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Canelo Alvarez Set To Be World’s Highest-Paid Athlete After Blockbuster $365 Million Contract

Boxer Saul “Canelo” Alvarez scored one of the biggest paydays in the history of sports in the wee hours of Wednesday morning when he signed a deal with sports streaming service DAZN for 11 fights over the next five years. The deal is worth a minimum of $365 million, an average of $33 million per fight, according to his promoter Golden Boy Promotions.

Alvarez will kick off his DAZN deal December 15 at Madison Square Garden against Rocky Fielding, and then likely fight again in early May for a Cinco de Mayo match. With the two DAZN fights, plus roughly $50 million for his razor-thin win over Gennady Golovkin last month and several million dollars from endorsements, Alvarez should bank at least $120 million over the 12 months.

The Mexican boxer has a strong chance to rank as the world’s highest-paid athlete next year in Forbes’ annual look at the top stars in sports. Scheduling Golovkin as his opponent in May, which would be his third fight with GGG, would goose Alvarez’s earnings even more.

HBO was the former home for Alvarez, who ranks as the biggest pay-per-view star in the sport after the retirement of Floyd Mayweather. But HBO announced last month that it would end its coverage of boxing at the end of 2018. The premium cable network had set the standard for televising the sport for more than four decades, and its pay-per-view arm featured many of boxing’s biggest stars, including Sugar Ray Leonard, Evander Holyfield, Oscar De La Hoya, Manny Pacquiao, Floyd Mayweather and dozens more.

Alvarez’s deal with HBO ended after his win over GGG. The boxing world has been buzzing over Canelo’s next landing spot, with Showtime, ESPN and Turner all having been viewed as contenders.

“Being part of this historic deal will require me to prepare myself even more and offer fans even better performances,” Alvarez said in a release announcing the deal.

DAZN, which debuted two years ago in Germany, Austria, Switzerland and Japan, launched in the U.S. last month and is making a major push in combat sports. It signed an eight-year, $1 billion deal in May with Eddie Hearn’s Matchroom Boxing, home of heavyweight champion Anthony Joshua. Former ESPN president John Skipper was named executive chairman of Perform Group, DAZN’s parent company, in May.

The only comparable deal in boxing history was the six-fight pactMayweather signed with Showtime in 2013. It guaranteed around $200 million, on par with Alvarez’s per-fight average. Mayweather eventually earned $450 million over the two-and-a-half year agreement, thanks to his dual role as boxer and promoter, as well as huge PPV audiences for his fights against Alvarez and Pacquiao.

The Alvarez deal tops the 13-year, $325 million playing contract for New York Yankees slugger Giancarlo Stanton. Global soccer icons Neymar and Lionel Messi both have deals worth roughly $350 million, with Neymar’s a five-year contract and Messi’s haul spread over four years.

Messi will likely be Alvarez’s biggest competition for the title of world’s highest-paid athlete. He ranked second on this year’s list at $111 million, behind only Mayweather.

Cristiano Ronaldo, Neymar, LeBron James, Aaron Rodgers and Roger Federer are also expected to earn at least $90 million toward next year’s list, which will include prize money, salaries and bonuses earned between June 1, 2018, and June 1, 2019.


This article originally appeared on WWW.FORBES.COM