WBA Super World middleweight champion Gennady Golovkin (35-0, 32 KOs), the knockout artist from Los Angeles by way of Karaganda, Kazakhstan, has spoken repeatedly about wanting to unify the titles. In addition to the WBA belt, Triple G is also the IBF, IBO, and interim WBC champion.
In an ideal world, the unification he has sought would take place in the ring. In an ideal world, making a superfight with WBC World middleweight champion Canelo Alvarez (47-1-1, 33 KOs), the hard-hitting redhead from Guadalajara, Jalisco, Mexico, would appear to be the most natural thing in the world.
But all is not as it appears.
For a unification to take place, Canelo’s cooperation is essential, as is the cooperation of his promoter, Golden Boy Promotion’s Oscar De La Hoya.
For reasons they can best explain but have not yet done, Canelo and his team have decided to relinquish his WBC title.
In a statement released yesterday, Canelo said, “After much consideration, today, I instructed my team at Golden Boy Promotions to continue negotiating a fight with Gennady ‘GGG’ Golovkin and to finalize a deal as quickly as possible. I also informed the WBC that I will vacate its title. For the entirety of my career, I have taken the fights that no one wanted because I fear no man. Never has that been more true than today. I will fight ‘GGG,’ and I will beat ‘GGG’ but I will not be forced into the ring by artificial deadlines. I am hopeful that by putting aside this ticking clock, the two teams can now negotiate this fight, and ‘GGG’ and I can get in the ring as soon as possible and give the fans the fight they want to see.”
That sounds great, but when Canelo writes “I will not be forced into the ring by artificial deadlines,” deflation rears its ugly head. And deciding to relinquish the WBC title considerably erodes the significance of the fight.
Oscar De La Hoya, Golden Boy Promotions Chairman and CEO, issued a statement of his own, and while he sang Canelo’s praises, he too has no plans to cave to “artificial deadlines.”
“There is no denying that Canelo is the biggest star in the sport of boxing,” wrote De La Hoya. “He is eager to get in the ring with ‘GGG’ to show the world that he is also the best pound for pound fighter in the sport, but we won’t negotiate under a forced deadline. Now that the WBC title is off the table, I am hopeful that ‘GGG’ and his promoter K2 Promotions will come to the table in good faith and get this deal done.”
It’s as hard to read between the lines as it is to read minds, but the importance of a fight between Triple G and Golovkin has suddenly been seriously diminished.
The WBC released a statement, which is no less cryptic than the statements which preceded it.
“The WBC has received official confirmation from Golden Boy Promotions with Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez’s decision to vacate the WBC middleweight world championship. Gennady Golovkin is hereby recognized as the undisputed WBC middleweight champion of the world. The WBC wishes Canelo Alvarez great success in his career, and will certainly look forward to see Golovkin vs. Alvarez materialize in the future.”
Everyone is playing their cards close to the vest. One can jump to conclusions, but those concerned are choosing their words with care.
Golovkin’s promoter, Tom Loeffler of K2 Promotions, told BoxingScene.com, “Canelo relinquishing the title doesn’t change anything on our end. We will continue to negotiate for this superfight—that has been the priority from the moment Gennady became the mandatory challenger and continues to remain the priority.
“It’s the fight we want to make. We’re not even considering any other options as long as we continue negotiations.
“Honestly, we have tremendous respect for Canelo and for Oscar. There weren’t any outrageous demands made at any point during negotiations. They didn’t ask for extensions to the deadline, for any ridiculous weight demands or unfair financial terms.
“Obviously, Gennady would rather fight Canelo for the title. He also would’ve loved to have faced Miguel Cotto, Sergio Martinez and Felix Sturm. But Canelo and Oscar stayed true to their word—either we make the fight (within the WBC 15-day deadline) or they wouldn’t hold the title hostage. We now have the title—but still want to make the fight happen.”
The unanswered question is why, especially as it looks like Canelo and his team feel otherwise.
Gilberto Jesus Mendoza, president of the WBA, continues to operate with the steadiest of steady hands. He told BoxingScene, “Our promise was to not stand in the way of Canelo-GGG. In spite of the latest news of Canelo relinquishing his title, both sides have publicly announced their commitment to continue negotiations for this superfight.
“The WBA fully intends to remain true to its word of working in unison with the other sanctioning bodies. So we plan to talk with our friends at the WBC and determine their plans in light of the latest development.
“The WBA will reevaluate this situation in a week or so, at which point we will be fully prepared to announce our official position.”
This article was penned by the author who is not related to the WBA and the statements, expressions or opinions referenced herein are that of the author alone and not the WBA.