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Gennady Golovkin at Stand-Still?


By: Kirk Jackson

Ever since suffering his first professional defeat, questions surround the former middleweight champion Gennady “Triple G” Golovkin 38-1-1 (34 KO’s) regarding his next move.

Triple G’s rival Saul “Canelo” Alvarez 50-1-2 (34 KO’s), recently made headlines after announcing his next opponent; seemingly leaving Golovkin with limited options as his main objective appeared to retrieve his titles back from Alvarez via a third bout.

At the recent World Boxing Council’s convention taking place in Kiev, Ukraine, Golovkin submitted his request for the sanctioning body to order a direct trilogy fight.

Unfortunately for Golovkin, the WBC has other plans. As an alternative, the WBC approved Alvarez’s request to make a voluntary defense and the WBC ordered Golovkin to face WBC interim-champion Jermall Charlo 27-0 (21 KO’s) in a final eliminator.

WBC President Mauricio Sulaimán explained their reasoning for the decision.

“Golovkin feels left out and I’m very sorry about that. I just read a message from him. You have to understand that boxing is a stage, if the fight is very good [then another is demanded], but they had a war and I do not think it’s something that should happen immediately,” Sulaimán told ESPN Deportes.

“There was a message from Tom Loeffler, from his promoter, the message is not negative, simply that they expected that we would have voted for a direct rematch.”

With Alvarez facing WBA (Regular) super middleweight champion Rocky Fielding 27-1 (15 KO’s) Dec. 15 at Madison Square Garden in New York, that leaves the next opportunity for Golovkin to face Alvarez at some point in 2019.

Here’s where it gets tricky.

Barring injury or any other circumstance, Alvarez more than likely will fight for the first time in 2019 during Cinco de Mayo weekend. Being as Alvarez was granted the voluntary WBC middleweight defense; he can choose to fight someone else other than Golovkin.

It’s speculative and highly possible, Alvarez may face former middleweight champion and fellow Golden Boy Promotions stable mate David Lemieux 38-4 (33 KO’s).

It’s not a fight most boxing purists want to see per say, but it’s a fight that can draw decent numbers as Canelo is one of the proverbial stars, if not the most popular in all of boxing.

Bottom line, Alvarez doesn’t need Golovkin.

Chances are history will favor Alvarez when the topic of these two fighters is discussed. Alvarez destroyed the narrative casted by Golovkin and his head trainer Abel Sanchez leading into their rematch this past September.

Remember, it was Team Golovkin suggesting Alvarez “Ran,” and did not fight “Mexican style,” during their first encounter last year.

And it was Alvarez, taking the fight to the bigger man, applying pressure, walking Golovkin down and making him take backward steps for majority of the fight.

For those believing Golovkin won both fights, it’s an opinion you’re entitled to.

However, history books reflect different outcomes; with the rivals dueling to a draw during the first encounter and Alvarez earning the majority decision in their second encounter.

Both fights were entertaining and highly competitive.

But legacy wise, Alvarez has Miguel Cotto, Floyd Mayweather, Shane Mosley, Erislandy Lara and Gennady Golovkin twice on his resume. Canelo’s resume can be picked apart and dissected just like with any other fighter, but as far as recognizable names go along with fellow champions, he’s set.

Financially speaking, Alvarez can thrive without Golovkin.

Something else to keep in mind, Alvarez can always vacate his belt and fight whoever he wants. Canelo is at the phase in his career where he does not need the distinction of a world title to headline a huge fight.

At this point, his fights are events, spectacles and a world title is not necessary; it’s more so the cherry on top so to speak.

Another question to ponder with the WBC’s recent ruling, does Golovkin really want to go through Jermall Charlo, just to get to Alvarez?

Even if Golovkin faces and defeats Charlo, facing Alvarez afterwards isn’t a guarantee. Just like Golovkin defeating Charlo is guaranteed.

Regarding his professional career, whenever Golovkin stepped in up class and faced elite opposition he struggled. Canelo, Daniel Jacobs and Kell Brook are the examples on his resume that is fairly thin of elite names.

Most observers recognize Charlo as an elite fighter and would like to see him tested further. At age 37, Triple G can ill-afford to put forth a poor performance; especially if it jeopardizes future potential earnings against Alvarez.

To add Golovkin probably does not want to feature as the Litmus test for Charlo at middleweight.

Although in recent interviews Golovkin mentioned spending more time with family and hinted at retirement upcoming, it’s uncertain if long stretches of inactivity while waiting for Alvarez is the path he wants to take.

The only other option making sense is awaiting the winner of WBA (Regular) Ryōta Murata 14-1 (11 KO’s) vs. Robert Brant 23-1 (16 KO’s) later this month. If Murata wins, Golovkin could fight him in Japan, generating a substantial payday and that’s probably the preference.

With the third bout with Alvarez in question, certainly a level of uncertainty, Golovkin may be at a stand-still with limited options and limited time.

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