The most anticipated boxing superfight of 2016, pitting Kazakh KO artist Gennady Golovkin against Mexican megastar Saul “Canelo” Alvarez for the unified middleweight championship of the world, was earlier believed to have been set for September after each of the two fighters took a tune-up fight earlier in the year.
But now that anticipated September date appears to be in jeopardy as Alvaraez, and his promoter, Oscar De La Hoya, have set conditions for the fight that may be too unreasonable for Golovkin to meet.
And at the same time, the spring fight that Golovkin had planned — a fight that could bring him the World Boxing Organization middleweight belt to go with the World Boxing Association and International Boxing Federation hardware already in his collection — also looks to be a no-go.
Saul “Canelo” Alvarez now owns the coveted World Boxing Council title, after taking it from Miguel Cotto in their fight last November.
Golovkin, who sold out New York City’s Madison Square Garden for his last fight, October 17, against David Lemieux, had hoped to face 26-year-old Englishman Billy Joe Saunders at the Garden in April, after Saunders decisioned Andy Lee in December to win the WBO middleweight title.
Saunders, however, has balked at the financial package offered by K2 Promotions — the Klitschko-owned firm that represents Golovkin — saying that fighting the Kazakhstan native who has kayoed his last 21 consecutive opponents would represent “a big risk” unless the money were upped.
“An offer has been made but people need to understand I don’t have a loss on my record and it’s not like Golovkin’s last opponent David Lemieux who had lost twice before he fought him,” Saunders told ESPN earlier this month. “I could earn that money against someone else. They are offering life changing money but it’s not just about that because it would be a big risk for me.”
“They’ve got to pay me more money than I would get for the Chris Eubank Jr rematch.”
According to the ESPN report, K2 Promotions offered Saunders slightly more than $3.1 million to fight Golovkin at Madison Square Garden.
But according to Oscar De La Hoya, whose Golden Boy Promotions handles fight deals for Alvarez, in the proposed September pay-per-view blockbuster, it would need to be Golovkin coming out on the short end of the financial stick. The very short end.
“If I had my way, if the fight was happening tomorrow, the negotiation would be 90 percent for Canelo and 10 percent for Golovkin, so obviously these negotiations would be complicated.”
For boxing fans who aren’t yet up to speed on the career achievements of Saul “Canelo” Alvarez, the below video contains many of his highlights.
Of course, any champion holding a belt is highly unlikely to agree a purse split as lopsided as 90-10, but De La Hoya clearly believes that despite the impressive live gate for his fight against Lemieux, Golovkin has yet to prove himself in the all-important pay-per-view market, the financial bedrock of the sport, at least when it comes to major fights.
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De La Hoya conceded, however, that “in time we will sit down and put together this fight, because it’s a fight that everyone wants to see.”
— Juan Pablo Farill (@Farill_Makers) January 7, 2016
But there still may be another obstacle to making the Golovkin-Alvarez fight a reality — Alvarez himself, who reportedly refuses to budge from his preferred catch weight of 155 pounds, even though the middleweight limit is 160 and Golovkin has never fought below 158 pounds in his 34-bout career.
In fact, Golovkin has fought only four times weighing in below the 159-pound mark.
Alvarez, on the other hand, has spent most of his career in the 154-pound junior middleweight division, and has never fought a “true” middleweight. Even Cotto, despite holding the WBC middleweight belt until Alvarez won it from him, fought all but the most recent three fights of his career at 154 pounds or below.
In the meantime, a frustrated Gennady Golovkin issued a public challenge to Saul “Canelo” Alvarez this week, demanding to make their fight right now, without either boxer taking an earlier opponent.
[Photos By Al Bello/Isaac Brekken/Getty Images]