by Daniel Tria
For once in his career, Gennady Golovkin seems to have a lot of options available. Targeting a June 10 date in his native Kazakhstan, unified Middleweight champion seemingly has his pick of the litter. Thanks to the opening of Expo 2017 in Astana, the Golovkin camp may be able to finally entice a big name into the ring with the hometown hero.
Here’s a list of Golovkin’s possible next opponents, along with a summary as to why the fight will happen, why it won’t, and whether it is can happen, or if there’s no chance in hell.
Billy Joe Saunders: The WBO middleweight champion fought once since narrowly edging Andy Lee to win the belt. He looked less than impressive against handpicked opponent Arthur Akavov. Saunders is content to build up a lead on scorecards and then shut down the action – the opposite of Golovkin. Since the Jacobs fight the British fighter’s trash talk has commenced again, this time claiming he’s better than Jacobs and would fight Golovkin in a field. Um… ok.
Why This Fight Will Happen: When Saunders refused K2’s lucrative offer last year, regret must have swept over his camp when they couldn’t make another fight as quickly – and profitably. Frank Warren knows his charge will never have a chance to make this much money again – unless he fights Canelo.
Why This Fight Won’t Happen: Since winning the belt in Dec. 2015, Saunders fought the lightly regarded Akavov to an uninspiring unanimous decision. He always seems to get hurt in training and despite getting large offers to fight Golovkin and to fight on the undercard of Canelo’s fights he keeps turning them down. Put it simply – Saunders is a wild card content to keep his belt by occasionally defending it against tomato cans.
Canelo Alvarez: First, this fight would not happen on June 10, it would happen in September, so it will be examined from that point. Oscar De La Hoya is not wrong when he says Golovkin is clearly the B-side of the promotion. However, if Canelo does not make the fight, then he risks being permanently tarred with the label of “ducking” the Kazakh. Furthermore, Canelo is the lineal middleweight champion – he beat Miguel Cotto who beat Sergio Martinez who beat Kelly Pavlik who beat Jermain Taylor who beat Bernard Hopkins. Check out that last name – Golovkin cares about the lineage.
Why This Fight Will Happen: This fight can do more than 1 million pay-per-view buys and the public is thirsting for it. The money will be there and K2/Tom Loeffler are regarded as easy to make deals with. Furthermore, De La Hoya always seemed to be targeting the September 2017 date.
Why This Fight Won’t Happen: Canelo stands a great chance of getting blasted out of the ring because his style is tailor-made for Golovkin. If Canelo gets embarrassed, then what’s next? A fight with Jacobs on Cinco de Mayo weekend in 2018? A move to Super Middleweight? Canelo has a lot to lose by making this fight.
Daniel Jacobs: There is a small but significant crowd in the boxing media and fans who say that Jacobs clearly won. Couple things to note – Golovkin’s face seemed worse after the Kell Brook fight and Jacobs wore sunglasses to his presser after the fight. In the post-fight interview with Max Kellerman, the left eye was swelling. The boxing public would enjoy a rematch and perhaps Jacobs could pull off the win. It’s also likely Golovkin’s second fight with Jacobs could mirror Manny Pacquiao’s second fight with Tim Bradley.
Why This Fight Will Happen: Jacobs clearly believes he won the fight. He appeared very interested in a rematch and the powers that be would also be interested. If nothing else, the fight would be easy to promote and would out-sell last Saturday’s fight.
Why This Fight Won’t Happen: Golovkin’s team is far more interested in Saunders and Canelo. Jacobs for his part might be better served fighting other highly rated middleweights such as David Lemieux, Chris Eubank Jr., or Hassan N’Dam. There are some others as well, and if Jacobs blasts through them it would put more pressure on a rematch.
Chris Eubank Jr.: The up and coming Brit would be an excellent fight because he certainly talks a good game. But, when it comes time to sign contracts he’s absent – that’s how we ended up with the Kell Brook fight. Eubank lost a split decision to Saunders but remains one of the middleweight division’s most intriguing talents.
Why This Fight Will Happen: Eubank doesn’t seem to have any real prospects for a big fight anytime soon. Golovkin’s team could come in and offer serious money, and at that point Eubank would be wise to sign the contract.
Why This Fight Won’t Happen: Many reasons, but the most pertinent being Eubank would probably only want to fight in Britain, and when he had the chance to fight Golovkin before, he left the contract unsigned.
Demetrius Andrade: This is complete reckless speculation, but Boo Boo has the size, speed, and power to credibly move up to Middleweight and give Golovkin serious problems. Frankly, if the 6’1 Andrade were to move up and fight Golovkin it’s a no-lose proposition for him. If he gets blasted, well, everyone (except Jacobs) gets blasted by the Kazakh. If he loses credibly then he’s established as a player in the Middleweight division, and if he wins, his life completely changes.
Why This Fight Will Happen: Andrade seems genuinely frustrated by fighting three times since June 2014. This would be the biggest payday of his career, and as stated above, this is a no-lose proposition for him. If things don’t work out he could always go back to Super Welterweight, the problem is no one is making fights with him at that weight.
Why This Fight Won’t Happen: Simply put, no one is talking about it. If no one’s talking about it then it won’t happen. But this would be a VERY interesting fight.
Miguel Cotto: Now that the fight with James Kirkland has fallen through, the future Hall-of-Famer is seeking one last payday. It’s doubtful he’d be willing to go all the way to Kazakhstan, but Golovkin affords him the opportunity to leave the sport on his shield. Cotto could present issues with Golovkin with movement, but with his inactivity since losing to Canelo, it’s probably best for Cotto to take a stay busy fight prior to dealing with Golovkin.
Why This Fight Will Happen: Cotto would certainly earn more fighting Golovkin than he would if he fought Kirkland – though Kirkland’s scalp would set up maybe one more big fight. Plus, Freddie Roach is the type of guy who’d be invigorated by the challenge of Golovkin.
Why This Fight Won’t Happen: Why in the world would Cotto want to spend his time against one of the hardest punchers in the Middleweight division when he’s not a true Middleweight? Frankly, this fight doesn’t make much sense aside from financial interests – it would do very well in New York on the weekend of the Puerto Rican Day Parade.