By John J. Raspanti
“The best-laid plans of mice and men often go awry.”
Never have truer words been spoken. Gennady Golovkin and Canelo Alvarez were scheduled to fight last month. The contacts were signed in January. By April, both fighters were deep into to their training camps. Las Vegas, NV., site of the first fight last year, would host the rematch.
The buildup was ongoing. Both fighters predicted knockouts. They wanted to wipe away the memory of the first fight-which had resulted in an unfulfilling draw. (I had Golovkin winning the bout)
Then, two months before the rematch came the announcement heard around the boxing world. Alvarez had tested positive for the banned drug, clenbuterol, which builds stamina and performance. Alvarez and Golden Boy Promotions blamed meat contamination for the dirty test.
A few weeks later, Alvarez was suspended for six months. By then he had already pulled out of the fight. Alvarez apologized.
Golovkin ridiculed him.
"Again with Mexican meat? Come on," Golovkin said in an article by Dan Rafael of ESPN. "I told you, it’s not Mexican meat. This is Canelo. This is his team. This is his promotion. Canelo is cheating. They’re using these drugs, and everybody is just trying to pretend it’s not happening.
"This guy, he knows. This is not his first day in boxing. He proves he gets benefits from everyone and he can get away with it. Check him on a lie detector and then we can find out everything,” added Golovkin.
Being suspended for six months was also convenient. Why? Because it gave both sides enough time to reschedule the rematch. Alvarez was free of his suspension by August. September 15 was bandied about and agreed opon. That part was easy. The next part was not.
Money. Some of the posturing, especially from the Golden Boy side, was ridiculous. But in boxing, unfortunately, it’s normal. Promoters are like politicians, they lie all the time. Golovkin originally agreed to a 65-35 split, but changed his mind. Fifty-fifty was what he wanted. Golden Boy CEO Oscar De La Hoya laughed at Golovkin’s demand. He called it “ludicrous.”
De La Hoya told ESPN two weeks ago, “The Canelo train has left the station.”
Which of course it hadn’t. He talked a 60-40 split. Golovkin countered with 55-45. Golden Boy issued a take “it or leave it” offer to Golovkin: 57 ½ percent for Alvarez and 42 ½ for Golovkin. Golovkin said “see ya.”
He wouldn’t budge. Golden Boy mentioned that Alvarez could fight Danny Jacobs instead of Golovkin. Many boxing insiders chuckled. Golovkin held firm.
De La Hoya was growing frustrated.
"We want the fight, Tom Loeffler wants the fight," said De La Hoya.
"Clearly the only person here who doesn’t want the fight is GGG. The fans want the fight. We bent over backward. We’ve come up and there’s no budge from him so there’s no fight."
Not true. Both sides were still talking. A few hours later, Golden Boy blinked. Golovkin would receive a split he could live with.
"It was the principle of the matter, 45 percent for me, not 35 or 42.5, just 45," Golovkin said. "Good deal, very happy."
Both sides are apparently pleased. But here’s the rub. De La Hoya told Kevin Iole of Yahoo! Sports that Golovkin had made a mistake.
“I’m telling you, Canelo is right now just so angry at what’s been taking place – he’s angry at Golovkin,” said De La Hoya.“He’s angry at Golovkin. There’s real animosity. This reminds me of me and Vargas. It’s gonna be a really intense fight.”
De La Hoya is right about one thing, the fight will be very intense. But let me get this straight. Alvarez is mad at Golovkin, even though it was HIS actions that caused the rematch to be cancelled? Only in America. To be fair, let’s say Alvarez is telling the truth about eating tainted meat.
He did it, so he’s responsible.
Mutual respect has gone out the window.
"I don’t think anything about him as a human being," Golovkin said. "I’m not really concerned about him. I just hope he will be there on September 15 to fight."
If anything, the animosity between the two fighters will only help fuel the boxoffice.
One thing is pretty clear. Golovkin whupped Alvarez and Golden Boy at the negotiating table.
Who will win when the fighters meet in the ring?
I’ll save that prediction for a future article.