Desire for third fight with Canelo Alvarez should ensure Gennady Golovkin lands with DAZN
LOS ANGELES — Gennady Golovkin is the biggest network free agent and there’s no close second.
He’s a fighter casual fans are plenty familiar with following two grueling bouts against Canelo Alvarez that netted over 1 million pay-per-view buys a piece. The former middleweight champion also boasts a sponsorship deal with Air Jordan among others.
At 36, Golovkin only has a few prime-earning years left, and that leaves one platform as the front-runner to secure his services: DAZN. The Ring reported last month that GGG promoter Tom Loeffler and DAZN were engaged in advanced talks to bring the Kazakh’s boxing matches exclusively to the platform, and that remains the expectation, per sources.
GGG and DAZN is a partnership that makes too much sense. Canelo Alvarez recently signed a 10-fight deal to compete exclusively on the platform, and sources tell The Ring that it’s a priority for DAZN to land Canelo-GGG 3, which is no surprise given the $350 million they owe the Mexican star over the life of the contract.
ESPN is making a heavy push to land GGG, too, but there are no natural opponents for him on that side of the street. ESPN can promise Golovkin more exposure, but it’s doubtful it can best DAZN in the financial department; it’s owned by billionaire Leonard Blavatnik. He proved he’s not afraid to dole out piles of cash with the Canelo deal, and it’s unlikely Golovkin would come at such an exorbitant price tag, though he’ll certainly command a hefty deal.
Loeffler told The Ring that Golovkin plans to return sometime between March and May. He should have an official network home soon so there’s enough lead time to promote the event.
“We’re going to make the best deal for him moving forward and he’s going to continue his popularity with the boxing fans,” Loeffler told The Ring. “There’s no time pressure; no deadline. But there is a tremendous of interest in GGG and when he’s going to come back.”
“GGG is one of the most marketable and one of the most popular champions in boxing,” Loeffler added. “I still call him a champion because I feel that he didn’t lose that last fight.”
Money is a key factor in any deal, naturally. It’s clear DAZN has the deep pockets to make it worthwhile for Golovkin, who earned a career-high payday for the encore encounter with Alvarez (upward of $30 million).
Loeffler acknowledged that GGG remains “clearly frustrated” after he didn’t earn the nod in either fight, and that desire to best Canelo once and for all should seal the deal and ensure DAZN lands him.
“From our side, we’d like to see it, we thought he beat Canelo twice,” Loeffler said. “There’s no reason why GGG wouldn’t want to fight Canelo (again), it’s the biggest fight for both of their careers financially. We set the record for the third- and fourth-highest gate.
“There are some fights that don’t necessarily make sense as a rematch when they’re not commercially viable. … A fight like GGG and Canelo with their fanbases with all the media and the controversy over the first two fights, I think there’s going to be a lot of interest, so there wouldn’t be any hesitation for making that third fight from the GGG side.”
A third fight between Canelo and GGG indeed remains the biggest fight that could be made in boxing. The second bout was even better than the first, but we still didn’t gain a clear, decisive winner.
Loeffler pointed to rematches like Ward-Kovalev where promoters were “forcing the fights to happen,” and the return bout didn’t perform as well financially. That won’t be the case here.
Couple Golovkin’s frustration with his unwavering desire to be the best, and it would be a shock if he signed a long-term deal with any other platform but DAZN. Loeffler and GGG could always decide it’s better to be a free agent and sign up for one-offs, but the 160-pounder guides many fighters under the GGG Promotions banner and he needs network homes for them, too.
“He has fighters that he works with, Ali Akhmedov, Ruslan Madiev, a lot of different people,” Loeffler said, “so I think wherever he goes, the whole group is going to follow with him.”
Then there’s Loeffler’s group, too. He holds options on fighters from the Superfly series and could bring the 115-pound cards to DAZN. He also promotes The Ring pound-for-pound best women’s champion, Cecilia Braekhus. DAZN is invested there, too, with fighters like Claressa Shields and Katie Taylor sometimes appearing on the platform.
All roads point to Loeffler closing a deal with DAZN for Golovkin’s future fights, one of which would no doubt be another chapter in his rivalry with Canelo.
Mike Coppinger is the Senior Writer for RingTV.com. Follow him on Twitter: @MikeCoppinger