THE highly controversial draw in their first fight (September 2017) was a perfect reason for Gennady Golovkin and Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez to fight again this year. But a failed drug test and some petty infighting are two reasons why this middleweight blockbuster, a natural, might fall through the cracks and never find resolution, one way or another.
The initial date for the rematch, May 5, was scuppered due to Alvarez failing a performance-enhancing drug test for the stimulant clenbuterol. So Golovkin battered Vanes Martirosyan in Carson, California instead, and Canelo was then handed a six-month suspension – boxing’s way of slapping their biggest star on the wrists.
With the ban up in September, right in time for Mexican Independence Day, Canelo will soon be free to fight, and will soon be on the hunt for opponents. The obvious one may not be the chosen one, however.
“He’s (Golovkin) stubborn and wanting 50-50 and it’s not going to happen,” Oscar De La Hoya, Canelo’s promoter, told ESPN. “The Canelo train has left the station.”
Money invariably talks in this sport, and when there’s potentially a lot of it to be made, common sense will, nine times out of ten, prevail. That said, if the Golovkin and Canelo impasse is real, and if there’s too much history and too much ego to get the rematch over the line, an alternative option for Alvarez could be Daniel Jacobs, the Brooklyn native who gave Golovkin the toughest test of his career in March 2017.
“There’s a deal on the table for Daniel Jacobs to fight on September 15 against Canelo,” De La Hoya revealed. “Eddie (Hearn, Jacob’s promoter) loves the idea. He loves the fight. Daniel Jacobs loves the fight and we love the fight as well.
“So, we’re just moving forward and making sure Canelo has the toughest dance partner possible for September 15.”
Don’t just take De La Hoya’s word for it.
“I can tell you that we love the fight,” Hearn confirmed. “When I signed Daniel Jacobs, he told me he believes he beats Canelo every day of the week.
“We had a brief conversation with Golden Boy about a week ago and it was hard to tell whether it was part of the plan in the negotiations with Canelo-Golovkin or if they really wanted the fight. We confirmed our interest and today we received an official offer to fight Canelo on September 15.
“I’ve taken the offer to Keith Connolly, Danny’s manager. We’re extremely interested.
“It’s a first offer and we are not looking to be difficult, but we know our value in the fight. We have a guy in Daniel Jacobs who, in my opinion, beat Gennady Golovkin, but, in anybody’s opinion, had a wonderful fight with Golovkin which many couldn’t split. In that respect, I see Jacobs as the perfect guy to fight Canelo.
“This is one of the reasons we signed with HBO – to get this fight. Now we’re here, I will push for every dime for my client.
“At the same time, we realise this is a wonderful opportunity and we’ll do everything we can to make this fight. This is a major, major, major fight for Danny Jacobs. We know the money involved in the fight. We believe it does big pay-per-view numbers.”
Like bitter and twisted former lovers, there’s every chance Canelo hooks up with Jacobs, Golovkin’s old flame, only for Golovkin to then flutter his eyelashes the way of Billy Joe Saunders, the WBO champion with whom he’s been linked for some time now.
This possibility gathered pace on Sunday when it was announced Saunders’ fight with Martin Murray, scheduled for June 29 in London, had been pulled due to a Saunders hamstring injury. Now the word on the street is that London might again be calling for Golovkin, somewhere around August or September time, two years after he beat Kell Brook at the O2 Arena.
If there’s one thing we know by now it’s that New Zealand promoter David Higgins likes to be in complete control and won’t announce a fight until the ink is dry.
He brought this attention to detail to Britain earlier this year when enjoying some level of fame alongside Joseph Parker. Now, in an effort to reboot Parker’s career following his March 31 defeat to Anthony Joshua, Higgins is back at it – keen to get what’s right for his man at the negotiating table.
Currently on the table is an August 18 fight between Parker, 24-1 (18), and American Bryant Jennings, 23-2 (13), rumoured to take place in Atlantic City, New Jersey. It’s a good one, too; a crossroads fight between contenders looking to rise again.
But not so fast.
Whereas Parker’s US promoter Bob Arum has jumped the gun and essentially announced the thing, Higgins has chosen to take an altogether more cautious approach.
“Contrary to media reports, a fight between Joseph Parker and Bryant Jennings has not been confirmed,” read a statement from Higgins. “Whilst we are in negotiations with the Jennings camp, we have other options on the table, including Alexander Ustinov.
“No deal will be made on the next fight until Joseph and his team are satisfied with the final terms and a contract has been fully negotiated and signed. We won’t be making any further comment for now.”