It has been said, perhaps ad nauseam, that a showdown between middleweight champions Gennady Golovkin and Canelo Álvarez is one of the biggest fights in boxing. But with Golovkin making his next defense against Dominic Wade this Saturday, and Álvarez doing the same against Amir Khan a fortnight later, there has of course been a lot of media speculation of the two facing one another after their respective bouts. Multiple parties involved in the fight, from sanctioning bodies to promotional entities to the fighters themselves, have chimed in on the matter in the last week, and the opinions are mixed.
First is WBC president Mauricio Sulaiman who released a statement earlier this week urging everyone to simply stop talking about the potential matchup, citing that any further speculation would be disrespectful to their upcoming opponents.
"I think it would be disrespectful [to speculate on whether or not this fight will happen], especially for the opponents of Golovkin and Canelo. I think these are dangerous fights. They are scheduled to fight and until we know the results of April 23 and May 7, respectively, then we can decide what the fighters are planning to do," said Sulaiman. "Once we get past the results of those fights, we are going to meet the promoters to find out what their intentions are, if they are actually planning to fight in December as they are saying, but for now we will not disrespect them or their opponents."
On the one hand, I completely understand where Sulaiman is coming from. Being Khan or Wade in this situation would be imaginably frustrating and annoying since all the speculation regarding the super-fight is entirely dependent on them losing their upcoming fight, which is essentially discounting their value as a fighter. I can also see how it makes sense to wait for the results in the next couple of weeks before looking much further beyond that as damn near anything can happen in boxing. It is very much putting the cart before the horse.
But to describe the upcoming challenges as "dangerous" to the favored fighter is laughable, especially with Wade coming in at as high as a 100-1 underdog against Golovkin on some sites, and Khan moving up two weight classes for the first time to challenge the elites of the division. So while anything can happen in boxing, there are also plenty more instances where things go according to plan. With both of the odds tipped so heavily in the direction of the favored fighters, it's only natural (and in some ways acceptable) for the next step to be discussed.
Regardless of the outcomes, however, the WBC has gone on record stating that the winner of the Khan/Álvarez matchup has 15 days to negotiate a match with Golovkin, the current mandatory challenger should Golovkin emerge victorious this Saturday. Should no fight be negotiated, the winner of the May 7th match will be stripped of the championship. This fact apparently puts no further pressure on Golden Boy promoter Oscar De La Hoya who sort-of, half-way chimed in on the matter on Tuesday.
In an interview with the Ring Magazine, it appears as if De La Hoya is unwilling to commit to any sort of plans for his charge Álvarez to be put in against the Kazakh this year, speaking in one-word responses to any questions regarding the potential super-fight. Instead, De La Hoya confirmed the possibility of a rematch with Puerto Rican superstar Miguel Cotto as Álvarez's next fight, and even made comments referencing the rematch clause in the Khan match. Basically, his stance is similar to that of the WBC.
"Because in boxing you never know what's going to happen," De La Hoya said. "I cannot talk to you and say that Amir Khan is an easy fight because it's not, and the rematch clause is in place for a reason because Amir Khan is a real threat, and I cannot commit to something – this fight hasn't even happened."
While Álvarez has made more complete statements regarding the fight, the content of those statements are about as ambiguous as everything that has been stated thus far.
"It's in my future plans. It's definitely in my future plans," said Canelo in regards to fighting Golovkin. "I want to have that fight. That's the fight I want. I want to give that to the fans. I'm just not sure when. Right now I'm focused on Amir Khan. That's my fight. I want to fight three times this year. That's my plan, but anything can happen in this fight with Amir Khan. Sometimes you have a plan and it changes. So I'm focused 100% on Amir Khan, and we'll see right after that."
On the other side of things, Golovkin has been much clearer on his feelings regarding a potential showdown. In an interview with the LA Times, Golovkin went on to call out his Mexican rival and boldly stated that avoiding the matter is disrespectful to the sport.
"I understand this decision is maybe 20% Canelo's and 80% [his promoter], Golden Boy. It's business, but it's not respectful of boxing. Everyone says Canelo is a great champion, the idol of Mexico. The idol for what? For boxing? No. Or as a businessman? Right now, he looks like a businessman," said Golovkin to the LA Times. "I'm a middleweight. So let's settle who's the best middleweight. Canelo? He's a big idol ... is he really a junior-middleweight? Come on, guys. Let's fight. You don't want the fight, I understand, you're 100% a businessman. So go fight Manny Pacquiao. But I wait, I've been waiting ... let's go fight."
So while I can empathize with the arguments of the WBC, Golden Boy and Álvarez himself, it does appear more like a business approach than a fistic one. Out of all involved parties, Golovkin appears to be the only one that carries the attitude of a fighter. It will be interesting to see what else is said in the next couple of weeks.