Khabib Nurmagomedov returns to AKA and has hilarious interaction with coach Javier Mendez


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Edited by Avinash Tewari

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