Does GGG step aside for Cotto-Canelo?
Among the 31,588 at Minute Maid Park in Houston, Texas this past weekend who saw Saul “Canelo” Alvarez dispatch James Kirkland in three rounds were Dave Itskowitch and Michael Yormark of Roc Nation Sports – which now promotes Miguel Cotto. You didn’t have to be Sherlock Holmes to figure out they were present on behalf of the Puerto Rican icon as a fall showdown looms between the two marquee attractions.
Cotto-Alvarez would be among the most highly anticipated match-ups of 2015, another chapter in the deep historical rivalry between Puerto Rico and Mexico. You can argue it would be the most lucrative promotion that exists in boxing not involving Floyd Mayweather Jr. and Manny Pacquiao.
Currently, Cotto is the WBC middleweight beltholder. He won that crown after bludgeoning a crippled Sergio Martinez last June. After halting Marco Antonio Rubio in two in October, Gennady Golokvin – who faces Willie Monroe Jr. at the Forum in Inglewood, Calif. – was named the WBC interim champion, meaning, in effect, he is the WBC’s mandatory challenger to Cotto. As this fight was consummated last fall, a deal was struck by K2 Promotions and the sanctioning body that allowed Cotto to have one voluntary defense by this month before having to face Golovkin.
But it was believed that voluntary defense would come against Canelo in May. Instead, he bypassed that fight and signed with Roc Nation Sports while Alvarez moved on to face Kirkland. But Cotto-Alvarez looks to be a go if Cotto can get past Daniel Geale on June 6.
“Right now it’s an interesting situation for us,” said Golovkin on Tuesday afternoon at the final press conference for this weekend’s bout. “I want a fight, of course, with Cotto because he’s the WBC champion. Canelo, he comes to 160; it’s very easy for him. I’m ready for Cotto or Canelo. It’s very easy for us to do a pay-per-view fight. Who’s first, it doesn’t matter and HBO can do two pay-per-view fights with Canelo or Cotto. It doesn’t matter who’s first.”
Golovkin, who’s yearning for a big name to go on his ledger was highly complimentary of Alvarez’s outing, telling UCNLive.com, “It’s a great performance. Kirkland was a perfect style for Canelo; he stand in front. But it was a great performance; this was a big step for him.”
While the redhead took care of business, Cotto still has to get past Geale. And given the Aussie’s track record at 160 – sans the Golovkin KO he suffered last July – it doesn’t figure to be a gimme.
“He was champion too; he was WBA, IBF,” pointed out Golovkin. “It’s not an easy fight for both. Very interesting, it’s not an easy fight.”
But if Cotto defeats Geale, you can almost count on Cotto-Alvarez to take place in the second half of 2015 (HBO wasn’t going to green-light this upcoming bout without some sort of commitment from Cotto and Roc Nation Sports).
So where does this leave Golovkin? While the WBC is a coveted title, the reality is certain fights and fighters transcend belts. This would be one of those cases.
Tom Loeffler, the managing director of K2 Promotions, stated, ”We gotta give Canelo a lot of credit, selling 31,000 seats in a baseball stadium. It’s a great accomplishment. I know Canelo and Cotto would like to fight each other. The WBC has mandated Gennady as Cotto’s mandatory. They need our permission if they’re going to go ahead with that. They were supposed to do it in May – which was the original agreement with the WBC. They get one voluntary defense for Cotto.
“So we’ll have to see; I think Geale’s a tough match-up. Daniel Geale, even though Gennady knocked him out in three rounds, he’s a two-time world champion and is probably the biggest guy Cotto has ever faced in his career and he’s still in the prime of his career. There’s no guarantee Miguel’s going to win that fight. If he does, that’s a great event, Cotto and Canelo. We certainly don’t want to block it. At the same time, Gennady has earned that mandatory position.
“So it just depends on what happens June 6th in the Cotto fight and then we’ll see what direction that goes.”
The reality is that while Golovkin is a full-fledged middleweight, in recent fights, Alvarez has been fighting at a catchweight of 155 pounds while Cotto is facing Geale with a weight limit of 157. And then there’s this: For both of them, Golovkin still represents too much risk for not enough reward, especially in lieu of a potential fight between them.
Belt or no belt, this show will go on.
So would Golovkin and K2 be amenable to a step-aside fee? (Hey, if you’re going to be avoided, you might as well get compensated for it, right?)
“Well, you can’t force anyone to get in the ring with anybody,” Loeffler said. “We saw that with [Julio Cesar] Chavez [Jr.] last year. He got offered a lot more money to fight Gennady than he just made against Andrzej Fonfara. So if we force their hand, maybe Cotto vacates the title. So it’s a little bit of a tricky situation. Gennady’s goal is to collect all the titles, to be the undisputed middleweight champion and there’s a lot of chess moves that go along with that.
