The fight that has been put on the back burner for nearly three years is finally going to happen.
The past few years have seen Gennady Golovkin become a sensation on the boxing scene. Golovkin’s sparkling record of 37-0 includes 33 knockouts which has made him a fan favorite. Golovkin currently possesses the WBA, WBC, IBF, and IBO Middleweight Championships as he is the king of the division. But what has hurt Golovkin throughout his career is that most of the big names in boxing haven’t been overenthusiastic as far as climbing into the ring with him due to to his awesome punching power. One fighter that comes to mind is Saul “Canelo” Alvarez who like Golovkin is a dominate middleweight.
Alvarez is the current Ring Magazine and Lineal Middleweight Champions, while he is also in possession of the WBO Junior Middleweight Title. Alvarez has a professional record of 48-1-1 and like Golovkin he is known for his punching power which is evident by his 34 career knockouts. Golovkin and Alvarez have been the top two middleweights for the past five years, but they’ve yet to meet inside of the ring. However that could be changing soon.
Theoretically the fight between Alvarez and Golovkin should have happened two years ago. But Alvarez’s promoter Oscar De La Hoya and his Golden Boy Promotions have been playing the old cat and mouse game.
Alvarez is literally De La Hoya’s “Golden Boy” as he is the company’s meal ticket. And after Alvarez suffered a loss to Floyd Mayweather in September 2013, De La Hoya has gone to work as far as protecting his top fighter.
Alvarez has gone on to fight good contenders such as Erislandy Lara and Miguel Cotto, but no one who De La Hoya feared losing to which is why a fight against Golovkin has consistently been put on the back burner. But that might not be the case that much longer.
Last September, Golovkin scored a fifth-round TKO of Kell Brook after Brook could not answer the bell for the sixth round. This was due in part to punches that Golovkin had administered in the first round to Brook’s eye. However Brook was dishing out his fair share of punishment to Golovkin as some observers had him winning the fight. Prior to the contest, there were rumors circulating that Golovkin had been dealing with an illness leading up to the fight. And if those rumors were true it gave something to the conversation of him not being sharp against Brook.
But this past Saturday night at Madison Square Garden in New York City, Golovkin had the opportunity to once again display his ability as a knockout artist when he took on Daniel Jacobs. Jacobs stepped into the ring with a sparkling record of 32-1 and he wasn’t expected to be a pushover for Golovkin.
Jacobs was sent to the canvas by Golovkin in the third round, but he was unfazed. For the remainder of the contest Jacobs took Golovkin’s best shots in stride and even took the time out to taunt his undefeated opponent on several occasions. Jacobs was able to keep Golovkin off balance by switching back and forth between fighting orthodox and southpaw. Jacobs was also able to land flurries of combos that Golovkin has never had to deal with before which at times bewildered him. And when it was all said and done, Jacobs became the first fighter in nine years who was able to go the distance with Golovkin as he ended his 23-fight knockout streak.
Golovkin was able to score a controversial unanimous decision over Jacobs as many people (myself included) felt that he lost. Now Golovkin has had consecutive fights against quality fighters who have made him look human and whereas De La Hoya has made Alvarez avoid the notion of climbing into the ring with Triple G, it could be happening sooner rather than later.
Golovkin is 34-years of age and as that awesome punching power might be beginning to fizzle it is just the opening that De La Hoya needs. Alvarez is 26-years of age and as he is in the prime of his career, it has been very easy for De La Hoya to put of a fight with Golovkin off in order to benefit his fighter.
But this wouldn’t be the first time that we’ve seen this tactic in boxing as for years Mayweather backed away from fighting Manny Pacquiao until Pacquiao’s skills began to diminish which led to Mayweather climbing in the ring to face him in May 2015 as he secured an easy victory. A big problem in boxing is that promoters too often are more concerned with protecting a fighter’s record as opposed to giving the fans what they want which is to have the best face the best, and that would mean more money for everyone involved.
So now when Alvarez faces Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. on May 6, there will be a big buzz in Las Vegas for the fight. And if Alvarez is able to secure a victory over Chavez Jr., De La Hoya will almost instantaneously claim that Alvarez is ready to face Golovkin because he knows that he loves the chances of his fighter winning right now. And for boxing fans, they would finally get to see Golovkin take on Alvarez. However with the skills of Golovkin apparently fading, we more than likely will get a watered down version of the contest.
In this world, talk is cheap as actions always speak louder than words. The sport of boxing is dominated by back room politics and promoters which sometimes deprives fight fans of the action that they truly want to see. On May 9, Saul “Canelo” Alvarez defeated James Kirkland via knockout in the third round of a junior middleweight fight. Alvarez is only 24-years of age and he already has a record of 45-1-1 which has some folks looking at him as being the future of boxing. 34-year old Miguel Cotto has seen the boxing wars for a long time as he has won titles in four different weight classes and he is currently the WBC and Ring Magazine Middleweight Champion. There have been rumblings about Alvarez and Cotto getting it on for nearly a year, and now it is time to put the chatter aside and let the pugilist do the talking.
This past Saturday night, Cotto scored a fourth-round TKO of Daniel Geale at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York to retain his titles and improve his professional record to 40-4. Cotto is 34, but since coming under the tutelage of trainer Freddie Roach, he has looked like a revived Cotto.
