The boxing world will have to wait a little longer than it hoped to see what were supposed to be two of the biggest fights of 2016. The world’s top two middleweights won’t be meeting this year, and the rematch between boxing’s top two heavyweights has been postponed.
After his knockout of Amir Khan on May 7, Canelo Alvarez was vocal about wanting to step inside the ring with Gennady Golovkin. But the fear that many fans had has been realized, and a fight between two of the world’s elite pound-for-pound fighters won’t happen until the second quarter of 2017, at the earliest.
Alvarez will instead take on WBO junior middleweight champion Liam Smith on Sept. 17. Golovkin, meanwhile, turns his attention to Chris Eubank Jr., who could earn himself a bout against the knockout artist from Kazakhstan by defeating Tom Doran on Saturday night. A Golovkin-Eubank Jr. fight is not a done deal, but most reports confirm the bout will be agreed upon soon.
Golden Boy Promotions continues to go to great lengths to make sure that Alvarez, who has become boxing’s No.1 pay-per-view draw, keeps winning. The Mexican fighter will be a heavy favorite against Smith, who hasn’t beaten anyone of consequence. Alvarez’s only career loss came at the hands of undefeated former champion Floyd Mayweather, and since the defeat has pounded the competition.
Facing Smith likely allows Alvarez to keep a nearly perfect record, while earning a sizeable pay day on PPV. The fight won’t generate big PPV buys, but the British boxer brings with him an international audience that most of the top light middleweights don’t. A rematch with the division's top stars, Erislandy Lara and Miguel Cotto, would both help Alvarez sell more PPV’s but it seems clear Golden Boy doesn’t want to put their top fighter in a position to be upset.
Alvarez is the WBC middleweight champion, but his last five fights have come at 155 pounds, and he'll challenge Smith for his junior middleweight title, which has a limit of 154 pounds. Ring Magazine lists Smith at No. 8 among junior middleweights.
While Alvarez vs. Smith means a missed opportunity for the middleweight division, the heavyweight division is in complete turmoil. Multiple title fights have been canceled in less than a two-month period.
Tyson Fury was supposed to defend his heavyweight titles against Wladimir Klitschko in a rematch on July 9, but the fight has now been postponed.
"Hey guys, I got a little bit of bad news for you all," Fury said on his Instagram account. "About 10 days ago, I was running and I went over my ankle, sprained my ankle. I've been to the hospital and had X-rays and MRI scans and all that stuff. They say it's not broken but it's badly sprained. Keep off it for 6-7 weeks. I tried to still train a bit. I had a second opinion a week later and I got the same advice. So the fight will be postponed.
"Sorry to all my fans to let you all down, but injuries do happen. It's one of them things. My apologies to everybody. The fight will be on as soon as possible. That's all I know at this moment. But the fight is still going ahead as soon as the ankle gets better. We will reschedule."
Fury claims the fight has been postponed because of an injury, but ESPN’s Dan Rafael reports that the champ simply isn’t ready to fight after too much partying. Either way, Klitschko will have to wait for an opportunity to prove he’s still the best fighter in the division.
The news comes just a few weeks after the heavyweight bout between Deontay Wilder and Alexander Povetkin was canceled after Povetkin tested positive for the banned substance meldonium. Instead, Wilder will defend his WBC heavyweight title against little-known Chris Arreola on July 16.
Meanwhile, one heavyweight will be fighting as scheduled. Anthony Joshua (16-0), a promising young fighter from outside of London, will defend the IBF heavyweight championship that he won in April on Saturday night. Joshua takes on Los Angeles native Dominic Breazeale (17-0) at 02 Arena.