It was supposed to be the defining night of Gennady Golovkin’s career - the fight where he proved he belongs among boxing’s pound-for-pound finest.
A showdown with Julio Cesar Chavez Jr was all but agreed, with Golovkin signing his side of the paperwork, but reports have emerged this week that the fight will not now take place. The fight was being slated for July 19 on PPV in America, but disagreements between the Mexican and his promoters, Top Rank, have seen the bout fall by the wayside.
It all stems from contract issues, inevitably. Chavez’s contract is due up in October 2015 and Dan Rafael, a journalist for ESPN.com, believes the sticking point surfaced when Top Rank attempted to broker extended terms as part of the fight deal. With the Mexican reluctant to commit to an extension, Top Rank have been left with an unsigned contract and too little time to promote a fight.
It leaves the Kazakh banger in limbo during an important stage of his fledgling career.
Despite being unbeaten in 29 fights and, with 26 KO’s, holding the highest knockout percentage in the history of middleweight boxing, his standing alongside boxing’s finest remains hotly debated due to his inferior calibre of opponent.
The outstanding name on his ledger is Birmingham’s Matthew Macklin, a three time world title challenger who was dispatched in three rounds. His last defence of the WBA title came in February against Ghanaian Osumanu Adama, who was knocked down by a fearsome jab en route to being halted in the seventh round.
His defining fight could well have come against Andy Lee, the Irish middleweight whose only loss came to middleweight legend Sergio Martinez, but the death of his father cancelled plans for an April clash.
Kazakhstani’s traditionally take a 40-day mourning period when a close family member dies, a period during which the Lee fight would have clashed. With the Irishman now forging a career at light-middleweight, any chance of a meeting looks dead in the water.
And so it looked like Chavez would finally be the big name ‘GGG’ required, with the champion even opting to fight a super middleweight given the Mexican’s well-publicised weight issues at 160lbs. Alas, should it not happen, it will almost certainly be Chavez who comes off worse.
His bad-boy reputation with the boxing public hasn’t exactly gone down well recently, with his failure to make weight against Brian Vera by a huge margin back in September a particular lowlight after a ban for drug use. A rematch with Vera went decidedly better, winning by a clear points decision after a controversial victory first time around, but his stock is dropping dramatically.
As much as Golovkin needs a big fight to thrust himself into the pound-for-pound reckoning, Chavez needs it to catapult himself back into those standings and begin to earn back the respect of boxing fans.
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