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It's a sad day in boxing.
The WBC on Monday came to a compromise and said it would allow Canelo Alvarez and Gennady Golovkin to each take an interim bout before facing each other for the middleweight title in the fall.
Representatives of Golden Boy Promotions, which has Alvarez, and of K2 Promotions, which has Golovkin, sounded pleased with WBC president Mauricio Sulaiman's decision. Sulaiman had said in May, after Alvarez defeated James Kirkland and Golovkin bested Willie Monroe, that he would allow the Alvarez-Miguel Cotto fight to go forward as long as the winner agreed within 15 days to fight Golovkin next.
As is often the case in boxing, it was a bunch of bull.
This is enough to make one want to give up on the sport and quit watching. It's a bad day; a very bad day.
Alvarez is the bigger star and has the influence here, and there were plenty of mixed signals being thrown on Nov. 21 after Alvarez defeated Cotto to win the belt. Promoter Oscar De La Hoya, who repeatedly talks about the best facing the best, waffled when pressured by Yahoo Sports about whether Golovkin would be next.
Alvarez flexed his biceps when asked about Golovkin, which was supposed to mean he's not afraid (and to be perfectly clear, I don't believe he is). But never did he once come out and say that he wants Golovkin next.
On Monday, the WBC announced it had worked out an agreement that will put the fight in the fall, presumably Sept. 17, 2016. At the Nov. 21 news conference, De La Hoya announced Alvarez would fight in 2016 on the two prominent Mexican holidays, Cinco de Mayo (May 7) and Mexican Independence Day weekend (Sept. 17).
But this is boxing, and not all goes well. Long-time Ohio State football coach Woody Hayes notoriously disliked the passing game and would say that when a team passed, three things could happen and two of them were bad.
And the same is true in boxing: In the perfect scenario, they each win spring bouts and then meet on Sept. 17. That would be the only good scenario, though. One or both of them could be injured and force postponement (cancellation?) of the bout, or, one or both of them could lose and the fight would lose a great deal of significance.
Golovkin promoter Tom Loeffler told the Los Angeles Times his side has no problem with waiting.
For a big fight like this -- and when you look at how long some of the other big fights took to get made, it’s not that long -- Gennady has a guarantee to fight Canelo in the fall, or he’ll have the WBC belt. So that seems like a good deal to take.
Getting the WBC belt if Alvarez doesn't fight Golovkin in the fall may be a good thing for Golovkin and K2, but it's not such a great alternative for the fans. The fans want the fight. They're two of the best, most exciting fights in the sport.
I couldn't care less about the belts, and neither should you. You should want to see Alvarez and Golovkin standing across from each other in a ring as soon as possible. Being satisfied seeing Golovkin handed the WBC belt because the Alvarez fight didn't occur at the right time is no benefit for a fan.
Golden Boy vice president Eric Gomez told the Times that time constraints were an issue. That's a bogus excuse, too. They have had plenty of time, and easily could have gotten the deal done had they wanted to do so.
They're not negotiating a nuclear test ban treaty; they're negotiating a boxing match, for goodness sake. Gomez, though, made it seem like this would take some lengthy period.
We had time constraints to get a deal together. It takes time for a mega-fight. Absolutely, it’s going to happen, but the terms have to be right and satisfied. And it helps us build up the fight. We have a great relationship with [Loeffler], and Canelo told us over the weekend, ‘I want to fight [Golovkin], that’s the fight I want.’ We told him we need time to get the right terms, ... We’ll get those done and the fight will happen sometime in the fall.
The bottom line in this is don't believe a thing a promoter says. Your heart will be broken. On Saturday at the Turning Stone Casino in Verona, N.Y., Golden Boy is promoting a doubleheader that will be televised by HBO, with heavyweights Bryant Jennings against Luis Ortiz in the main.
Have no doubt that if Ortiz wins, De La Hoya will mention new heavyweight champion Tyson Fury's name and say that Ortiz is looking to fight the best.
But as you can tell by what has occurred in the talks to make Alvarez-Golovkin, what a promoter says and what he does are two very different things.
Boxing fans need to demand more from the promoters. Who knows what level of opponent either Alvarez or Golovkin will take. There aren't a lot of compelling opponents out there, for Golovkin, in particular. So the fact that he's going to fight in the spring and not take on Alvarez almost certainly means they'll go after one of the division's lesser lights.
Perhaps Loeffler will work to pair Golovkin with Danny Jacobs, the new WBA champion who had an impressive win over Peter Quillin. But there are plenty of roadblocks to that, starting with the fact that Al Haymon handles Jacobs and would want the fight on his Premier Boxing Champions. Golovkin is under an exclusive contract with HBO.
No matter how it plays out, unless Alvarez and Golovkin and their representatives change course and meet on May 7, only one thing is certainly: The fans will be the losers.