How Hennessy became an integral part of Saul 'Canelo' Alvarez's rise to prominence — in the ring and beyond
- Hennessy is one of Saul 'Canelo' Alvarez's oldest brand partners.
- The luxury drinks brand has been front-and-center of his Las Vegas fights this year.
LAS VEGAS — It's easy to think of Top Rank, PBC, or Matchroom, when it comes to the most significant promoters in boxing.
But the luxury drinks brand Hennessy plays its part, too, as its VSOP bottle is ever-present whenever Saul 'Canelo' Alvarez — one of the pound-for-pound greats in the modern era — is in town.
The Cognac house is Canelo's lead sponsor and presented Saturday's marquee fight between Canelo and Gennadiy Golovkin, which took place at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas.
Numerous fighters dream of driving down Las Vegas Boulevard to see their names lit up in neon above the world-famous Strip.
If Canelo had done that cruise this week, or earlier this summer, he'd have seen as many Hennessy banners lauding him as their company ambassador, as billboards listing details about his fight with GGG.
During a pre-fight party Insider attended Friday at Aria, Jasmin Allen, the SVP of Hennessy U.S. and Moet Hennessy at LVMH, praised Canelo at an exclusive event filled with fashionistas and boxers alike.
"He's a partner of ours for six years and one of the best ambassadors we've ever had," Allen said of Canelo.
"He pursues everything with all he's got, with persistence and tenacity. At Hennessy, we admire him so much and believe the same things."
Allen added: "He fights for his family, and his community. These are similar tenets to what Hennessy embodies, as we were built on family, and believe in community."
Canelo defeated Golovkin by decision at the weekend, a day after Allen said Hennessy was always "confident in his capabilities because of who he is."
Hennessy wanted to sponsor Canelo because of a 'philosophical alignment'
It is a similar sentiment Allen expressed to Insider earlier this year ,when Hennessy was last in Las Vegas to promote its combat sports superstar Canelo.
"We chose Canelo because we felt that we had a philosophical alignment," Allen said.
The alignment focuses on family, community, and history, the Hennessy boss said.
Canelo's two fights in 2022 landed on significant weekends for Mexican fight fans — Cinco de Mayo, and Mexican Independence Day. There's been a celebration of Mexican culture in Las Vegas during both periods this summer.
"Our history with the Latinx community goes back very far," Allen said. "Since over two centuries ago, the first shipment of Cognac left the shores of Cognac in Western France, and landed on the shores of Mexico.
"Since then we have championed the Mexican community and also the Latinx community as a whole. This commitment has been part of the heritage of our brand, and we just continue to build on that."
Canelo's celebrity hit a higher gear when he started publicly speaking English more frequently — something he wasn't always confident in doing, as Insider previously reported.
But as English speakers heard him talk and began to understand his sense of humor, his stature in the sport grew.
"What Canelo sees now is that he truly is someone who can reach people, who can move people in his native Mexico but also across the world," Allen said.
Canelo parties at Resorts World after his Las Vegas fights
One of the benefits of having a drinks brand support you is, naturally, the after-party.
Hennessy holds exclusive affairs at some of the swankiest venues in Las Vegas throughout a Canelo fight week, but there is one at the very end which is always advertised.
Once Canelo has finished his fights at T-Mobile Arena and fulfilled his post-event media obligations, he is free to travel to Resorts World — a mid-Strip property — where a Hennessy Negroni, his favorite cocktail, awaits him at the Zouk nightclub.
"A cocktail choice is a very personal choice," said Allen. "Everyone has their own preference for what they like to drink.
"With Canelo, I'm not surprised that he's a fan of VSOP because the blend is well-balanced.... It also blends beautifully in a cocktail. So, that kind of flexibility with VSOP, I think, is something that Canelo appreciates."
Victory over Golovkin was the 58th win of Canelo's career. It is unlikely the boxer will return to the ring until next May.
It is also unclear for how long he'll compete under the Matchroom banner as promoter Eddie Hearn has almost exhausted his roster for viable opponents. Bouts against Jermall Charlo, David Benavidez, and the winner of an end-of-year mega match between Errol Spence Jr. and Terence Crawford are available to Canelo should he leave Matchroom and DAZN for Premier Boxing Champions on Showtime.
But no matter the promoter, it appears there'll be one constant fixture in Canelo's fight weeks — Hennessy.
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