ACCORDING to the key figures behind the promotion of Canelo-Golovkin, the process of creating the middleweight superfight was a smooth one. But to make contests like this, concessions have to be made and Gennady Golovkin, despite bringing three sanctioning body world titles to the party, effectively takes the role of challenger in the fight.
Golovkin, the WBC, WBA and IBF middleweight king, will enter the T-Mobile Arena ring first on September 16, he’s on the right hand side of all the posters and photographs, his name appears under his rival’s on all the merchandise and his pay – despite being regarded as the best in his division for the last four years – is inferior to Canelo’s.
“For a lot of fighters that could have been the breaking point at the start of the negotiations – ‘If I’m the champion and I’m not listed first we can’t do the fight’. But when I spoke to Gennady and the managers, that was the first concession they made because this was the fight they’d been practically begging for,” Golovkin’s promoter, Tom Loeffler, told Boxing News.
“Triple G is very confident, This is the fight that he’s been working towards for the last six years – since I’ve been working for him”
Back in 2012, “GGG” and Loeffler could be spotted at ringside of the New York Sergio Martinez-Matt Macklin showdown handing out business cards in an effort to boost the Kazakh’s profile. Yet the quest, largely due to his frightening efficiency in the ring, was a fruitless one for a long time. As a consequence Golovkin is thriving under the pressure now he’s eventually in the kind of fight his talents deserve.
“Gennady has had so many amateur fights and so many professional fights all over the world, he doesn’t feel pressure,” Loeffler continued. “This is more of a relief than pressure because this is what he’s been asking for. We tried to get the fight with Sergio Martinez but that didn’t work out, we tried to get Julio Cesar Chavez Jnr but that didn’t work out, Felix Sturm didn’t work out and we came to the UK to try and fight Carl Froch but he didn’t agree to fight.
“Gennady is convinced he’s the best middleweight and he wants to show that, and show he’s one of the best fighters in the sport. The only way he can show that is to have a test like this. Anyone who was critical of his opponents in the past should look at the people who turned down a fight with him and not our failure to make those fights because we couldn’t force people to get in the ring with him.”
Fighting at a catchweight of 155lbs, the Mexican claimed the WBC middleweight strap the following year when he defeated Miguel Cotto but relinquished the title the following year after being put under pressure to fight Golovkin. As a consequence, fans and media grew concerned that the fight would never happen.
“I knew it was going to happen, I just didn’t know when,” countered Loeffler. “When Canelo vacated the [WBC] title last years, Golden Boy said it would happen in September 2017, so we have to give them credit. They held their word, and the fight is happening now.
“Part of the negotiation was that Golden Boy would be the lead promoter, even though it is a co-promotion. That all doesn’t matter. It doesn’t matter if Canelo’s name is listed first, or if he comes in the ring last. All those things don’t matter to Gennady. He’s the champion and he knows that. As long as he comes out of the fight as the champion that’s the important thing for him. He’s done a lot of promotion, a lot of interviews and held up his side of promoting the fight. Now all that’s left to do is put up the right performance on Saturday.”
A common viewpoint out here in Las Vegas is that Canelo, as the ‘home’ fighter, will be favoured by the judges in a close fight. That suggestion did not trouble Loeffler in the slightest.
“Every time it goes to the scorecards there’s always a concern,” he said. “But with Gennady bringing his fists with him, which are really his two judges I don’t think it’s going to be a close fight. I don’t think Canelo can go 12 rounds, I really don’t. I think it will be competitive for the first five or six rounds, then after that I think Gennady is going to be wearing him down. But he knows, and [trainer] Abel [Sanchez] knows, that if it is close and competitive they’re going to do everything they can to make sure there’s no doubt to who the winner is on Saturday.
“Even with all the concessions, this will be Gennady’s biggest payday and it’s also Canelo’s biggest payday so, whenever you have a combination like that, it works out well and this will be the type of fight we’ll see two or three times down the road.”