BAR a rematch between Floyd Mayweather and Manny Pacquiao, Canelo Alvarez versus Gennady Golovkin is the biggest fight that can be made in boxing.
It emerged yesterday that the two teams reached an agreement with the WBC to allow each fighter an interim contest before facing each other next summer. It’s imperative that they stick to that agreement.
Canelo won the WBC world middleweight title from Miguel Cotto last month and was mandated to either sign a fight or an agreement with the WBC’s interim champion Golovkin – who also holds the IBF and WBA world titles.
Should both come through their respective interim fights, the WBC will grant them 15 days to agree to terms or else their fight will go to purse bids. If one of them backs out, the other becomes the full WBC champion – but let’s hope it doesn’t come to that.
It took over five years for Mayweather and Pacquiao to finally meet and their welterweight title fight was a colossal disappointment (but a financial masterclass). Since their May meeting and Floyd’s subsequent retirement, Canelo and Golovkin have emerged as two of boxing’s biggest stars.
They must not wait five years to fight each other.
Floyd and Manny’s inability to square off in their primes became a thorn in the sport’s side and their lacklustre meeting only highlighted how late their meeting came.
At 25, Alvarez has been a professional for 10 years and looks to be operating around the parameters of his prime, if not well and truly in it, while Golovkin simply looks sensational at 33. They are both coming off the biggest wins of their careers – Alvarez against Cotto and Golovkin’s eighth-round stoppage win over David Lemieux in October.
An interim fight is understandable and, to an extent, necessary. If they both walk through whichever opponents they select for sacrifice, it will serve to build the fight further. While Alvarez is a bonafide star, Golovkin’s sub-par pay-per-view takings against Lemieux revealed that there is still some way to go before the Kazakh crosses over.
It could also help resolve another issue – the weight. Alvarez has won world titles at super-welter and fought Cotto at a catchweight of 155lbs, the same weight he insists full-blown middleweight Golovkin must face him at. Their fight would unify three of the four middleweight belts and should only happen at 160lbs.
Alvarez, a big lump of a man, should test the waters at 160 in his interim fight, perhaps against champion-turned-gatekeeper Daniel Geale, to acquaint his body with the new weight class.
Their promoters – Golden Boy for Alvarez, K2 for ‘GGG’ – worked together smoothly to make Golovkin-Lemieux and continue to have a good relationship, meaning they should theoretically be able to see this one made. K2 have conceded Alvarez is the bigger draw and are aware he would be served a larger portion of the revenue.
More importantly, both men seem to want it. Golovkin is hellbent on unifying the division and seems desperate to prove himself against the best around while Alvarez, in facing the likes of Mayweather, Cotto and Erislandy Lara, has proven he is not afraid to take on a challenge.
Boxing will always remain larger than any one fight – no matter how much money it makes – but the sport is in the middle of an Indian summer and Canelo and Golovkin have the opportunity to set a trend: the best fighting the best when the public want it. Let’s keep everything crossed we see them face each other in September 2016.