Two of boxing's biggest stars are expected to finally clash in 2017, but the camps of Canelo Alvarez and Gennady "GGG" Golovkin appear to be far apart on a deal, perhaps putting the middleweight-title fight in jeopardy. On Friday, Alvarez's promoter, Eric Gomez, described a counteroffer from Golovkin's team as “ridiculous.”
“I told [them], ‘Let’s sit down and continue the conversation,’ and I haven’t heard back," Gomez, the president of Golden Boy Promotions, told the Los Angeles Times. "And if they seriously think we don’t want to make the fight, then take this offer. It’s the most money Golovkin’s ever made.”
Gomez claims Golden Boy is offering Golovkin an eight-figure guarantee deal with an undisclosed pay-per-view percentage. Gomez stressed that a deal needs to be signed soon in order to adequately promote such a high-profile bout, in what he called “the Super Bowl of boxing.”
There are many variables that could stall the fight, but none of them have to do with either boxers' fear of the other. Alvarez fought undefeated Floyd Mayweather, arguably the best pound-for-pound boxer of this generation, at the age of 23. Since the defeat, he has won his last six fights, while Golovkin struggles to find opponents, perhaps due to his high knockout rate.
Weight, the purse and the promotional buildup are considered the biggest reasons for the delay in reaching a deal in what would easily be the most watched boxing event of 2017.
While Golovkin fights at 160 pounds, Alvarez often fights at a catch weight of 155 pounds. In April, Gomez said that Alvarez is not a middleweight and therefore a catch weight is needed. It seems certain that Alvarez will need to move above 155 pounds, but it’s doubtful he will go up to 160.
Money remains the biggest stumbling block to an agreement, and how much Golovkin receives is no doubt a crucial point of contention. While both boxers can expect a large windfall, Alvarez is clearly the bigger draw, which means Golovkin may have to settle for less than he originally hoped.
Meanwhile, there is a possibility that Alvarez and Golovkin will have more than one rematch, which means promotion for the first fight is very important. Some believe that Golden Boy Promotions is putting the fight on hold in order to build anticipation, while also giving both boxers more time to increase their visibility for bigger pay-per-view numbers. Golovkin, in particular, has struggled to gain an audience of casual fans, despite his knockout power.
The native of Kazakhstan has only been a professional boxer for 10 years, but he’s 34 years old and time may be running out of time to face an elite boxer like Alvarez. Unlike the Mayweather fight with Manny Pacquiao in 2015, there is a better chance Alvarez and Golovkin won’t have a six-year wait to meet in the ring. But Golovkin promoter Tom Loeffler no doubt wants to reach an agreement with Alvarez’s camp sooner rather than later.
While Alvarez is sidelined for the rest of 2016 with a hand injury, Golovkin may face Daniel Jacobs (32-1, 29 KOs) or Billy Joe Saunders (23-0, 12 KOs), who holds the WBO middleweight title. Golovkin, who holds the WBA, IBF and IBO belts, has repeatedly stated that he wants a unification bout.