Gennady Golovkin-Dominic Wade set for April 23
It was announced on Wednesday morning that IBF/WBA middleweight champion Gennady Golovkin would make his return to the Forum in Inglewood, California, versus Dominic Wade on April 23. Wade gets this opportunity by virtue of being the highest rated available contender by the IBF.
How big of an underdog is Wade? Well, to put it into perspective, Mike Tyson was listed as a 42-1 favorite against Buster Douglas in 1990. Here, Golovkin is as high as 100-1 with some online books.
Golovkin and K2 Promotions could be facing some criticism for this match-up, which will be televised by HBO.
But Tom Loeffler, the managing director of K2 and the architect of Golovkin’s rise to prominence in the States, counters, “I don’t think there’s any heat that can come our way. Any knowledgeable boxing writer or boxing fan understands that we tried to make the unification bout with ‘Canelo’ (WBC middleweight champion Saul Alvarez) – that’s Gennady’s top priority. Canelo and Golden Boy (Promotions) asked for one voluntary defense and then we tried to make the unification fight with (WBO titlist) Billy Joe Saunders.
“At the same time, we couldn’t make those two fights then Gennady has the obligation with the IBF to do the mandatory, which he inherited when he beat David Lemieux and after Tureano Johnson was injured, Dominic Wade became the highest available contender and he’s rated number three in the IBF. He’s undefeated and he’s young; he’s had a great amateur career, four-time US champion and he just beat Sam Soliman, a former world champion. We couldn’t get Felix Sturm to fight Gennady but Soliman beat him twice (Editor’s note: Soliman’s first victory, a unanimous decision, was overturned when Soliman tested positive for an illegal stimulant) and it’s an interesting match-up.”
The bottom line is Golovkin’s side simply wasn’t going to relinquish the IBF belt right after winning it from Lemieux in October and Loeffler reached across the aisle to come to an agreement with (Wade’s promoter) Tom Brown and possibly Al Haymon (who, over the past few years, has been rendered persona non grata by HBO). I’ve always said it doesn’t matter who he’s promoted by, managed by or advised by; as long as we can do the best fight for Gennady, clearly the mandatory obligation is out there and we didn’t want to risk Gennady losing the title,” explained Loeffler.
Once again, it looks like flyweight dynamo and WBC champion Roman “Chocolatito” Gonzalez will be the semi-main in support of “GGG.”
“We definitely want Roman as the co-feature; it’s between (McWilliams) Arroyo and (Juan) Hernandez,” said Loeffler, regarding whom Gonzalez might face on this evening. “We’re going to try to make the best fight for him out there and hopefully we’ll be able to announce his fight, as well, soon. It’s the best combination in boxing having the top two pound-for-pound fighters in the sport on HBO. People are going to come to the Forum to see them fight live, I think it’s the best value in boxing having Gennady and Roman fight on the same show together.”
This will be Golovkin’s second appearance at the Forum, having faced Willie Monroe Jr. last May. If the Saunders fight was consummated, this would have most likely taken place at Madison Square Garden in New York. There was also talk of Golovkin making his Texas debut. Loeffler explained the decision to come back to Los Angeles, “After Gennady fought Lemieux and sold out MSG, the LA fans were clamoring for him to come back, no matter who he fought. They just want to see him fight again. That’s what really transcends Gennady in the sport of boxing. Fans just want to see him fight.
“He’s got 21 knockouts in a row. (The fans) know that they’re guaranteed excitement when he gets in the ring and you pack a one-two punch like Gennady and Roman on the same show, like I said, it’s definitely the best combination in boxing and that’s what our strategy has been. While many fighters only fight in one state, our goal is to build Gennady globally. He’s fought in Monte Carlo three times. He’s fought in the Ukraine. He’s fought in Panama. He’s fought in New York. This is his third fight in LA and he’s been training in Big Bear with (chief second) Abel (Sanchez) for five years and this is really a homecoming now, after (winning) the IBF title, and it’s a chance for the LA fans to see a unified champ come back.”
That theory will be put to the test in April. While Golovkin has firmly established himself as an attraction on both coasts, it will be interesting to see how fans in the Southland react to this event, given the perceived lopsided nature of this match-up. By the third go-round, the novelty of just seeing Golovkin perform may have worn off just a bit. (Speaking of which, tickets for this fight are priced at $400, $300, $200, $100, $60 and $30 and go on sale next Tuesday at Noon PT.)
But Loeffler says confidently, “I think we’ll sell out. We’ll sell out the Forum. We sold out Madison Square Garden when Gennady fought Lemieux from Canada and having Gennady fighting Wade, who is undefeated, and is a young guy coming up, young and hungry, I think its at a whole different level from last year when he fought Monroe.
“We’re expecting a sell-out at the Forum with 16,000 tickets.”
Speaking of Saunders, who holds the WBO 160-pound title and was offered a multimillion-dollar purse (by far, his biggest payday to date) to face Golovkin in April, it seems like he went to the Erislandy Lara School of Cuban Tweeting as he put this out (@bjsaunders_) after Golovkin-Wade was announced:
“@GGGBoxing come to England and I will fight you ‘ want to fight the best and your at the top So let’s make it happen #England”
Yeah, I groaned right along with you guys.
Here’s this week’s edition of “The Next Round” with Gabe Montoya and Yours Truly (a full two-hour edition).
And here are the first of two episodes of “The 3 Knockdown Rule” this week featuring Mario Lopez and me.
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