Canelo Alvarez needs Gennady Golovkin, but does the unified middleweight world titleholder necessarily need him?
Canelo was supposed to rematch with Golovkin on May 5 at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas. But of course, that did not happen, because Alvarez tested positive twice for the banned substance Clenbuterol while training in Mexico, and was suspended six months by the Nevada Athletic Commission.
Alvarez denied knowingly taking the drug and blamed the failed tests on contaminated meat in Mexico. After he was caught, Canelo moved his camp to San Diego, and passed each random test from that point forward.
Canelo and Golovkin fought to a highly-disputed split draw last September in a bout that a majority of ringside observers had Golovkin winning.
Golovkin (38-0-1, 34 KO's), 36, a Kazakhstan native based in Los Angeles, would make more money fighting Alvarez in a rematch than any other fight in the 160-pound weight class. That is indisputable.
But forget the paper. Forget Canelo. Think about legacy.
When Alvarez was still a junior middleweight, Golovkin would tell reporters the same exact answer on multiple occasions when asked about his future goals.
"I want all the belts in the middleweight division."
Golovkin holds the IBF, IBO, WBA, and WBC world titles. All he needs is one to become the undisputed champion. That last strap is currently held by WBO titlist Billy Joe Saunders. But sources tell FightNights.com that Saunders (26-0, 12 KO's) is demanding too much money for the fight to be made at this juncture.
If GGG defeats Saunders, it would be a tremendous bargaining chip for a rematch with Canelo.
Golovkin trainer Abel Sanchez has previously talked about ways boxers price themselves out of a fight, implying that Saunders is not serious about fighting GGG by making such demands.
However, there is one way this fight can be made. WBO president Francisco Varcarcel can make Golovkin the WBO mandatory to Saunders and order the fight to be made.
Sanctioning bodies serve a very important role in boxing. Mandatory title shots were created because without a sanctioning body mandating certain fighters get title shots, rising stars would essentially be robbed of an opportunity to fight the world champion.
For example, without sanctioning bodies, the great Winky Wright, a slick southpaw with great defense, may have never had a chance to showcase his skills. In fact, he was one of the reasons sanctioning bodies were established in the first place.
Golovkin does not need Canelo. More so, Alvarez needs Golovkin, not just to prove that he won the first fight, but also to prove that he is a clean fighter.
However, the fans have good memories, and many will be unwilling to believe or forgive Canelo regardless of what happens in a potential rematch. Although many are clamoring for the second fight to take place on Sept. 15, it would mean Alvarez will be out of the ring for a full year.
It seems unlikely that Oscar De La Hoya, Canelo's promoter with Golden Boy Promotions, would allow his fighter to take on Golovkin immediately coming off a one-year layoff.