Promoters Oscar De La Hoya and Tom Loeffler met in Los Angeles at the Golden Boy Promotions offices on Wednesday to discuss putting together the long-awaited title fight between linear middleweight champion Canelo Alvarez and WBA/WBC/IBF champion Gennady Golovkin.
No deal was signed, though De La Hoya, who promotes Alvarez, tweeted following the meeting that the promoters had agreed verbally for Alvarez and Golovkin in September 2017.
Fans have been clamoring for the fight for nearly a year, but the drumbeat picked up intensity on Nov. 21 after Alvarez defeated Miguel Cotto to win the WBC and linear middleweight belts.
But Loeffler, who promotes Golovkin, stressed there is still no deal.
"It would be great if we had some binding agreement, but we don't," he said. "I did meet with Golden Boy and they want to build the fight and shoot for the fall of 2017. From our side, we're going to continue to try to put together the biggest fights for Gennady. Both sides want to make the [Alvarez-Golovkin] fight, but it is a mischaracterization to say there is a deal."
Many within the sport regard it as the best high-profile match that currently can be made, and have for nearly a year. But a source told Yahoo Sports that though Alvarez defeated Cotto last year to win the linear middleweight title, he still doesn't feel fully comfortable at the weight. Both of Alvarez's middleweight fights have been held at a catchweight of 155, or a pound over the super welterweight limit of 154.
The 15-month delay of pushing the bout to 2017 will allow Alvarez to get comfortable fighting as a fully fledged middleweight and to help Golovkin build his name.
Alvarez is clearly the bigger draw and thus has the ability to dictate terms. The WBC had ordered that the Cotto-Alvarez winner from Nov. 21 had to fight Golovkin next. De La Hoya didn't feel it was the correct fight for Alvarez at the time, so he negotiated a deal with the WBC and Golovkin's team to allow Alvarez to take a May 7 bout with Amir Khan in Las Vegas.
The WBC agreed with the proviso that the winner would have to sign to defend the title against Golovkin within two weeks or be stripped of the belt. Alvarez knocked out Khan in the sixth round. But less than two weeks later, he decided to vacate the WBC belt rather than be held to what he called an artificial deadline.
Golden Boy secured Sept. 17 for Alvarez's next fight, though no venue has been determined, and there was at least a glimmer of hope the bout with Golovkin would happen this year. But a source said that Alvarez will go back down to super welterweight and fight at 154 pounds in September. He'll then fight perhaps two additional times before the tentative meeting Golovkin in September 2017.
De La Hoya believes the time is necessary to build Golovkin's name to make the bout more attractive on pay-per-view. The problem is that there are few compelling fights for Golovkin at 160 and he'd be heavily favored in nearly any match he'd take at that weight other than against Alvarez.