Why hasn't Canelo Alvarez-Gennadiy Golovkin 3 already been made?

Yahoo Sports
A third fight between Canelo Alvarez and Gennadiy Golovkin should be easy to make but the two sides are reportedly at an "impasse." (AP Photo/John Locher)
A third fight between Canelo Alvarez and Gennadiy Golovkin should be easy to make but the two sides are reportedly at an "impasse." (AP Photo/John Locher)

On the surface, a third fight between Canelo Alvarez and Gennadiy Golovkin should be one of the easiest superfights to make.

For one thing, both fighters are under contract to DAZN, the streaming service, so there will be no haggling between competing networks over who will get to televise the fight, as there was when Mike Tyson and Lennox Lewis were hashing things out in 2002.

For another, because their DAZN contracts stipulate specific purses for their fights, there is no need for the management teams of either Alvarez or Golovkin to negotiate an acceptable split of the PPV revenues, which is always a huge stumbling block when trying to make one of these deals. Pre-Andy Ruiz Jr., that was the main obstacle to a Deontay Wilder-Anthony Joshua fight.

And third, these two have already fought two controversial fights decided by razor-thin decisions that people still argue about. A third fight is a natural and could thrust this association into the annals of great boxing trilogies, along with Ali-Frazier and Gatti-Ward. Because each of the first two bouts attracted over 1 million PPV buys, DAZN has got to anticipate a huge uptick in subscribers for the third one, even if it’s only for a one-month look-see.

So why isn’t it happening?

The official narrative is that the GGG camp is refusing to fight Alvarez once again in Las Vegas. The story goes they are holding out to have the fight in either Texas or New York, feeling that they were jobbed out of both fights by the Vegas judges. Their first fight, in September 2017, was ruled a draw and the second fight, a year later, was won via split decision by Alvarez.

But that theory is the ultimate red herring, and doesn’t seem to hold water for a couple of reasons.

For one, sources on the GGG side say there is no hard and fast anywhere-but-Vegas demand from their side. And for another, the GGG camp was not unhappy with the judges for the second fight — they were OK with Dave Moretti, who had scored the first fight for Golovkin, and specifically asked for and got Steve Weisfeld of New York — until after the decision was rendered. Both Weisfeld and Moretti scored the second fight for Canelo, 115-113.

So it would seem their problem is not so much with where the fight was held, but with how it was scored. (For the record, I thought Golovkin won the first fight and Alvarez the second.) The solution to that, of course, is to leave no doubt the third time.

The upshot of it all is that Golden Boy Promotions, which controls Alvarez’s destiny, is said to be demanding a resolution by the end of business Friday or it will move on to other opponents.

The canard that GGG is demanding to dictate the site of the third fight seems like a plant designed to deflect attention to what is really going on here. And that is, Alvarez doesn’t really want to fight GGG a third time, for the simplest of reasons: He really doesn’t have to.

“We’re going to do the third fight when Canelo wants to do it,’’ Eric Gomez, Golden Boy’s president, told Yahoo Sports on Friday. “Is he interested in it? Of course. But there’s a lot of other fighters he’s interested in, too.’’

Then he told me something very interesting: “There’s no big difference in what he will get paid for a GGG fight than for any other fight.’’

And that is the key right there. Alvarez’s deal with DAZN pays him $365 million for 11 fights. He’s already had two of them — a gimme against Rocky Fielding, for which he “only’’ made $15 million,’’ and a somewhat tougher one with Daniel Jacobs for something like $30 million.

And according to Gomez, there is no stipulation in the contract that Alvarez must fight GGG to reap the entire windfall.

If he can make that kind of money to fight easier opponents than GGG, why bother?

This is not to say that Alvarez is afraid of GGG, or ducking him — at this level, professional boxers are no more frightened of their opponents than race car drivers are of careening around a track at 200 mph or airline pilots are of flying a plane they know could plunge into the sea. To pros, knockouts, pile-ups and plane crashes are occupational hazards that only happen to the other guy. To think otherwise would stop any of them from getting behind the wheel, strapping into a cockpit or climbing those four steps up to the ring.

But at this level, boxing is a business, and elite-level fighters routinely choose fights based on how much money they can make with the least amount of risk. And even though Alvarez believes he has beaten Golovkin twice, he knows it will be a close, hard fight.

He may also be bored with the matchup, and according to one boxing source, still harbors resentment against GGG for remarks made before their second fight, when Alvarez was coming off a PED suspension. According to the source, Alvarez would like to punish GGG by denying him not only another shot, but another big payday.

Although DAZN closely guards the details of its contracts, it seems pretty obvious that the terms of Alvarez’s deal disincentivizes him from wanting to fight GGG a third time when he can get close to the same amount of money fighting say, Demetrius Andrade, who holds the only 160-pound title that Alvarez doesn’t, or Callum Smith, the hard-punching Englishman who could add a 168-pound title to Alvarez’s legacy. There’s also been talk that Alvarez might eventually want to move up to light heavyweight.

“Money’s not an issue with Canelo,’’ Gomez said. “He wants to make history.’’

And to him, GGG is history. Ancient history.

“For me, it’s done,’’ Alvarez said of the rivalry with GGG after his decision win over Jacobs in May. “But if people want another fight, we’ll do it again and I’ll beat him again.’’

That hardly sounds like a guy champing at the bit for a third fight.

“Canelo’s in the position that he can pick and choose whoever he wants to fight,’’ Gomez said. “There are guys out there that are probably more deserving at this point than Golovkin.’’

Posturing? Maybe. And maybe a hard truth that DAZN is about to learn.

After all, it signed Alvarez to be its marquee fighter, and added GGG to insure itself a marquee fight.

But in the end, its deal with Alvarez, all carrot and no stick, may be the reason why the third fight has been so difficult to make. And in fact, may never be made at all.

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