Friday, September 22, 2023  |


Canelo Alvarez is clear to return in September but will it be against Gennady Golovkin?

Photo / @HBOBoxing
Fighters Network

GLENDALE, Calif. — Canelo Alvarez remains on the sideline — for now — but he was still the overarching topic of conversation at Monday’s media day.

Vanes Martirosyan, Canelo’s replacement in the middleweight title fight against Gennady Golovkin, blasted the Mexican star for his failed drug tests. GGG was ornery when his former — and perhaps future — foe was mentioned.

Golovkin and Martirosyan will meet on May 5 at StubHub Center in Carson, California, in a fight televised on HBO, but it’s a blip on the radar. It’s surely a far cry from the highly anticipated rematch that was scheduled between Alvarez and Golovkin, a return encounter of their excellent fight that ended in a draw in September.

Golovkin is expected to dispense of Martirosyan with ease, and then negotiations can begin toward the mega fight with Alvarez, one that should be happening next week.

A deal, of course, was already in place for the two best middleweights in the world to meet again. But so much has changed since that deal was struck. Alvarez, of course, was found with the banned substance clenbuterol in his system, a positive test he attributed to tainted meat in Mexico.

And GGG tore into Alvarez for his actions. What once was a congenial meeting is now clearly personally if and when they fight again.

The expectation in the industry is Canelo and GGG will finally hold their rematch on September 15 if all goes according to plan. That’s Mexican Independence Day Weekend, the same holiday the first fight was held on. By then, Canelo’s six-month suspension will be over, and he’ll be clear to fight. Of course, a deal between both sides will have to be completed first.

“The first deal was for May 5 and now GGG is fighting someone else on May 5,” Golovkin’s promoter Tom Loeffler told THE RING. “I have a good relationship with Golden Boy. If GGG doesn’t win May 5, there’s no discussion about a Canelo fight or any fight. … We can just maximize the situation for GGG.

“I think with all the controversy that’s gone on with this positive test and some of the statements made from GGG and the response from Canelo, the fans realize both guys are on edge right now. If the rematch happens, it’s [risen] to completely different level.”

Loeffler’s statement appears to hint at a renegotiation of terms for an eventual encore encounter, but he declined to say if that was the case when asked outright.

For now, Loeffler is focused on the impromptu fight he put strung together last-minute between Golovkin and Maritorsyan. The reshuffling included moving the site from Las Vegas to the Los Angeles area, switching the fight from HBO pay-per-view to HBO and dealing with the IBF.

The organization won’t sanction Golovkin-Martirosyan, but Loeffler is hoping that the 36-year-old Kazakh won’t be stripped considering the circumstances (he’s filed for an exception with the IBF.) His mandatory defense against Sergey Derevyanchenko is due, but on short notice, Loeffler declined to move forward with a safer opponent.

After all, it would be bad business to jeopardize the rematch with Alvarez, a fight that figures to net Golovkin upward of $25 million.

“Canelo? Right now he is over,” Golovkin said. “Do I want to have the rematch in September? We’ll see. It’s a different deal. The boxing business is crazy. I’ll fight Canelo again. Ask him if he wants to fight me.

“I no longer think about Canelo. I am only focused on this fight. I just want to fight Vanes.”

And that’s whom he’s going to fight come May 5. Only after he’s out of the way can talk turn to Canelo-GGG 2, but by then, the negotiations could take on a whole new tenor, with Loeffler and Golovkin attempting to grab a bigger piece of the pie.

Mike Coppinger is the Senior Writer for Follow him on Twitter: @MikeCoppinger