LOS ANGELES • World middleweight champion Saul "Canelo" Alvarez has signed a lucrative long-term deal with sports streaming service DAZN that will see him earn at least US$365 million (S$503 million) over five years, it was reported on Wednesday.
Mexican star Alvarez, who dethroned Gennady Golovkin in their gruelling rematch in Las Vegas last month, will fight 11 times as part of the deal, starting with December's super-middleweight bout in New York against Rocky Fielding.
ESPN reported that the deal, which runs through 2023, is the most lucrative long-term athlete contract in history, shattering the 13-year, US$325 million deal signed by Major League Baseball's Giancarlo Stanton in 2014.
Alvarez's handlers at Golden Boy Promotions, run by former world champion Oscar De La Hoya, brokered the deal with the online streaming service that launched only last month and has been billed as the Netflix of sports.
DAZN, pronounced "da-zone", charges subscribers US$9.99 a month for a range of combat sports content. Alvarez, whose bouts will be part of the paid service, plans to fight twice a year under the deal.
"Canelo is the highest-paid athlete in the world. He's extremely happy," De La Hoya told ESPN.
The boxer has a sterling record of 50-1-2, with his only defeat coming against Floyd Mayweather in 2013.
His switch is a direct consequence of HBO TV's decision to pull the plug on 45 years of boxing broadcasts earlier this month, leaving Showtime as the biggest traditional pay-per-view outlet.
He previously had a deal with HBO to broadcast his fights on a pay-per-view basis and his last six fights were on the channel.
ESPN also reported that his fights on DAZN would not be shown on pay-per-view.
But his baseline earnings could increase sharply if they reach a series of specific subscription benchmarks during the next five years.
"A pay-per-view fight is basically a one-time subscription," its group executive chairman John Skipper said. "We are in the subscription business. We are in the direct-to-consumer business.
"So there can be no better place to (now) start a subscription (to) over the top business than with the money that people already pay to watch pay-per-view."
The latest deal follows DAZN's first major American agreement, an eight-year, US$1 billion joint venture with British promotion Matchroom Boxing.
DAZN is now the home of perhaps boxing's two biggest stars, Alvarez and undefeated heavyweight champion Anthony Joshua, who is promoted by Matchroom.
AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE, BLOOMBERG