Canelo Alvarez is unhappy with his promotional outfit and its semi-leader/figurehead, Oscar De La Hoya. That much you can read anywhere. But here are some reasons -- all of which I shared with Golden Boy (seeking its version of events) and none of which was rebutted:
Canelo told Oscar during negotiations last year not to promise DAZN a third fight with Golovkin -- not because Canelo feared the fight but because he felt he won the second in straightforward fashion and he sincerely disliked the idea of helping out Golovkin financially (that antipathy is real).
Yet Oscar promised DAZN a third Canelo-GGG go-round anyway -- which has hurt a bunch of people: It led to DAZN signing GGG by guaranteeing him a shot at Canelo they cannot deliver presently. DAZN is in breach of the GGG contract as as result.
And GGG's lawyers have now sent DAZN a letter about the violation, demanding a title fight, so their guy has a belt to dangle before Canelo in 2020.
The DAZN c-suite desperately wants for the boxing lifer Len Blavatnik never deigned to hire. Now, DAZN's North American survival "depends on how rugged a stomach that Len Blavatnik guy has," according to one boxing exec.
Although it should be said in defense of the aforementioned, that everyone who works in boxing is compromised one way or another. That's the nature of the game. And the consensus view on Canelo is that he's become more and more peevish -- and acerbic -- with each earned dollar.
So maybe the names here of persons and corporations alike are interchangeable. Boxing was dead on arrival. The Marquess of Queensberry was a zombie.
Canelo is also upset Oscar receives his own perks as part of Canelo's $350 million DAZN contract -- part of the paycheck Canelo generates is used to compensate other fighters on Golden Boy cards. Canelo can't see why that money shouldn't go to the development of his own business (like a subsidiary promotional outfit in his name). After all, nobody has made money for Golden Boy -- been a boxer in the black instead of red -- besides Canelo for years.
Canelo has secured the services of an independent lawyer -- either to re-negotiate his Golden Boy deal or to ensure it's properly enforced or to cut a deal in which Canelo buys out the remainder of the contract.
The lawyer might wind up doing all three and in that order. Someone ball-parked a buyout figure to me of $20-30 million -- but only if Canelo's lawyer can show Golden Boy has been acting in bad faith or not living up to its side of the deal. And the figures obviously could vary greatly based on fight outcomes (or, heaven forfend, injury).
Sadly, this is where Oscar's history of substance abuse has legal implication. I really respect the way Oscar has treated me personally. And addiction is a disease. But Canelo was reportedly embarrassed by a few instances in which Oscar was a no show at his pressers, ostensibly because Oscar was impaired or hung-over. If it can be proven he was indeed absent for that reason, Canelo will get to pay far less to buy out his deal -- because it portends greater difficulty for Oscar should the case be litigated.
Canelo has made overtures, through intermediaries, to two well-known promoters -- which efforts were likely designed and executed with sufficient subtlety so as to skirt tortious interference.
An executive with one promoter, after I texted him about the outreach, replied, "No idea about that." Maybe the outreach was so subtle those on the other end didn't even know they were being -- quietly but desperately -- sought (#InsidetheRopesInception).
Meanwhile, how genuine was Canelo in recent days in accusing Golden Boy matchmaker Robert Diaz of leaving him in the dark about negotiations involving IBF mandatory challenger Sergiy Derevyanchenko?
The jury is out -- but the last couple months in Robert Diaz's life have been odd: The Golden Boy matchmaker has had to take on more executive tasks, including the act of shooing Sergiy with step-aside money so Canelo could face a brand-name opponent (DAZN didn't want Sergiy either -- they preferred light-heavyweight Sergey Kovalev, who didn't receive a satisfactory offer from Golden Boy until a day after the deadline for him to withdraw from his upcoming Aug. 24 bout in Russia -- in the wonderfully-named "Traktor Sport Palace").
A pattern emerges:
According to one source, Golden Boy ignored all calls and emails from the IBF and from Sergiy's representatives for two whole months and only got back in touch just before an IBF-mandated deadline, in order to ask for the deadline to be pushed off (which it was).
Had Diaz picked up the phone, perhaps the step-aside fees would've been accepted and the IBF belt retained.
But the thing that may have pissed off Canelo the most here: Robert Diaz, in written correspondence, allegedly said Canelo would give up his IBF belt if a deal weren't made by a certain time. Even before the IBF stripped Canelo, his own representative volunteered the belt's return.
Why? And with Canelo's permission? And why was this being handled by the matchmaker -- why wasn't Canelo working through either CEO Eric Gomez or founding Golden Boy Oscar De La Hoya? Was there a previous rift about which we don't know?
And back to the months of radio silence:
I've ghosted some people I met on OkCupid but only permanently -- never for a full month only to return meekly and with minor money -- Diaz offered Sergiy less than 14 percent of the pot -- like I was some John dismissive of Elizabeth Taylor and then in need of her, "Butterfield 8"-style.
There's also Canelo's distaste for the way Oscar, Eric and Robert are now making millions on his bouts regardless of their efforts. The huge, already-locked-in Blavatnik dough has left an Odebrecht aftertaste on Canelo's tongue. Like, wait -- what are they presently doing to justify all that income?
DAZN comes back into play here:
By giving Daniel Jacobs $14 million to fight Canelo in May, John Skipper invited all the top middleweights under his banner (Demetrius Andrade, GGG, Sergiy Derevyanchenko, and, soon, Billy Joe Saunders) to demand impossible fees.
Blavatnik ain't gonna offer bread to 'em all (question, sincerely: What kinda pan do you think oligarchs prefer? All breads seem so plebeian in our post-Earl of Sandwich world. Do they just eschew sandwich-consumption altogether?).
Anyway: How is the Canelo-Oscar story resolved?
"Nothing is fucking irreparable," a promoter told me. "I don't think the relationship will ever be the same, but it doesn't mean it will end."
Peter Nelson, before he presided over the death of HBO Boxing, when he seemed to represent to me all that was good about the fight world, having transitioned from scribe to macho multiverse major domo, who seemed to emerge from muddy "Stripes"-style basement rumbles immaculate if enervated, told me what Cedric Kushner had once told him -- about boxing being the preserve of the very worst people but also the very best.
I've been thinking on this frequently of late.
First, because I've had the distinct privilege to talk online to good-hearted people whose mutual appreciation of -- and repulsion by -- boxing has engendered tremendous intimacy between us -- a kinship and an empathy others never find in any corner of the world, cyber or real.
Secondly, I've made minor entry recently into the frag-head world -- that slice of society globally that loves discussing niche fragrances with others, borders be damned. In some ways, their wrist inhalations and evaluations shares nothing with our appreciation of the catch-and-shoot and check-hook.
But in other ways -- in verbiage, sincerity, the necessity of heightened sensation -- the cologne connoisseurs ain't dissimilar at all.
So as I might thank Amanda, Shaun or Glen -- or countless others -- for encouraging my copy efforts so kindly, I just wanna shout out Joy Amin of Dhaka, Bangladesh, and Ionut Filipeanu of Romania for their EDP appraisals on video. Their evident joy in taking in specific notes -- of incense, oud and patchouli, to name a random trio -- is infectious.
Scent stories coming. You know Top Rank, Golden Boy and Haymon Boxing? Wait till you meet the firms of Fermenich, Givaudan and Coty. Fragrance is war.
Yes, you picked the wrong week to stop sniffing MFK BR 540.