It is not the fight that he wanted, but Gennady Golovkin is going to put on a show on Cinco De Mayo after all.
The unified middleweight world titleholder will fight former 154-pound world title contender Vanes Martirosyan on May 5 at StubHub Center in Carson, California, following the withdrawal of Saul "Canelo" Alvarez, who pulled out from their highly anticipated rematch earlier this month in the wake of two positive tests for the banned substance clenbuterol.
"Vanes Martirosyan is now the most important fight of my career. He has my respect, and I am training hard to defend my titles against him," Golovkin said in a press release. "I am happy to be back on HBO and fighting at StubHub Center because they have great boxing fans. I will give my fans another big drama show."
"Gennady has had such a terrific training camp in Big Bear. It wouldn't be fair to him to let it go to waste just because Canelo was being punished," Golovkin's trainer Abel Sanchez added. "Gennady is going to light up Cinco De Mayo as only a true Mexican-style fighter can. I can't wait to unleash him."
The announcement comes on the same day that Canelo was slapped with a six-month suspension by the NSAC.
Golovkin (37-0-1, 33 KO's), 36, a Kazakh native fighting out of Los Angeles, however, could get stripped of his IBF title. The sanctioning body did not approve of the bout, and Golovkin is due to make a mandatory defense against Sergiy Derevyanchenko.
According to a letter sent Tuesday by IBF attorney Linda P. Torres to the respective attorneys of both parties, the reason why the fight was not approved is the same reason why the bout has received so much flak from the fans and the media.
The WBA, WBC, and the California State Athletic Commission agreed to sanction Martirosyan as an opponent, although the Armenia native, who turns 32 on May 1, has not fought since 2016, and is not a middleweight.
Despite his inactivity, Martirosyan (36-3-1, 21 KO's) remains the mandatory challenger to Jermell Charlo's WBC junior middleweight title, but is unranked at middleweight by all of the sport's recognized sanctioning bodies.
Tickets go on sale Wednesday at 10 a.m. Wednesday at AXS.com, and the StubHub Center box office. Prices start $750, $500, $300, $200, $100 and $50.