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Golovkin Moves on Without Chavez Jr.

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By Steve Kim


On Saturday afternoon in a small conference room at the LAX Marriott, WBA middleweight beltholder Gennady Golovkin held a media roundtable with a select handful of boxing scribes. If it were up to him, he’d be talking about his upcoming summer showdown against Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. But alas, Chavez seemed more intent on battling his promoter, Top Rank Promotions than facing “GGG.”
 
In a major buzzkill to boxing fans and Golovkin himself, that fight has gone to “Bolivian.”

“I’m disappointed because I was so confident about the fight and I hope that it will happen soon,” he said. For that particular match-up, Golovkin was more than willing to move up to 168 pounds. “By that time, I’ll be stronger; I’ll be bigger. By the time this fight happens, I’ll be more prepared.”
 
For the better part of the past month or so, Golovkin had waited on Chavez to put his name on the dotted line as he had quickly agreed upon the terms for a July 19th face-off. “I hope this fight will happen at some point. It’ll be a very big show,” said Golovkin, who halted Osumanu Adama in seven rounds on February 1st in Monte Carlo to kick off his 2014. He was slated to face Andy Lee on April 26th but that appointment was canceled as his father unexpectedly passed away in the spring (the media members in attendance were asked not to inquire about this subject).
 
“It’ll happen whenever Chavez signs the contract,” said Tom Loeffler, Managing Director of K2 Promotions, who did lay out their immediate plans for Golovkin. “We can say he’s definitely going to be fighting on HBO. It’ll be July 26th and it’ll in Madison Square Garden.”
 
And according to Loeffler, it may not necessarily be staged at the Theater but the big room. Yeah, where the Knicks and Rangers play.
 
“It depends on the opponent, so we have both reserved at this point. We’re going to try to get the biggest name opponent possible. Obviously we wanted to have the Chavez fight on July 19th. We had agreed to all the terms on our side. We made a lot of concessions. We didn’t ask for a catchweight. We made a lot of financial concessions,” explained Loeffler. “It was clear that Chavez was going to get the much larger financial guarantee to get in the ring with Gennady but we looked at that fight as the opportunity to be his first fight on pay-per-view and his first fight here on the West Coast.”
 
Golovkin-Chavez was scheduled for The Forum (where he would be later that evening watching Juan Manuel Marquez-Mike Alvarado). Now the focus is on Daniel Geale, who once held the IBF title. Last week, the WBA announced that Jarrod Fletcher would be Golovkin’s mandatory contender. Loeffler says they requested a “special permit” to face Geale next, who is rated third by the WBA. “Gennady has no issue with facing anybody at middleweight and I made that clear to the WBA. So we’re hoping that they grant the request, which is a common practice when Gennady was the mandatory challenger for Felix Sturm. They gave him like over two years,’” recalled Loeffler, who said he was in discussions with Geale’s promoter, Gary Shaw.
 
And if this exception isn’t granted?
 
Loeffler says, “We’ll have to deal with that but it’s clearly our intention and HBO’s intention for Daniel Geale, who they consider a bigger name. Geale’s fought on HBO before; he’s a former champion. That’s who we’d like to go after.” When asked about this potential match-up, in his typically understated manner, Golovkin said, “Before me, [Geale] had two belts; why not? I respect everyone who I have to fight.”
 
But what about WBO titlist Peter Quillin, who has become a staple of Showtime in recent years? Well, that’s the problem, the little “Cold War” that is plaguing the business. Quillin is aligned with Golden Boy Promotions and adviser Al Haymon, who have been embargoed from the network. HBO Sports Director of Programming Peter Nelson stated, “[HBO] doesn’t rule anybody out.”
 
“The discussions I’ve had with Peter and HBO at length and we have a long-term commitment to HBO and they’re committed to providing the platform for Gennady. As Peter said, they haven’t ruled anybody out, which means they would approve Quillin at some point. Whether Quillin would get in the ring with him is a different story. There’s a lot of politics in that situation but I strongly believe if Quillin wanted to make the fight, we would discuss it with HBO to approve him as an opponent,” explained Loeffler.
 
Then there is the winner of the June 7th bout between the recognized middleweight king, Sergio Martinez and Miguel Cotto. Obviously, Golovkin would like to face the victor. “Yes, of course I want to fight the person who wins it. It would be a beautiful thing.”
 
But all this conjecture wouldn’t be necessary had the Chavez fight been consummated. This fight was perfect for Golovkin on so many levels. He was facing a popular Mexican fighter but it was also a bout big enough to be on the pay-per-view platform. It had the potential to be the star-making vehicle K2 and Golovkin were yearning for.
 
“It’s funny because Bob Arum was always positive he could deliver it, even when we were at the [Manny] Pacquiao [vs. Tim Bradley] fight. We had agreed to all the terms before the Pacquiao fight. The original plan was that we would announce the fight at the Pacquiao fight, so we had agreed to terms. We had made plans for Gennady to fly into Las Vegas. Chavez was at the fight in Las Vegas and had they signed, we would have announced it at the Pacquiao fight,” said Loeffler.

