Negotiations for a potential rematch between Saul “Canelo” Alvarez and Gennady “GGG” Golovkin are on hold until the conclusion of Billy Joe Saunders vs. David Lemieux for the WBO middleweight world title on Dec. 16 at Place Bell in Laval, Canada.
Canelo (49-1-2, 34 KO’s), 27, fought Golovkin (37-0-1, 33 KO’s), 35, for the IBF, IBO, WBA, and WBC middleweight world titles this past September at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas. The fight ended in a controversial split draw, though a majority of ringside observers saw Golovkin winning a comfortable points decision.
“We will wait [to resume negotiations] after Lemieux-Sanders,” said Oscar De La Hoya told ESPN Deportes. “We will talk, [and] analyze. These negotiations take time and are not easy. After that fight, we will think about it, [and] join them as a team.”
The WBC earlier this month ordered a mandatory rematch between both fighters, but that is not going to make the fight any easier to make. Golovkin is the champion, but the ball remains in Canelo’s court.
No matter how you slice it, this is potentially bad news, not necessarily for boxing, but certainly for the prospects of a Canelo-Golovkin rematch. Golden Boy did not flat out say ‘We’re considering facing the winner of Saunders-Lemieux instead of a Golovkin rematch,’ but that is what they implied.
Regardless, Canelo-Saunders or Canelo-Lemieux would be one tremendous fight, but Golden Boy made it very clear that Golovkin is not their priority. If they really believed Canelo won the first fight and was robbed of a victory on Mexican Independence Day of all days, would they be pushing harder for an immediate rematch?
For example, you could have heard something like ‘We won the first fight. Golovkin and his team know they lost that fight, and now Canelo is going to prove he wasn’t just the better man on Sept. 16, but he is also going to show all of you that on [for example May 5th or September 15th], Golovkin was just another opponent.’
If the fight happens, we will probably hear something along those lines in a way to hype up the affair, but that is not what we hear now. We do not see that bumptious fortitude. We are getting the business talk. We’re going to “think about it.” We’re going to “analyze.”
It is also very possible that the Canelo will fight the winner of Saunders-Lemieux in May, win the WBO belt, and that would give Golden Boy even more leverage in the rematch negotiations with Golovkin.
“There is talk that he [Canelo] wants the fight, and if he wants to, it’s all up to Canelo,” Abel Sanchez, Golovkin’s trainer, told ESPN Deportes. “It’s said that he’ll face the one who wins [David] Lemieux vs. [Billy Joe] Saunders. If he wins, Lemieux, it’s a fighter Golovkin already destroyed. I do not know why they give importance to that fight. Boxing needs the fight of Canelo and GGG to define who is who.”
Remember, Triple-G wants “all the belts,” and if Canelo gets that final title, it would potentially set up a rematch in September, or it could be pushed back to 2019.
But it is becoming more unlikely that we will see Canelo-Golovkin II as soon as we expected.