How Canelo Alvarez Became Boxing's Biggest Star
The champ is drawing PPV numbers other fighters could only dream of.
When Canelo Alvarez became the biggest celebrity in the sport of boxing, it was hard to really put your finger on why.
As the most successful Mexican boxer of his generation he clearly carried the pride of his fight crazy countrymen, but in a sport that had become accustomed to the flash and flamboyance of Floyd Mayweather, and the press conference controversy of Tyson Fury, the taciturn champion was always content to sit back and give the praise to his team and country.
Despite his singular loss and enormous win record at such a young age, it was difficult to escape the feeling that Canelo had only been given the boxing spotlight because Mayweather had retired.
In fact, it was his fight with Mayweather in 2013 that really brought Canelo to the attention of fans outside of Mexico. The 23-year-old may have been outclassed by his more experienced opponent, but he was able to parlay his increased attention into a career defining win streak.
He won his first middleweight title by going the distance with the legendary four division champion Miguel Cotto, made his first defence by absolutely equalising English superstar Amir Khan, and then went back down to light middleweight to crush Liam Smith and win a belt in a second consecutive division.
His two-fight series with Gennady Golovkin, resulting in a draw and a victory, was an instant classic that secured him a second middleweight title.
Thanks to this dream run, Alvarez was now drawing the kind of pay per view numbers other fighters could only dream of.
Just ask John Skipper, DAZN Executive Chairman:
Canelo has sold three point six million buys in his last three pay per view fights for a total subscription revenue of close to a quarter of a billion dollars.
Canelo signed a new contract with streaming giant DAZN worth a reported $375 million over five years. It was the single richest sporting contract in history. Yet Canelo broke the news with his trademark calm.
I'm very happy. This is a very historical moment for me. And it's historical for Mexico. I'm Mexican. Doing this is very important so I'm grateful to DAZN, I'm grateful for this contract and I'm happy to be allied with DAZN for this contract.”
Now officially the biggest name in the sport, Alvarez celebrated by moving up a division to win a title in a third weight by beating Rocky Fielding.
But it is his most recent career move, jumping two divisions and 15 pounds to face a legitimately terrifying champion in Sergey “Krusher” Kovalev, that has removed any doubts about Canelo’s claims to legendary status.
Add to that the comprehensive manner of his victory - few people have been more unconscious than Kovalev looked in the 11th round - and Canelo Alvarez’s position as the biggest name in the sport is unassailable.
Now a four-division champion at only 29-years-old, there is simply no telling how big of a star the Mexican warrior can become.