Canelo Alvarez

Unfinished Business: The Return of Gennady Golovkin

Tom Hogan/Hogan Photos/Golden Boy Promotions

This past week boxing fans were treated to a three-city press tour for the upcoming bout between Saul “Canelo” Alvarez (51-1-2, 35 KOs) and Daniel Jacobs (35-2, 29 KOs). Both men hold a majority of the Middleweight titles with Jacobs holding the IBF title and Alvarez holding the WBA and WBC Middleweight titles including the claim to the lineal title in the weight class.

The match will be one of the most significant in all of 2019 highlighting the division as one of the best in the sport. Waiting in the background is the seemingly forgotten shadow of the former king of the division, Gennady “GGG’ Golovkin (38-1-1, 34 KOs).

The Kazakhstani puncher has been quiet since losing a highly disputed majority decision to Alvarez in a fight that garnered many publications fight of the year for 2018. Golovkin seemed to take the defeat in good stride; however, fans are now wondering when they will see him step back into the squared circle.

With HBO now out of the boxing business, companies like Premier Boxing Champions, ESPN and DAZN are all vying for the former Middleweight champion’s services. According to Ring Magazine, DAZN has won the bidding war by offering Golovkin equity in the company and allowing him to secure dates for his upstart promotion, GGG Promotions.

It makes sense for Golovkin who will be turning 37 this upcoming April to start thinking about his career when he decides to hang up the gloves for good. Awaiting him will be a multitude of opponents, and at Middleweight, the vast majority of the top fighters are all younger.

The winner of the Alvarez-Jacobs match would be a logical opponent for Golovkin to return against, however, with their bout-taking place in May, a rematch with either fighter would take place in September or later. This would leave Golovkin out of the ring for a year or longer.

The days of Golovkin fighting three-to-four times a year as he did in 2013, 2014 and 2015 are likely long gone. The good news for the Kazakhstani is that there are plenty of opponents at Middleweight that will allow him the chance to grab back some of the luster lost from his bouts with Alvarez.

A match between Golovkin and current interim WBC Middleweight champion Jermall Charlo (28-0, 21 KOs) may not ever happen with the promotional divisions in boxing being as prevalent as ever.

Before losing to Alvarez, Golovkin held the WBA Middleweight title for almost eight years spanning from October 2010 to September 2018 including 19 defenses of the title. As is the case in most of boxing’s weight classes the WBA offers more than one title in the division.

Alvarez currently holds the ‘Super’ version of the title and Top Rank promoted Rob Brant (25-1, 17 KOs) holds the ‘Regular’ version of the title he won from Japanese star Ryota Murata in October of last year. Top Rank has shown in the past to be willing to work with other networks and promoters giving Golovkin and his team the option of regaining a title he once held for so many years.

WBO Middleweight champion Demetrius Andrade (27-0, 17 KOs) is currently promoted by Matchroom Boxing and has been featured numerous times on the DAZN platform. The southpaw from Rhode Island could prove to be a high-risk fight and a notch below of a reward financially from rematching Alvarez or Jacobs.

However, a victory over an undefeated fighter and winning a Middleweight championship could go a long way in showing any doubters that Golovkin is still an elite pugilist.

Although a majority of fans and pundits felt that Golovkin did enough to earn a decision over Alvarez in both of their encounters, there is a growing sense that the former Middleweight champion is no longer the fighter he was just a few years ago. Should Golovkin and his team feel that Andrade may be too difficult an opponent to return against, there are solid contenders available for him.

There is a small storyline with Golovkin’s former IBF mandatory Sergiy Derevyanchenko (12-1, 10 KOs). The Ukrainian amateur standout is scheduled to face Germany’s Jack Culcay (25-3, 13 KOs) in April and the winner would be a suitable opponent for Golovkin’s return.

In May of last year, there was some controversy surrounding Derevyanchenko and Golovkin as the Kazakhstani elected to drop his IBF title and face Vanes Martirosyan instead of facing the Ukrainian. Both men are known for their amateur accomplishments providing a rivalry that could lead to an entertaining match.

For a fighter that entered the boxing world’s consciousness just seven years ago in 2012, Golovkin and his team have surpassed many expectations. He has sold out Madison Square Garden on multiple occasions and proven to be a draw on both the east coast and west coast.

With a record of 19-1-1 with 18 knockouts in world title fights and going 5-1-1 with four knockouts against former and current world champions, Golovkin is still a commodity in the sport.

The return of GGG will be anticipated no matter whom he ends up facing next. A short break from the sport may have been needed after all the festivities and media obligations required from two huge pay-per-view events.

For Golovkin, there is still some unfinished business to take care of at Middleweight. With his two biggest rivals on a collision course, it won’t be long until he emerges from the sidelines.

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