It’s been a few weeks since Canelo Alvarez viscously knocked out Amir Khan in Las Vegas, and the boxing world patiently waits to hear word about a potential fight against Gennady Golovkin. It’s a fight that the public is anxious to see, but one that has an uncertain future.
Alvarez was defiant after a right hook left Khan lying motionless on the canvas, contending that he wanted his shot at Golovkin. He even said he would agree to fight at the middleweight limit of 160 pounds, something Golovkin had demanded but Alvarez had previously bristled at.
Still, there is no agreement in place for the boxers to fight. Golovkin manager Tom Loeffler told ESPN.com’s Wallace Matthews this week that Golden Boy Promotions had given him no indication whether or not the bout will happen.
Golovkin’s dominance in the ring has made it difficult for the middleweight champion to find viable opponents. If Alvarez doesn’t face the knockout artist from Kazakhstan, some might accuse him of ducking the fight, afraid of being the 23rd straight boxer to be stopped early by the most feared athlete in the sport. But as Matthews astutely points out, it’s hard to believe that Alvarez is scared of any opponent.
Alvarez has built himself into the biggest draw in the sport by taking on all comers, and for the most part, beating them. At just 23 years old, he agreed to face Floyd Mayweather, losing by majority decision and providing some strong moments against a defensive specialist. He followed that with wins against light middleweight champ Erislandy Lara and the hard-hitting James Kirkland. After beating Miguel Cotto and Khan, Alvarez is at the top of his game and ready for another challenge.
Golden Boy might not share that sentiment. Assuming Mayweather and Manny Pacquiao remain retired, Alvarez-Golovkin is the biggest fight that can be made in boxing. But Oscar De La Hoya and the promotion might be looking to milk another pay-per-view or two out of Alvarez before he potentially gets knocked out by Golovkin, losing steam as the sport’s hottest fighter.
Golovkin’s top target is Alvarez, but if Golden Boy doesn’t make an effort to agree to the fight anytime soon, he’ll have to find another opponent for the second half of 2016. Billy Joe Saunders and Danny Jacobs, who also hold middleweight titles, are potential challengers for Golovkin in September.
"I can't put Gennady's career on hold waiting for an answer," Loeffler said. “But boxing history tells us he might be putting it in jeopardy.”
According to Matthews, there is another factor at play that could nudge Golden Boy in the direction of making Alvarez-Golovkin happen this year. Felix “Tuto” Zabala, formerly Alvarez’s manager, is suing Golden Boy, alleging the promotion stole his prized client. The case could take a month to be completed, and negotiations to fight Golovkin won’t commence until that happens.
If Zabala wins the case, along with a percentage of Alvarez’s future earnings, Golden Boy might look to make the fight as soon as possible in order to make up for their loss in court.
The ball is in Golden Boy’s court. Golovkin is hoping to face Alvarez, and he’s prepared to be the B-side of the pay-per-view. Multiple venues want to host the fight, including AT&T Stadium, which Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones is looking to fill on Sept. 17.
It’s what boxing fans want. It seems to be what the fighters want. Only time will tell if it’s what Golden Boy wants.