Will Canelo-Golovkin be the new Mayweather-Pacquiao?
By Hector Franco
March 24, 2017
2017 so far has been a great year for the sport of boxing with unification bouts taking place and multiple fight of the year candidates. The fight that is still taking over boxing headlines is a potential fight between Saul “Canelo” Alvarez (48-1-1, 34 KOs) and Gennady “GGG” Golovkin (37-0, 33 KOs). Canelo-Golovkin has been discussed since Canelo won the lineal middleweight championship from Miguel Cotto (40-5, 33 KOs) in November 2015.
Since then Canelo relinquished his WBC middleweight title to Golovkin and even won the WBO junior middleweight title from Liam Smith (24-1-1, 13 KOs) last September. Golovkin has played a waiting game with Alvarez causing Golovkin to only fight twice in 2016.
Last Saturday night, Golovkin fought Daniel Jacobs (32-2, 29 KOs) at Madison Square Garden in what turned out to be the closest fight of his career. There was a perception before the match with Jacobs that the gap between Golovkin and every other middleweight was astronomical. It turns out just as Golovkin said in his post-fight interview with HBO’s Max Kellerman, that he is a “boxer, not a killer.” There was no rematch clause with Jacobs, so an immediate rematch will not happen.
The plan for Golovkin and his team is not to allow politics to dictate how many times he steps in the ring in 2017. Team Golovkin has made it clear that its primary goal is to win all the belts in the middleweight division. There have been talks of a fight this upcoming June with WBO middleweight champion Billy Joe Saunders (24-0, 12 KOs). This fight is intriguing for Golovkin on many levels. It would take place in Golovkin’s home country of Kazakhstan during the World Expo potentially giving the fight more international exposure. Lastly, it gives Golovkin the opportunity to join Cecilia Braekus (30-0, 8 KOs) as the only champion in boxing to hold all four major world titles in a division.
For Golden Boy Promotions a fight this upcoming June is a problem in making a fight between Alvarez and Golovkin in September. There is also an offer by Golden Boy to Golovkin to take a flat fee for a fight with Alvarez. This brings about memories of the seemingly never-ending saga of misdealing’s that plagued the sport for years in anticipation of a fight between Floyd Mayweather (49-0, 26 KOs) and Manny Pacquiao (59-6-2, 38 KOs).
Many may remember the constant bickering over purse splits and drug testing that caused the fight to be continually delayed year after year. Mayweather and Pacquiao were able to keep on making large purses fighting other opposition until a fight was finally consummated in 2015. Mayweather-Pacquiao took place five years too late and was a disappointment on all levels. Canelo-Golovkin is a much better clash of styles that will likely produce a more entertaining fight. But it looks like the fight will take place later than expected if a deal can’t be reached.
Alvarez has an upcoming fight this May against Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. (50-2-1, 32 KOs) and although he is the favorite a victory is not guaranteed against the biggest fighter, he will have faced in his career. Should Alvarez come out victorious against Chavez a fight with Golovkin in September is expected. Alvarez, however, is one of the few fighters in the sport who can make a profit fighting almost any opponent. Even with the significant demand for a fight with Golovkin, Alvarez will still have a loyal following that will watch him fight no matter the opponent. A large amount of backlash is expected to be thrown at Alvarez should a fight with Golovkin fail to materialize.
Golden Boy having an issue with Golovkin fighting in June comes off as being off the wall. There have been many mega fights that have had participants fight close to the event date. Sugar Ray Leonard and Thomas Hearns both fought in late June before their welterweight unification fight in September 1981. Just last year, Alvarez’s fight with Liam Smith wasn’t announced as official until June for a fight in September. This could just be posturing by Golden Boy Promotions or a real concern that something could happen to Golovkin. Golden Boy Promotions CEO Oscar De La Hoya spoke to ESPN regarding the matter.
This could be an excuse or a leverage move being played by Alvarez’s team. Certainly, after the fight with Jacobs, Golovkin isn’t as big a favorite over Alvarez as he was beforehand. Many fans, pundits, and fellow pugilists have picked Alvarez to defeat Golovkin should they ever meet in the ring.
Out of all the promoters in the sport K2 is one of the few that can say they are willing to work with other promoters. With the Alvarez-Chavez fight not yet haven taken place and a deal over the purse yet to be done, K2’s Tom Loeffler doesn’t feel a Golovkin fight in June should be any problem.
The more time passes, the more fans are getting a case of déjà vu. Canelo-Golovkin has a chance to be everything Mayweather-Pacquiao wasn’t. As of now, there are more similarities than differences between the two match-ups.
(Feature Photo: Reuters)