The biggest fight of the year, unified middleweight world champion Gennady Golovkin’s long-anticipated showdown with former champion Canelo Alvarez, will take place in the fight capital of the world: Las Vegas.
Golden Boy Promotions CEO Oscar De La Hoya announced on Monday on SportsCenter that the fight will take place Sept. 16 at T-Mobile Arena.
“Everybody wanted this fight, and I nailed it down,” said De La Hoya, who predicted that Canelo will knock out GGG. “Everybody who wants to go to Vegas, have a great time. Watch a great fight with Triple G and Canelo. I mean it’s going to be a train wreck, let me tell you.”
After Alvarez rolled to shutout decision against Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. in their catchweight fight at 164½ pounds on May 6 in front of a sellout record crowd of 20,501 at T-Mobile Arena, the fight with Golovkin was announced in the ring, but no site was set.
Golden Boy had many suitors for the bout, including Jerry Jones’ AT&T Stadium in Arlington Texas, Dodger Stadium and Madison Square Garden. De La Hoya said he also fielded inquiries about the fight from Dubai and the United Kingdom.
“I did receive a crazy amount of money — the offers were just amazing [including] from Madison Square Garden. I was contemplating it,” De La Hoya said. “Obviously, my good friend Jerry Jones wanted this fight. I talked to my great friend Magic Johnson, who wanted to stage the fight at Dodger Stadium, but ultimately the entertainment factor [was key]. People want to go to parties after the fight. You want to stage the pre-fight parties, the weigh-in.”
MGM Resorts International, which owns the T-Mobile Arena, the MGM Grand and several other casinos, made what Golden Boy president Eric Gomez told ESPN was “an incredible pitch and incredible offer.”
“Everybody who wants to go to Vegas, have a great time. Watch a great fight with Triple G and Canelo. I mean it’s going to be a train wreck, let me tell you.”
Oscar De La Hoya
Gomez said the offer was so good that they called other suitors, including Jones, to tell them they were leaning to having the fight at T-Mobile Arena before getting into serious negotiations with any other venue.
“I am thrilled to return to T-Mobile Arena, and to give the fans the best fight that can be made in our sport today,” said Alvarez, who will be fighting at the arena for the third time. “I have repeatedly said that I fear no man, and I am now going to prove it by stepping into the ring against GGG. When the final bell rings, everyone will know that this is indeed the Canelo era, and that I am the best fighter in all of boxing.”
Because T-Mobile Arena only holds 20,000 or so, De La Hoya said there would be around 35,000 seats at 12-15 closed circuit locations in Las Vegas. Ticket prices for the fight and the closed circuit seats have not yet been announced.
Golovkin has fought around the world, but this will be his first fight in Las Vegas.
“This is the type of fight I have dreamed of since I became a professional boxer,” Golovkin said. “This fight will be at a true championship level, and we will give the fans an exciting fight.”
Tom Loeffler of K2 Promotions, which promotes Golovkin, has put on fights before sellout crowds with Golovkin in New York, Los Angeles and London and now figures to do the same in Las Vegas.
“This is the result of many years of hard work for Gennady, travelling around the world fighting world champions and top contenders to become an undefeated unified middleweight world champion,” Loeffler said. “Gennady’s reward, and the fans’ reward, will be battling in the biggest and best matchup in the sport of boxing. Gennady is ready for his date with destiny.”
The fight, signed shortly before Alvarez-Chavez took place, has been anticipated for more than a year. Golovkin and his team have been ready to make the fight for ages but were waiting on Golden Boy and Alvarez to decide the time was right.
Last May, De La Hoya and Alvarez said they would attempt to make the fight but then ducked it.
Mexico’s Alvarez (49-1-1, 34 KOs), 26, who also is a former two-time junior middleweight world titleholder, even vacated his 160-pound world title belt to avoid a mandatory with Golovkin, who held an interim belt at the time to go with his full titles; he inherited Alvarez’s belt.
Golovkin (37-0, 33 KOs), 35, a Kazakhstan native living in Santa Monica, California, has made 18 title defenses, but looked a little vulnerable in his tight decision victory against Daniel Jacobs on March 18, which may have convinced De La Hoya that the time was now to make the fight. Going into the fight with Jacobs, Golovkin had scored 23 consecutive knockouts.