Canelo Giving Up WBC Belt
By: Sean Crose
That which many had feared has come true. Canelo Alvarez is giving up his WBC belt rather, presumably, than make a deal within the next few days to face Gennady Golovkin in a championship fight this fall. Although there were probably countless analysts out there predicting as much, there had been a glimmer of hope lately that a Canelo-GGG superbout would indeed soon be made for September. Negotiations between team Canelo and team GGG had begun, after all. Not only that, but there was a seriousness to the maneuvering that could be found in the lack of information sent out to the media. The hope, however, appears to have been short lived.
Dan Rafael of ESPN reported that Alvarez “announced today that he has vacated the WBC middleweight title but still wants to fight GGG.” Needless to say, Rafael also reported that “GGG will become the WBC’s titleholder with his interim tag being removed.” Sure enough, both parties had until next week to come up with an agreement or the potential fight would have gone to purse bid, something Canelo’s team clearly didn’t want to have happen. Canelo is the most lucrative fighter in the world at the moment, and a purse bid would have possibly turned out less lucrative for he and his team.
Let’s face it, this is major news indeed. It’s rare that a fighter gives up a belt in the face of a potential fight. To be sure, Canelo wishes to save face. “I will fight ‘GGG,’ and I will beat ‘GGG,’” Canelo claimed in a statement, “but I will not be forced into the ring by artificial deadlines.” Whether or not this will help the Mexican slugger, who recently demolished Amir Khan, save face remains to be seen. Again, it’s not often that a fighter gives up a title under such circumstances. Riddick Bowe comes to mind – and that’s about it.
As for Golovkin, he is now the WBC world middleweight champion, as opposed to its interim champion. His team also is making it clear that they still want to fight Canelo. Indeed, there appears to be no bashing of Alvarez on the part of GGG’s promoter Tom Loeffler of K2 Promotions. Clearly, team Golovkin still wants this fight to happen. And why not? It remains the biggest throwdown in the sport. As for Oscar De La Hoya, Canelo’s promoter, he’s clearly sticking by his man, stating Canelo “is eager to get in the ring with ‘GGG’ to show the world that he is also the best pound for pound fighter in the sport, but we won’t negotiate under a false deadline.”