The long-awaited rematch between Canelo Alvarez and Gennady Golovkin seemed like a certainty for September.
After all, a deal was already struck for the two best middleweights in the world to meet on May 5 before Canelo tested positive for the banned substance clenbuterol and was subsequently suspended, cancelling the bout.
Now, Golden Boy Promotions CEO Oscar De La Hoya told THE RING on Thursday he’s moving on from talks for a rematch between Canelo and GGG and instead pursuing other options for Alvarez’s fight on September 15 in Las Vegas.
“It’s clear to us that Golovkin doesn’t want to fight Canelo,” De La Hoya said during a phone interview. “It’s clear to us that after all the demands that they made, after Canelo having to do the hair follicle test, having to enroll in VADA, having to be tested by the Nevada State Athletic Commission randomly even before he was enrolled in VADA, it’s clear that GGG is afraid.
“So we’re going to move on and I’m going to start making phone calls to (Daniel Jacobs’) people, to (Billy Joe) Saunders’ people, start making calls to (Jermall) Charlo and (Spike) O’Sullivan.”
De La Hoya said he was told by Golovkin’s promoter, Tom Loeffler, earlier Thursday that GGG “doesn’t want to fight. That’s all Tom said. They’re not going have a better deal than what they have now.”
Loeffler acknowledged that he’s trying to secure a better deal for Golovkin than what was agreed to for the rematch on May 5, but adamantly denies saying that they’re not interested in the bout.
Golovkin (38-0-1, 34 knockouts) settled for a $1 million purse to knock out Vanes Martirosyan on May 5, a small fraction of the expected $20 million-plus payday he was expected to earn for the encore encounter with Alvarez (49-1-2, 34 KOs).
The 36-year-old Kazakh wasn’t shy about expressing his displeasure with Alvarez’s positive test for clenbuterol. The 27-year-old Mexican star attributed the adverse finding to contaminated meat, but Golovkin said he wasn’t buying the alibi.
“If they want to go in a different direction, they’re entitled to, but I think that speaks more to Canelo,” Loeffler told THE RING. “GGG is not afraid to fight anybody in the middleweight division. He made a lot of (financial) sacrifices for the first fight and the rematch. And since the rematch was cancelled he wants a more equitable percentage.
“The situation with the IBF, he puts that on Canelo. If the Canelo fight happened in May, there wouldn’t be an issue with the title. There are a lot of issues that arose because of Canelo’s positive test. He wants to be fairly compensated.”
Golovkin and Loeffler travelled to New Jersey on Tuesday for a meeting with the IBF. The organization ordered GGG to defend his 160-pound belt against No. 1 contender Sergey Dereyanchenko within 90 days of May 5 or else be stripped.
There’s a rotation system in place for unified champions to meet their respective mandatory obligations, and the WBC’s would have been fulfilled with the Canelo fight. When that fight fell out, the IBF stepped in to enforce a bout with Derevyanchenko (12-0, 10 KOs), but GGG opted for the safer option in Martirosyan with Canelo in his sights for September.
GGG filed for an exception for a voluntary defense to pave the way for the rematch with Alvarez, and the IBF will have a ruling within 10 business days of the meeting. Now, it might not matter.
“It’s fine, go and deal with your IBF mandatory, whoever he is, I believe he has 11 fights, go deal with him, make a million-and-a-half and good luck,” De La Hoya said. “There’s no better deal for him out there for (a fight with) anybody.
“He’s afraid to lose against Canelo, what else do we have to do to make the fight? He’ll make a 20-plus million payday. He’ll be able to redeem and maybe put a stamp on what happened in the first fight and give the fight fans what they want to see. What other hoops do we have to go through? We’ve complied with everything.”
De La Hoya is willing to go ahead with the rematch under the terms agreed to for May 5, but the hall of fame fighter insists he’s not changing the deal.
“It depends on how fast I can make a deal with Jacobs or Charlo or Saunders,” De La Hoya remarked when asked if a deal can still be struck for Canelo-GGG 2. “It can still happen, (but) I’m not going to wait around for anybody.
“To stage a big pay-per-view like we are in September, we need at least three months. The clock is ticking and we’re going to keep moving. I have my first choices, top of my list is somebody like a Charlo, a Saunders, Danny Jacobs.
“Who can talk anything bad about those fights, he’ll fight the very best like he’s always done. Golden Boy Promotions will continue to work with any fighters that the fans want to see. I love any of the three (possible opponents). Those are the best fights that we can make. Jacobs is a fighter that is on top of his game. In a lot of people’s eyes, he beat Golovkin in a very close fight.”
Jacobs (34-2, 29 KOs) is promoted by Eddie Hearn, while Saunders, the WBO titleholder, is with Frank Warren. Charlo is advised by Al Haymon, but he doesn’t have a promoter, making him a strong candidate for the Canelo assignment if the rematch with GGG indeed doesn’t take place.
Charlo (27-0, 21 KOs) is one of the top promotional free agents in the sport, and Golden Boy could move to offer the 28-year-old the matchup on the condition he signs a multi-fight deal with De La Hoya’s Los Angeles-based company.
“That would be dope,” Charlo told THE RING about the possibility of fighting Canelo. “I’m ready. If my team likes it, then we’ll take it. If it’s true anyways, we’ll obviously entertain it. I’m ready for that moment. I keep everybody on lock and in tune and up to date with everything.
“My team does a great job at making the moves, Oscar would have to make a lot of sense speaking in money terms (to sign a promotional deal with Golden Boy). Hopefully it all works out.”
Loeffler is still hopeful it all works out for Golovkin to meet Canelo and settle the score from their controversial draw last September. The Santa Monica-based promoter called it the “biggest fight in boxing for both guys” and he said he’s still in talks with Golden Boy Promotions president Eric Gomez as he tries to strike a deal.
“Both guys made their biggest purse, it seems like it would make sense that they fight in the rematch,” Loeffler said. “Canelo made by far his biggest payday against GGG. He made four times what he made against (Floyd) Mayweather fighting against GGG and much more than he did fighting (Miguel) Cotto or (Julio Cesar) Chavez (Jr.). And to be fair, GGG made his biggest payday as well.
“It’s a much bigger fight than the rematch (would have originally been) with the controversy with the testing. If Canelo and GGG don’t want to agree on the terms, it would be unfortunate for the sport of boxing.”