LONDON — Unified middleweight world champion Gennady Golovkin will bypass a quick June return in his home country of Kazakhstan and instead look forward to trying to finalize a blockbuster fight in September against the winner of next week’s Canelo Alvarez-Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. fight, K2 Promotions managing director Tom Loeffler told ESPN on Wednesday.
Golovkin, who eked out a decision win in a hard fight with Daniel Jacobs on March 18, had been close to a deal to fight middleweight titleholder Billy Joe Saunders on June 10 at a 40,000-seat soccer stadium in Kazakhstan as part of the country’s Expo 2017, one of Golovkin’s sponsors.
According to Loeffler, the combination of Golovkin getting a bit dinged up in a rough go with Jacobs and Saunders’ promoter, Frank Warren, wanting to move the fight up one week was enough for them to scrap the plans.
“Gennady is not going [to] fight in June,” Loeffler told ESPN during the Anthony Joshua-Wladimir Klitschko open workout at Wembley Arena on Tuesday. “It was a quick turnaround after the Jacobs fight, and we would have liked to have done a fight with Billy Joe Saunders, but it was just too quick of a turnaround. So we’ll see now, when Gennady is ready to fight, what the biggest opportunities are.”
Loeffler, who is part of Klitschko’s promotional team and in London for the heavyweight title fight on Saturday, added, “Gennady would have had to be in training two weeks ago already, but he went 12 hard rounds with Jacobs. There was also a question on the date. Frank wanted to move the date up a week. He wanted to go earlier in June. Bottom line is, Gennady won’t fight in June.”
Loeffler said Golovkin (37-0, 33 KOs) still hopes to box in Kazakhstan, where he has had only one professional fight, a third-round knockout of Nilson Julio Tapia in his first title defense in 2010.
“They still are anxious to have him. They want him to be there, and Gennady wanted to fight over there, but it would have been too quick of a turnaround,” Loeffler said. “It was 12 hard rounds [with Jacobs].”
Although Golovkin, 35, would have liked to fight Saunders to unify all four major 160-pound titles, the big fight will be against Alvarez, a match the public has been demanding for the past year or longer.
In a major all-Mexican rivalry fight, Alvarez (48-1-1, 34 KOs) will square off with Chavez (50-2-1, 32 KOs) on May 6 (HBO PPV) at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas at a catchweight of 164.5 pounds, but then Alvarez plans to fight at middleweight.
Loeffler has been trying to negotiate an Alvarez-Golovkin fight with Alvarez promoter Golden Boy Promotions, which has continually put the fight off. However, Golden Boy has said all along it would look to schedule the fight for September. Loeffler said he hopes they can get it done.
“We’ll see what happens. If Chavez wins, we’d love to have a Chavez fight, also,” Loeffler said. “If Canelo wins, that would be the priority. I’m still in contact with Golden Boy. I speak to [Golden Boy president] Eric Gomez probably like twice a week. We’ll see what happens on May 6 and see if we can make a deal.”
With the Golovkin fight off the table, Saunders (24-0, 12 KOs), 27, of England, likely will move on to a mandatory fight with newly crowned interim titlist Avtandil Khurtsidze (33-2-2, 22 KOs), who claimed the vacant interim belt this past Saturday by fifth-round knockout of Tommy Langford. Following the bout, Saunders and Khurtsidze, 37, a native of the Republic of Georgia who fights out of New York, nearly came to blows during the postfight news conference as Saunders taunted Khurtsidze.
Warren said he would like to put the fight on July 8 in London and has been talking with Khurtsidze promoter Lou DiBella about a deal.