LAS VEGAS — Although Canelo Alvarez will be aiming to defeat unified middleweight world champion Gennady Golovkin in their highly anticipated rematch on Saturday night at the T-Mobile Arena, the Mexican superstar scored a significant victory of another kind on Thursday.
Alvarez won an appeal in the Florida District Court of Appeals for Miami-Dade County when it set aside an $8.5 million judgment a jury ruled he had to pay former promoter Felix “Tutico” Zabala Jr. of All Star Boxing following a two-week trial in June 2016.
“We conclude that the jury’s verdict of $8.5 million in damages for unjust enrichment was speculative and is not supported by substantial competent evidence,” the appeals court wrote in its 16-page ruling filed Thursday.
Although the $8.5 million judgment was vacated, the court ruled that Alvarez will still have to pay some sort of compensation to Zabala, though the amount has not been specified. That will be up to the original trial judge, according to the ruling, but is expected to be a small fraction of the original judgment.
In 2011, Zabala, who originally brought Alvarez from Mexico to fight in the United States, filed suit against Alvarez and Golden Boy Promotions contending that he had signed Alvarez to a four-year promotional deal in 2008 and that Golden Boy interfered and stole the fighter, who has gone on to become one of the biggest pay-per-view attractions in boxing.
Golden Boy was eventually dropped from the suit, and it took five years for Zabala’s breach of contract suit with Alvarez to wind its way through the Florida court. He was eventually awarded the $8.5 million judgment — plus 4.75 percent annual interest — against Alvarez more than two years ago, after which Alvarez filed an appeal.
A Golden Boy Promotions spokesman told ESPN.com that Alvarez had no comment on the ruling because he was focused on Saturday’s rematch with Golovkin. Zabala declined to comment when reached by ESPN.