Is Dominic Wade next for Gennady Golovkin?
The search party has been diligent in its effort to find a dance partner for Gennady Golovkin.
But no, it hasn’t been a party as promoter Tom Loeffler worked the phones and tried to find a respectable talent to enter the squared circle with his ultra-amiable and equally ultra-powerful middleweight ace.
It was looking very much like Bahamian boxer Tureano Johnson would get the gig, for an April face-off against the undefeated Kazakh.
Johnson is rated No. 1 by the IBF, “3G” holds the IBF strap (along with the WBA title) and, importantly, he has lobbied for the chance. But Tureano hurt his shoulder in training and got scratched off the list.
Rumor is the list has been whittled down to one: Maryland born fighter Dominic Wade (No. 3 in the IBF, No. 8 by the WBA). He’s 18-0, with 12 knockouts, after turning pro in 2009. Just 25, his best win came in his last fight, a split decision against veteran Sam Soliman in June 2015. It was a pretty close fight against a fairly faded Soliman.
Rumor, right, Tom Loeffler? Is Wade the one? “I’m not sure yet,” Loeffler said.
Will you say who else might be in the mix?
“No, just looking to put the best fight together for ‘GGG,'” the deft defender stated to RING.
Last time out, GGG sold out Madison Square Garden, the big room, like Springsteen does, so Loeffler has options of where to place this fight vs. TBD, for sure. “We sold more tickets with this kid from Kazahkstan in NY against David Lemieux than they did for two middleweights from Brooklyn, (Daniel) Jacobs and (Peter) Quillin and the heavyweight championship fight (between WBC titlist Deontay Wilder and Artur Szpilka) in Brooklyn,” Loeffler said.
Loeffler told me he continues to be quite pleased at the push to make Gennady a worldwide attraction. The embrace the boxer received in the UK, where he attended a Premier League football match, Loeffler said, was considerable.
That desire to build the baby-faced hitter up and spread the word organically didn’t and doesn’t come cheap. He hustles, flying here and there, pressing hands like he’s running for office. “There’s a lot to be said to building someone organically, rather than going the casino route,” Loeffler said. That route is less risky but there is a lower ceiling, arguably, to growth. Casinos have Celine Dion playing Friday and a fight Saturday and slot machines whirring all the time. To place a bout in a hallowed arena, like Madison Square Garden, that confers, when done right, a special stamp on an entertainer that is lacking in a casino’s staging area. One day, GGG will do the Vegas thing, Loeffler said, but for now, their path to prosperity has been working for them. The way tix flew for the fight with Marco Antonio Rubio, in 2014 at StubHub, that was a potent offering of proof that this kid is a draw, that people want to soak up his skill set live. More proof on his drawing strength – MSG sold out, a first for a boxer other than a Puerto Rican icon like Felix Trinidad or Miguel Cotto, noted Loeffler.
Anyway, the site for the next GGG scrap hasn’t been selected…
What about date? Has that element been locked down?
“April 23 as of now,” he said, “but could change, depending on the opponent.”
I asked Loeffler to sum up this effort to find a foe, in the grand scheme of things, that being Wish One is to get RING champion Canelo Alvarez in a ring.
“Canelo is the priority for this year,” he summed up.
And I dare say I think canny Loeffler, in ticking off Golovkins’ strength across continents, is sagely politicking for proper apportioning of the Canelo-Golovkin pie. To me, his points are waterproof, although I assume Team Canelo will beg to differ.
Back to the now: If Wade gets the nod, Loeffler said he will be able to work with his adviser, Al Haymon. “Unlike many other promoters, I have no problem working with Al Haymon,” he told me.
Loeffler would have liked if Billy Joe Saunders, the WBO titlist, wanted to test himself and unify but Team Golovkin’s offer to the Brit was spurned. So it’s on to Plan C…or is it D?…maybe Wade. “He’s an undefeated fighter and, like Emanuel Steward said, you never know how good a guy is who has never lost,” Loeffler said.
And if that fight happens and the expected happens, and GGG goes to 35-0, Loeffler thinks we are on a track to see Canelo vs. Golovkin later this year.
“The WBC has issued a written order” which should help encourage that super-fight to come together, Loeffler said. That sanctioning body worked to help craft Canelo vs. Miguel Cotto and he thinks they do the same for the Canelo-GGG waltz.
My takes: Golovkin is in that strange and rare place where he draws some scrutiny that might be unfair, mostly, maybe, because he dominates. Floyd Mayweather Jr. dealt with the same thing. People like dramatic fights and too much domination can get old.
– Also, Loeffler, who maybe deserves to win the BWAA Promoter of the Year award, is a relative newbie in this. He doesn’t have the decades of accumulated political capital some others have. He must rely more so on message, on immediate results, and maybe sometimes a higher bar of standards are applied to him and his kid.
– If it is young Wade, one bright side is maybe Loeffler working with Haymon helps us get Golovkin vs. Danny Jacobs, Jacobs also ranking high at middleweight.
I welcome your thoughts on GGG next and anything touched on in this story, my friends. Fire me a comment if you like.
Michael Woods’ dance card only involves three people: his wife and two daughters. My money’s on the Woods Gurlz.