“Putting the Rubio fight together, putting him in that position was the first move. Now, we gotta see if we can get either the Canelo fight or Cotto fight, the winner of the two. The question is, we can’t stop them from fighting each other. The thing is, will they fight for the WBC title?”
In the meantime, like he has for the past few years, Golovkin just goes about his task and next on his dossier is Monroe, who was chosen precisely for the reason others may avoid him – he’s left-handed. Golovkin explained, “Because everyone has problems with southpaw, remember Canelo with [Erislandy] Lara, Cotto with [Austin]Trout, difficult fights. And why not? Willie’s a smart guy; he has good boxing I.Q. This is a big test; this is my maturation. I want to show my fans how I beat any style.”
And look for Golovkin to stay as active as possible in 2015.
“Hopefully, four times per year,” said the 33-year-old, who has an impressive mark of 32-0 (29). “This is my second fight and I think my next fight – and my first focus is on Willie Monroe – will be in September and then December.” Golovkin, who kicked off his campaign this year by stopping Martin Murray in 11 rounds on Feb. 21 in Monaco, is better when he’s boxing every few months. “I don’t have problem with weight; I feel great. I’m like old-school Julio Cesar Chavez [Sr.]; he fights five, six, seven fights per year. I feel great. My preparation, my training camps are much harder than my fights. I want four fights; it’s easy for me.”
“We cant wait for fighters,” said Loeffler, who added, “If we waited for Chavez, we’d still be waiting. We wouldn’t have fought. So it’s one thing to try to put together the ‘big’ fights together but, again, you can’t force anyone in the ring. Gennady can’t wait on fighters. So a lot of it’s going to depend on what happens June 6th with Cotto and Geale.
“If everything goes the right way on Saturday – clearly [trainer] Abel [Sanchez] and Gennady are focused on Willie Monroe – it’s my job to look forward. But ideally, he’ll fight again in September and then December. It’s just a matter of putting the best available guys that will get in the ring with him. And if it’s Cotto, at that point, then that would be great. If not, we’ll figure out who else will get in that ring.”
It was announced that the May 2 bout between Floyd Mayweather and Manny Pacquiao generated 4.4 million pay-per-view buys and is expected to generate over a half-billion dollars in revenue, as it set records for the live gate (at around $71 million) and other lofty figures that have a lot of people hyperventilating.
Too bad they couldn’t produce a decent fight, though.
PREMIER BOXING CANELO
HBO sent out a press release announcing that this past weekend’s broadcast featuring Alvarez-Kirkland averaged 2.1 million viewers on Saturday night (peaking at 2.2 million). What’s impressive is that it actually built an audience from the Mayweather-Pacquiao replay.
Hitting two million viewers nowadays on premium cable with boxing is like hitting .400.
There’s no doubt about it; post-Mayweather-Pacquiao, right now, Canelo is poised to be the face of boxing in North America.
Tickets for the June 13 card at the Theater in Madison Square Garden featuring WBA featherweight titlist Nicholas Walters (who faces Miguel Marriaga) and Felix Verdejo (who takes on Ivan Najera) go on sale this Friday. Here’s the info (from a press release)
Promoted by Top Rank®, in association with All Star Boxing, Tecate and Madison Square Garden, tickets to the Walters vs. Marriaga / Verdejo vs. Najera world championship boxing event will go on sale This Friday, May 15, at Noon ET. Priced at $205, $105 and $55, tickets can be purchased at the Madison Square Garden Box Office, all Ticketmaster outlets, Ticketmaster charge by phone (866-858-0008) and online at www.ticketmaster.com and www.thegarden.com.
UCNLive.com’s Managing Editor Coyote Duran recently showed up on LatinoSportsTalk.com, joining host Nissim “The Cuban Lion” Leon and guest Monroe to talk about Golovkin-Monroe. You can download or listen here.
The doors open at the Forum at 4:30 p.m. on Saturday and first bell is at 5…Do they allow tailgating at the Forum?…Erislandy Lara-Delvin Rodriguez is the Spike TV main event on July 12 in Chicago. Seriously, the PBC match-ups are going downhill…One of the few exceptions is Adrien Broner-Shawn Porter on June 20, which is being contested at a catchweight of 144 (plus one pound)…Tom Brady is really going to get suspended for four games?…The Golden State Warriors look like they got their mojo back in Game Four against the Memphis Grizzlies…This season of HBO’s “Game of Thrones” has been the season of (Jon) Snow…Deacon’s not getting killed off on ABC’s “Nashville,” right?…I can be reached at email@example.com and I tweet (a lot) at twitter.com/steveucnlive. I also share photos of stuff at instagram.com/steveucnlive and can also be found at tsu.co/steveucnlive.