ULTIMATELY, it was a successful night for Gennady Golovkin on Saturday when he retained his WBC, WBA and IBF world middleweight titles against Danny Jacobs at Madison Square Garden.
He was taken the distance for the first time since 2008 and it was the only time he had ever gone the championship distance. The decision has also divided opinion, with many feeling Jacobs deserved the nod.
As such, the unbeaten Kazakh’s future has some intriguing options. His “dream fight” is a meeting with WBO champion Billy Joe Saunders, who reciprocates Golovkin’s desire to clash. Such a fight would produce the first undisputed middleweight champion since Bernard Hopkins held all four titles in 2005.
It’s also one of the best fights that can be made in the division. Plus, it would provide Golovkin a chance to silence those critics who feel he struggled with Jacobs’ movement and boxing skill on Saturday. After he was outclassed by Floyd Mayweather in 2013, Canelo Alvarez (after hammering Alfredo Angulo) fought Cuban stylist Erislandy Lara in an attempt to expel the demons Floyd had conjured up. It was not wholly convincing, but Canelo defeated Lara and proved he can pin down smart boxers and movers.
‘GGG’ may want to make a similar move against elusive southpaw Saunders. Rumour has it they are in talks to fight in Kazakhstan sometime in June.
Some will feel a more pressing matter for Golovkin is a rematch with Jacobs. He said on Saturday that he would happily fight Jacobs again and a return would prove both lucrative and an opportunity at redemption for both men.
Promoting it wouldn’t be too difficult either – just show people their enthralling encounter from Saturday should be enough.
Then there’s the big one – a showdown with Canelo himself. It’s been talked about to death and remains the biggest fight that can be made in the sport between two pound-for-pound stalwarts whose stars continue to grow.
The Mexican must first get past compatriot Julio Cesar Chavez Jnr on May 6, which doesn’t marry up with Golovkin’s intentions of fighting around June time. As such, we may have to wait until September – with a verbal agreement in place for them to fight at that time – before we see them gloved up in the same ring.