Miguel Cotto and Saul "Canelo" Alvarez appear set to fight sometime in November — possibly Thanksgiving weekend — with the true, lineal World Middleweight Championship on the line. Hardcore boxing fans have eagerly-anticipated what promises to be an all-action fight between two high-volume punchers, and while the fight will not produce nearly the revenue generated by the Mayweather-Pacquiao fight in May, Cotto vs. Alvarez is certain to produce far greater thrills.
But will there be a championship belt on the line at all? According to the World Boxing Council, that depends on whether the Cotto vs. Alvarez winner agrees in advance to fight the feared Kazakhstan-born knockout specialist Gennady Golovkin.
At least, that's the report as conveyed by the 33-0 Golovkin's own promoter, Tom Loeffler, who was interviewed by the Los Angeles Times earlier this week.
"Cotto can't defend his title without an agreement in place to fight Gennady next," Loeffler told Times boxing correspondent Lance Pugmire. "We can't prevent that Cotto-Canelo fight from happening. But the winner has to agree to fight Gennady for the title to be at stake. And my understanding is they want to defend the title against Canelo."
Miguel Cotto is recognized as the WBC middleweight champ, and Loeffler said that he has been in talks with the Cotto camp already, and WBC President Mauricio Sulaiman also said that Golovkin — who the WBC recognizes as the interim middleweight champion — must be in line to fight the winner of the Cotto-Alvarez bout for his group to sanction that fight as a title bout.
"We're just waiting for the parties to sign off and notify us that's the way they're going to proceed," Sulaiman told the Times.
Cotto's trainer, Freddie Roach, has already said that a fight between his man and Golovkin — who has knocked out 30 of his 33 opponents and is currently riding a 20-match KO streak — won't happen, at least until Golovkin develops a stronger fan base.
"When Manny Pacquiao walked by and didn't know who he was, I was surprised because most fighters know other fighters and Manny Pacquiao had no idea who he was," said Roach, who also trains Pacquiao. "If Manny Pacquiao doesn't know who one of the best fighters pound-for-pound in the world is, there's a lot of people who don't know."
Meanwhile, another knockout specialist is patiently waiting for his own shot at Cotto, Alvaraez, or even Golovkin. Montreal's David Lemieux has KO'd 31 of his 36 opponents, though unlike Golovkin, Lemiuex has been knocked out himself, when he was stopped in seven rounds by Marco Antonio Rubio in 2011.
Gennady Golovkin, who stopped Rubio in two rounds last year, expects to fight next in September, and the 26-year-old Lemieux — who won a unanimous decision over Hassan N'Dam N'Jikam to claim the vacant International Boxing Federation belt on Saturday — has already been mentioned as a possible foe as the Kazakh fighter waits and hopes for a fight with either Miguel Cotto or Saul Alvaraez.
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