Photo by Marilyn Paulino/RBRBoxing
On Saturday, May 7, 2016, Canelo Alvarez steps into the ring to defend his WBC and Ring Magazine world championships against Amir “King” Khan at the new T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada and live on HBO Pay-Per-View.
Earlier this week, Canelo participated in a media conference call to promote his upcoming fight against Khan, but many of the questions that the Mexican star received focused on another fighter–Gennady Golovkin.
Golovkin, who was side stepped by former Middleweight champion Miguel Cotto and is eyeing a unification bout with Canelo in the fall, is recognized by many fans and writers as the legitimate champion at Middleweight.
Canelo and his team have been vague in describing when a possible fight against Golovkin could take place, though Canelo says the fight will eventually happen.
“It’s in my future plans. It’s definitely in my future plans,” said Canelo. “I want to have that fight. I want to give that to the fans. I’m just not sure when.”
Unfortunately for Canelo, if he beats Khan, it doesn’t seem that he has the luxury to push a Golovkin fight past this year–that is if he wants to try and remain WBC champion.
According to Dan Rafael of ESPN.com, the camps for Canelo and Golovkin came to an agreement with the World Boxing Council [WBC] in December of 2015, stating that both fighters would be allowed to have one interim bout before an expected showdown in September of this year.
“If after their corresponding voluntary defenses one boxer is unable to fight the other for the undisputed WBC middleweight championship of the world, the unable fighter will lose his status as champion or interim champion,” said WBC President, Mauricio Sulaiman. “The fighter able to fight will be named undisputed WBC world champion.”
Canelo has been criticized by many for his reluctance to accept that he is a Middleweight–even though he has fought at catchweights over the 154-pound limit on numerous occasions.
“If Gennady really wants to make the fight, maybe we can talk about some catch weight where Gennady comes down [in weight] and Canelo goes up, but he’s truly a 154-pounder,” said Gomez. “If Canelo is giving up weight, Gennady should, too.”
That’s not exactly a valid point given the fact that Canelo is parading around with the WBC Middleweight title. If he’s not a Middleweight, it would make sense (fighting sense, not business sense) to give up the title and fight at a lower class.
But at the moment, Canelo has his cake and is eating quite nicely. Canelo-Khan is being contested at 155 pounds, giving Canelo the security of his desired weight against a boxer who has never fought over 147 pounds. All while fighting for a 160-pound title. Seems legit.
If Canelo is victorious, it will be interesting to see if he feels ready to face Golovkin in September at a full-fledged 160 pounds, given the fact that he’s never taken on someone that size.
So is a catchweight versus Golovkin a serious option? Not if you ask Golovkin’s trainer, Abel Sanchez.
“It doesn’t matter what he offers,” said Sanchez in an interview with Fight Hub TV. “It’s not going to be at 160 pounds.”
“If the diva [Canelo] doesn’t fight us, it doesn’t matter,” said Sanchez. “If he doesn’t fight us, they’ll strip him and Golovkin becomes champion and that’s one step closer to being the unified champion.”
One would hope, Abel, but stranger things have happened.
Golovkin has a fight this Saturday, April 23 against undefeated No. 1 IBF mandatory challenger, Dominic Wade. Should he win that scrap, Golovkin and his team will surely be eager to see if Canelo is successful in his first title defense on May 7.
“Canelo’s mandated if Gennady wins in April, and Canelo wins in May, he’s mandated to fight for the WBC [title],” said K2 Promotions Managing Director, Tom Loeffler during a conference call to promote Golovkin-Wade earlier this week.
While Loeffler seems to be confident that the aforementioned agreement with the WBC will land them a shot against Canelo in the fall, Golden Boy Promotion’s President Oscar De La Hoya does not seem fully on board and may explore options outside of Golovkin if Canelo defeats Khan.
“Well, look, obviously it’s a fight that, you know, the question is not if, but when,” said De La Hoya during the Canelo-Khan conference call.
“That’s a fight that as a promoter, it’s a fight that I want to see; that the world wants to see, but as a promoter, I want it to be the biggest event in the history of this sport to attract fans and to bring back the fans that we lost when people witnessed Manny Pacquiao versus Mayweather.”
According to De La Hoya, a rematch with Khan–an option which is written in the contract–and a second tango with Cotto are both possibilities for Canelo after May.
In this writers opinion, it’s hard to envision that Amir Khan is going to be the opponent that precedes a Golovkin fight for Canelo.
And given the horrendous results that Golovkin’s destruction of former-IBF Middleweight champion David Lemieux gave Golden Boy Promotions, it just doesn’t seem likely that they’ll throw the young Mexican superstar within 1000 yards of Golovkin this year, or any year.
When asked if he’ll be watching Golovkin take on Wade this Saturday, Canelo continued the uncertain tone.
“Yeah, if I have the time. If I’m free on Saturday night, I’ll watch it,” said Canelo.
Chances are that if Canelo does seriously intend on fighting Golovkin this year, or within the near future, he’ll be watching closely on Saturday night.
While negotiations are understandably going to be difficult for a proposed Canelo-Golovkin fight, particularly surrounding the weight, one would hope that Canelo won’t be willing to simply give up the belt without a fight.
“It’s going to have to happen,” said Canelo. “The fight is eventually going to happen.”
For all of us hoping to see Canelo and Golovkin get it on, let’s hope “eventually” is sooner rather than later.