After losing consecutive fights to Floyd Mayweather and Austin Trout, Cotto began working with Roach and since then, he is 3-0 with none of his fights going the distance. Roach has Cotto relying on speed, power, and agression which were all vital elements that allowed him to win his first 32 professional bouts. Cotto’s four professional losses came to Antonio Margarito, Manny Pacquiao, Mayweather, and Trout. And with the exception of Margarito, Cotto simply ran out of gas in the latter part of each contest which was his demise. But with Roach, Cotto has dictated the pace from the opening bell and thus we’ve seen Miguel Cotto 2.0.
With neither Alvarez or Cotto being “fully” open to getting into the ring with WBA and IBO Middleweight Champion Gennady Golovkin, it makes total sense for these two to face each other as the boxing world is starving for a big fight that will be headlined by someone who’s last name is not Mayweather or Pacquiao. There are those fight fans that weren’t pleased with last month’s bout between Mayweather and Pacquiao as they felt that it lacked action. That wouldn’t be the case for a showdown between Alvarez and Cotto and both fighters have built dynamic reputations for their punching power and their ability to go toe-to-toe in the middle of the ring and by the looks of things we can expect to see them square off at some point later this year; it’s just a matter of finding out whether Alvarez will move up to the welterweight division or would he meet Cotto at a catch weight?
With Oscar De La Hoya and Golden Boy Promotions representing Alvarez and Jay-Z and Roc Nation Sports representing Cotto, you have two sharp business minds that will find a way to make the numbers work for this fight. And led by the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, there will be plenty of venues in the United States that will pay top dollar to host this event that you can anticipate being televised on pay-per-view. Overall legacies would not be at stake for either Cotto or Alvarez, but it would mean bragging rights for two countries with rich boxing histories as Cotto represents Puerto Rico and Alvarez is drapped in the red, white, and green of Mexico. This would also be a huge test for both fighters as it would give us a chance to see how far that Alvarez has come since tasting defeat in 2013 after failing to keep up with the speedy hands of Mayweather while this showdown will also let us truly know how much of an impact that Roach has had on the career of Cotto. To be the best, you have to defeat the best to be considered as one of the greatest and the winner of a potential fight between Cotto and Alvarez will have another feather in his respective hat.
A bombshell was dropped recently in the realm of boxing when Golden Boy Promotions which is headed by former Middleweight Champion Oscar De La Hoya filed a lawsuit in federal court in Los Angeles, California against boxing promoter Al Haymon and his business entities for repeated violations of the Muhammad Ali Boxing Reform Act as to some it appears as if Haymon has a monopoly over the top fighters.
For years in boxing there has been a seamy underbelly that has involved back door politics among promoters. The perceived stereotype is that the “punch drunk” boxer needs representation where a book smart guy in a suit manages his money. Boxing promoters make their money in the truest definition of the word which is to “promote”. The promoter will build up his fighters through various media outlets and fights which will build up his overall fan appeal. The promoter books the venues for the bouts, sells the tickets, and takes care of the fighter’s personal appearances. And of course the promoter doesn’t provide all of these services for free. And because some fighters don’t know the ins and outs of the business, they are left broke when their days in the ring are complete.
During his time as a fighter, De La Hoya learned the ins and outs of the business of boxing and in 2005 he started Golden Boy Promotions. With the help of his former business partner Richard Schaefer, De La Hoya turned Golden Boy into one of the top boxing promotions in the sport. De La Hoya and Schaefer recently had a falling out as Schaefer left Golden Boy. A big part of De La Hoya’s problems with Schaefer stem from his dealings with Haymon who is arguably the most powerful man in boxing.
Haymon has only been on the boxing scene for about 15 years and in that time he has made a big impact. Haymon has most of the top pugilists working under his brand as it ranges from the likes of Floyd Mayweather Jr., to Danny Garcia. Haymon has so many top fighters that he is holding all of the aces as other promoters basically have to work with him in order to procure the top fights for their talent.
Haymon has also received criticism from some people due to the fact that he always doesn’t put on top quality fights as he tends to protect fighters and their records by having them meet inferior opponents. And in an era where boxing is losing ground to mixed martial arts, that philosophy is not helping the sport. Haymon has also been accused of playing both sides of the fence as being both a boxing promoter and a boxing manager which the Muhammad Ali Reform Act was enacted to prevent. But Haymon knows how to keep his nose clean.
Haymon never talks to the press and he very rarely makes a public appearance. During the fights that Haymon promotes, it is always Sam Watson along with his sons Brandon and Marcus that are always in attendance and escorting fighters to the ring. And generally whichever fighter that Watson and his sons are in the corner of, is usually the guy that will get his hand raised when it is all over. Haymon is extremely smart because If you attempted to search online in order to find his net worth it will only show up as $15 million which is totally inaccurate for a man that carries as much stroke as he does in the sweet science.
De La Hoya is looking to loosen Haymon’s grip while “balancing” things out and in other words, getting his perceived piece of the pie. De La Hoya’s most prized asset is middleweight Saul “Canelo” Alvarez who is priming to become the next boxing superstar. But Alvarez is one fighter whereas Haymon has a crew. De La Hoya is one of the best boxers of Mexican descent and his name along with his legacy in the ring will allow him to hand pick the best fighters from Mexico to work for him. But he’ll still have to go through Haymon to get the top fights.
Haymon is a smart businessman as he has procured plenty of bargaining chips which will consistently allow him to make money and he has done what many other boxing promoters wish that they could do which is to simply corner the market. Haymon is so powerful in boxing that he is basically the only person that Mayweather will listen to. De La Hoya wants a legal fight and I don’t see Haymon backing down from it as sometimes the best bouts don’t take place between the ropes as they can go on in the courtrooms.