One of the biggest and most anticipated fights in boxing, so much so that even quasi boxing fans would be chomping at the bit to see it, would match WBC lineal middleweight champ Saul “Canelo” Alvarez 46-1-1 (32) and IBF/WBA title holder Gennady “GGG” Golovkin 34-0 (31) for the undisputed middleweight championship. As of this writing Golden Boy Promotions’ Oscar De La Hoya, Alvarez’s promoter and Tom Loeffler of K2 Promotions, who represent Golovkin, have been quietly trying to make the fight a reality and according to cbssports.com it’s going to happen in the Fall of 2016.
As mentioned in recent publications including ESPN.com, they’ve been given an extension by the WBC in good faith hoping the details can be worked out to bring Alvarez and Golovkin together. And that’s mainly because Alvarez inherited a mandatory WBC defense via his title winning effort over former title holder Miguel Cotto last month. The draw of the fight is matching the two best middleweights in the world with all the titles on the line, which would take a hit if the WBC stripped Alvarez.
The one given is both Alvarez and Golovkin will not meet in their next fight. They’ll both have an interim bout, Golovkin in February or March and Alvarez in May with the goal ultimately being for them to touch gloves in the Fall. You can rest assured that even without having definite opponents named, they’ll both be monumental favorites to win. Because there’s too much money on the line for them to risk losing. And fans will accept that as long as there is an agreement in place which brings them together when they next lace up the gloves, which is looking to be the case.
The real sigh of relief and what makes you believe the bout will in happen is, Alvarez has dropped the 155 catch weight stipulation that he had been insisting on since he beat Cotto, according to Golden Boy Promotions executive Eric Gomez. And if that’s true, good for him. There was nothing for him to gain in the eyes of the fans if he beat a weakened and dehydrated Golovkin at 155. Now if he beats Golovkin it will be authentic and no one can question or taint the accomplishment.
Most fans are aware that up until now Canelo repeatedly said he’s not a middleweight and fighting at 160 was not an option. Something no one believed because Alvarez comes into the ring on fight night at 175 plus pounds, and that makes him a cruiser-weight. It was flat out subterfuge when Alvarez said he wasn’t fighting Golovkin at 160. What he really was doing was looking to gain an advantage over Golovkin by weakening him on the scale before the fight. It’s the same thing GGG was trying to do when he called out Carl Froch at 168 but then said in order to fight Andre Ward, it had to be at a catch-weight of 164. Interesting how there was no urgency on GGG’s part to bring Froch down to 164. Like Alvarez felt towards him, Golovkin thought he needed an advantage if he could get one if he were to face Ward. It’s not unheard of in professional boxing; catch-weight bouts have been a ploy fighters have used to gain an advantage if they could get away with it long before Floyd Mayweather perfected it…..and with the resounding financial success Mayweather had who can blame Alvarez or Golovkin for emulating him in that regard?
Unfortunately for Alvarez the fans resisted it. Obviously Canelo didn’t like the criticism he was receiving as a result of him trying to force Golovkin to drop down in weight and realized that if he won the fight under those circumstances – he wouldn’t get full credit for the victory. Alvarez beating Golovkin at 155 isn’t beating the same fighter who weighed 159 when he beat David Lemieux in his last bout. If Golovkin could fight as a junior middleweight and not be weak at the weight, he would’ve been campaigning as a junior middleweight and not a fully flowered middleweight since turning pro.
My hope is that by Alvarez dropping the 155 stipulation in order to fight Golovkin, other fighters will follow suit and we will no longer have to hear about catch-weight gimmicks being part of the negotiating process in future super bouts. Yes, I understand that professional boxing, especially at the championship level, is a business first above all else. However, catch-weight fights are a joke and skew the outcome of boxing matches almost to the WWE level. If weight didn’t mean anything and didn’t directly affect the result; why have weight divisions? If weight didn’t matter why did Alvarez try to get Golovkin down to 155 and why did Gennady try to get Ward to face him at 164? Because it does make a difference and fighter’s know it. The combatant being forced to come down to a weight he doesn’t fight at comfortably is always at the distinct disadvantage. If you disagree with that, answer why the fighter coming down in weight usually loses? Nothing robs a fighter of his natural strength, stamina and power like draining him down to weight that he can only maintain for about five minutes before he blows up after the weigh-in.
Hopefully the purse split won’t be the issue that kills Alvarez-Golovkin. Alvarez is considered the A-side financially and is the perceived bigger star. He’ll no doubt demand the Lion’s share of the money based on his previous PPV buys. The question is how much and will team Golovkin think the number/percentage is fair? And that will probably be even more contested than the actual fight.
Frank Lotierzo can be contacted at GlovedFist@Gmail.com