“Since it didn’t happen, then I started getting concerned and then I guess Bob, at that point, had raised the offer and was still confident he could deliver Chavez and gave him like another two weeks to do the fight and then it became, at some point, pretty clear it wasn’t going to happen - at least not for July,” continued Loeffler.
 
Top Rank ultimately made an offer to Chavez that was, in essence, a two-fight deal that would pay Chavez a minimum of $12 million (http://www.maxboxing.com/news/max-boxing-news/to-extend-or-not-to-extend). Eventually, Chavez held firm with his vow not to sign any type of contract extension with the company.
 
“I don’t think [Chavez] wanted it,” said Golovkin’s trainer, Abel Sanchez, bluntly. “I think he was advised by his father to take the fight but I think people around him made him understand the danger of the fight. I think it’s really foolish the kind of money that he was going to get. It was more than he would’ve made in three or four fights, according to what he’s made in the past; right? He was guaranteed $12 million without winning a round; it’s crazy. But as I told Gennady four years ago, ‘You’re going to be the most avoided middleweight. Nobody’s going to want to fight you,’ and that’s exactly it.”
 
Golovkin is now 32. He’s certainly not old but he’s not necessarily young either. You get the sense that there is a certain window of time in which he has to make his mark on the sport. Sanchez says he has a fighting machine with low mileage on the odometer. “Yeah, because he turned pro at 26,” said Sanchez (actually, Golovkin turned pro in 2006 at the age of 24), “so he hasn’t had that many difficult fights and in the amateurs, even though he had a lot of fights, those were early in his career. The fights at the end of his amateur career were more international stuff. He didn’t really struggle with them. He knocked [Lucian] Bute out while leading. So to me, he’s a young 26, 27-year-old.”
 
One night earlier, Sanchez was on the East Coast working the corner of Joel Diaz (who headlined last week’s edition of “ShoBox”) and said, invariably, that wherever he goes, the questions he receives always involve Golovkin. Later that evening while at The Forum, Golovkin was mobbed by adoring fans - mostly of the Mexican variety - as he walked around the venue. It’s clear that his easygoing, modest manner combined with his hard-hitting, fan-friendly style has resonated with the masses. There’s likeability to Golovkin that is very apparent.
 
As the likes of Pacquiao and Floyd Mayweather head into the twilights of their careers, the sport needs new stars. It’s clear that “GGG” could take up the mantle of the “Pac-Man,” the flame-throwing foreigner who somehow transcends the hardcore following of the sport to become a legitimate franchise. It sounds farfetched but seven, eight years ago, did anyone think a small, Filipino fighter would become such an international star?
 
“We believe Gennady’s going to be the next pay-per-view star. I really feel that, the response that we’ve gotten over the fights we’ve done so far. People forget it’s been less than two years since he’s been on American television,” reminded Loeffler. Since his stateside debut in September of 2012, Golovkin’s ratings on HBO have grown exponentially. “[Golovkin] became the highest viewed fighter in boxing who’s yet to fight on pay-per-view,” pointed out Nelson.
 
But to become that superstar will take the proper dance partners. Mayweather needed Oscar De la Hoya. Pacquiao had the likes of Marco Antonio Barrera, Erik Morales and Marquez. If not Chavez, how ‘bout the winner of next week’s huge “domestic fight” between Carl Froch and George Groves? Loeffler says, “Gennady would go to England to fight those guys over there. Mikkel Kessler announced that he’s fighting again, so he becomes an interesting opponent. So I think it’ll open up quite a bit, as opposed to last year.”
 
Regardless, Golovkin is more than willing to stay as active as possible (by today’s standards, of course) like he did in 2013.
 
“Two more fights this year and next year, I want three or four,” said the man from Kazakhstan, who has a professional mark of 29-0 (26).
 
“I’m ready to fight all the boxers you just named here. I want them to know I’m ready to fight all of them and I’m waiting for these fights. I want to see who’s ready to fight because I’m open to fight all of them.”
 
TNR 
 
Here’s the latest episode of “The Next Round” with Gabe Montoya and Yours Truly:
 
 
GOOD BOY FLURRIES
 
 
Top Rank announced a contract extension with Manny Pacquiao that will run through December 31st, 2016. I wonder what Chavez Jr. thinks of all this...The Marquez-Alvarado fight on HBO drew just under 1.2 million viewers and peaked at 1.3 million...So is Yuri Foreman off the Sergio Martinez-Miguel Cotto undercard or not?...Loeffler mentioned that Martin Murray was made an offer to face Golovkin “that were better than what he got for Sergio Martinez” and for bouts outside the U.S. He also noted that in the Chavez-GGG contract, there was a million-dollar penalty for either fighter who came in heavier than 168 pounds...Can OKC defeat the Spurs without Serge Ibaka? It sure doesn’t look like it after one game...Yes, I’ve booked my flight for the Terence Crawford-Yuriorkis Gamboa fight in Omaha on June 28th  So yeah, I’ll be going to Nebraska twice this year, for this fight and the Miami-Nebraska game in September....

I can be reached at k9kim@yahoo.com and I tweet at www.twitter.com/stevemaxboxing. We also have a Facebook fan page at www.facebook.com/MaxBoxing, where you can discuss our content with Maxboxing readers as well as chime in via our fully interactive article comments sections.



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