Mexican boxing star Canelo Alvarez, one of the world’s highest paid athletes, has signed with Excel Sports Management.
The 32-year-old, who fights this weekend in Las Vegas against longtime rival Gennady Golovkin, is the agency’s first boxing client, joining a roster that includes Tiger Woods, Peyton Manning and Derek Jeter. Excel will manage the undisputed super middleweight champion in endeavors outside of fight contracts.
That includes sponsorships, of course, but could also mean licensing opportunities, memorabilia, media, events and new IP built around the boxer, said Excel vice president Michael Fonseca, who will represent Alvarez. As an example, he referenced The Match, the golf exhibition series that Excel helped launch in 2018 with a showdown between Woods and Phil Mickelson.
“I think [Alvarez] is the most under-valued, under-appreciated elite world-class athlete on the planet,” Fonseca said in an interview. “He’s a very hands-on guy, he’s a very creative guy. He wants to be doing interesting, innovative things that haven’t been done before, and that’s the fun part for us as an agency.”
Alvarez made roughly $89 million last year, including $84 million from fight winnings and another $5 million from endorsements, according to Sportico’s annual calculations. And while that ranks No. 5 among athletes globally, it also highlights the economic realities for boxers. Alvarez made 94% of his earnings from fight purses, with just 6% coming from endorsements. The next closest athlete in the top 10 was Neymar, with 63% of his earnings coming from his on-field salary.
Fonseca said Excel will likely start with apparel, a lucrative opportunity for many top-tier athletes. Another early priority will be opportunities in beer, an industry that typically spends a lot in combat sports.
Excel will also expand the portfolio to reflect Alvarez’s personality. He likes cars and watches, Fonseca said, two other big sports spenders. He’s also an avid golfer, a hobby he picked up recently, and Excel has one of the most influential golf divisions in the world.
On the fight side, Alvarez (57-2-2) spent years with Oscar De La Hoya’s Golden Boy Promotions. In 2018, he signed a blockbuster 11-fight deal with DAZN worth a minimum of $365 million, but that deal fell apart two years later as part of a larger lawsuit. This weekend’s fight is the second in a smaller deal Alvarez later signed with DAZN, worth a reported $85 million.
Alvarez was not working directly with an agency before signing with Excel. His sponsorship portfolio, according to his website, includes cognac brandy Hennessy and Mexican gaming company Vale.