Most observers would agree that he’s the best and most formidable fighter in his division. He’s young and strong, possesses two handed power and there seems to be no doubt about that he’s willing to meet any fighter in his division qualified to fight him. He’s charismatic and has a fan friendly style. I happen to think he’s slightly overrated at this stage of his career because of the level of opposition campaigning in today’s middleweight division, but there’s not one fighter in the pedestrian 160 pound division who I would pick to beat him, not one.
His name is Gennady Golovkin 29-0 (26) and he’s the current WBA middleweight title holder.
He is scheduled to fight Daniel Geale 30-2 (16) next month and after that, assuming he wins, who knows what will follow. Matching his name on any marquee with fighters like Floyd Mayweather, Saul Alvarez, Miguel Cotto and perhaps maybe even Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. would guarantee monumental fan interest. However, with the exception of Chavez, the odds of him fighting Mayweather, Alvarez or Cotto are about as good as someone using a Cheerio for a life preserver. It can be said with impunity that as bad as Mayweather would love to win a piece of the middleweight title, he really doesn’t want to have to beat the best middleweight in the world to do it. If Floyd ever agreed to fight Gennady, you better believe that it won’t be a straight up fight without a gimmick attached during the negotiations in order to hamstring Golovkin.
In regards to Alvarez, who we know kills himself to make the junior middleweight limit of 154 and is destined to move up to middleweight: why should he fight Golovkin for the title when he’s the most likely opponent to fight Cotto, who is one of the two or three smallest middleweight title-holders in history, if he doesn’t fight Mayweather in his first defense.
And if you are Cotto, sure, unifying the middleweight title would appease the fans, but from a career vantage point, it’s without a doubt the stupidest move out there for Miguel. For starters, it’s a terrible style match up, he’d also be a huge underdog and lastly, the money wouldn’t be that great. At least not compared to fighting Mayweather or Alvarez.
Perhaps Chavez Jr. would fight Golovkin? Granted, that would be an interesting and entertaining fight because Chavez can really take a shot and he can punch. But Golovkin and Chavez are on different levels as fighters and it wouldn’t be a PPV bout by any standards.
It’s easy to sense that Mayweather, Cotto, Alvarez and perhaps Chavez are going to be lumped into the A list pile, and you’ll see Golovkin forced to do meaningless things like unifying the title against fighters like Sam Soliman 44-11 (18) and Peter Quillin 31-0 (22), both of whom he’d probably knock out in his sleep.
I think it’s safe to assume that Golovkin is the best fighter in the middleweight division and none of the fighters close to his weight, Mayweather, Cotto and Canelo, aside from their truth deficient words, have any interest in fighting him.
Yet, every one of those guys would love to say they are the middleweight champ. Cotto can say that now but everyone knows he hasn’t proved he’s the best in the division and I doubt even those around him think he would be successful against Golovkin. If Golovkin is frozen out of the big money fights against those named above, as I believe he will be – what’s left for him? Well, that’s easy. He’ll most likely be pressured to move up to 168 and challenge maybe the most complete fighter in professional boxing, Andre Ward. This would be unfair to a fighter who is clearly the class of his division but may not get a chance to prove it against some of boxing’s biggest stars because he’s seen as being too strong for them.
Maybe Golovkin will end up fighting Carl Froch in Manchester? But nobody is going to mention the guy’s name unless it’s to force him into a fight with someone bigger than he is. When a fighter is seen as the alpha fighter in the division like Golovkin is, the only fighters who will loudly lobby to fight him are those like Soliman and Quillin. In other words, fighters who have nothing to lose and everything to gain. On the other hand, fighters with notoriety who already have a title and are usually the A-side of the promotion and take the lions share of the purse when they fight, have nothing to gain when it comes to the risk-reward factor that comes with facing Golovkin. If you’re Mayweather, you don’t need Gololvkin because he makes 30-40 million when he fights regardless of the opponent. Floyd would love to add the middleweight title to his resume, but the situation has to be favorable to him. Either he fights Cotto for it or he leaves it alone. If he were to fight Golovkin and get pummeled, wrongly, that’s the fight he’d be most remembered for.
In the case of Canelo, he has time on his side. Gennady will probably eventually move up to 168, and then Alvarez can seek the middleweight title if he doesn’t get to challenge Cotto for it later this year. And if you’re Cotto, first you try to fight Mayweather and if that doesn’t work out you go for Canelo because they are the two biggest money fights out there. Fighting Golovkin makes no sense.
As you can see Golovkin is going to be out of the picture for some very big PPV paydays because he is perceived as being too good and dangerous for the name fighters who are flirting with the idea of challenging for the middleweight title, unless they can fight Cotto.
Mayweather has the automatic hook and a lot of fans are definitely interested in seeing him lose. Golovkin hasn’t been marketed as a celebrity or pop star (Alvarez and Chavez), and hasn’t had the high profile wars that Cotto has had. Any one of those four would be a great opportunity for Golovkin to become an over-night sensation against, but the risk is too great and they could very well end up losing their juice in the public’s eye if they lost, something that is more than plausible.
Frank Lotierzo can be reached at GlovedFist@Gmail.com