Tom Loeffler emerges from the underground
You can always tell there’s something brewing when the usually accessible Tom Loeffler suddenly goes all Jimmy Hoffa – in other words, underground and isn’t heard from. This was once again the case for the past few weeks. But no, he wasn’t buried underneath the Meadowlands in New Jersey. On Saturday night after Saul Alvarez dominated Julio Cesar Chavez Jr., the highly-anticipated pairing between “Canelo” and IBF/WBA/WBC middleweight champion Golovkin was revealed, with Loeffler in attendance.
A WWE-esque entrance was produced for Golovkin as he entered the ring while Alvarez was conducting his post-fight interview with HBO’s Max Kellerman. To be blunt, it overshadowed a one-sided and rather dull main event this past weekend and helped salvage the night.
Afterward, Golovkin and his team participated in a press conference that took place on the ring apron near press row.
So yes, Loeffler is now back on the grid.
Laughing at the thought, Loeffler, the managing director K2 Promotions, said, on Saturday evening, “People said I couldn’t put a big fight together. I think we shocked everyone with this announcement tonight. As I mentioned, Golden Boy (Promotions) stayed true to their word. Canelo had a great performance tonight and the fight is set for September 2017.”
The exact date is Sept. 16, with the venue to be determined (more on that later). When asked just what was the final hurdle to clear in this deal, Loeffler told UCNlive.com, “We agreed on most everything from the beginning. We just had a few small details to work out but, on a big fight like this, the small details take a long time to work out. So we got it done just a couple of days ago earlier this week and then we were hoping everything worked out with Canelo winning and not getting injured.”
So just how did Loeffler keep this such a secret?
“I went into seclusion,” said Loeffler, chuckling – but not necessarily joking.
Word is that, as the deal was signed, sealed and delivered, Golovkin was asked not to come early to Las Vegas and do interviews on radio row and just arrive on Saturday. (According to Loeffler – during his appearance on “The Next Round” Monday night – Golovkin’s arrival from Los Angeles was delayed to due to weather at LAX.) According to him, his client simply wasn’t going to attend another Alvarez fight without a deal being consummated, especially not after what took place last year when Golovkin was brought into the ring after Alvarez’s stoppage win over Amir Khan. Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me.
According to Loeffler, VADA testing has been agreed on by both sides and it’s being reported that Alvarez holds the rematch clause, while one does not exist for “GGG.” What still has to be figured out is when and where the press tour will take place, ticket availability/cost and just where this fight will land.
“These are all details to be worked out but that’s where we’re going to put our heads together with Golden Boy and see what is out there,” said Loeffler. “This is a huge fight, where there’s so many venues that want to host this fight.”
The three most prominent sites that have expressed interest in hosting Alvarez-Golovkin are Vegas’ T-Mobile Arena, Madison Square Garden in New York and AT&T Stadium near Dallas, Texas. (Golden Boy CEO Oscar De La Hoya even gave the obligatory mention of Dubai, which probably made Mike Koncz’s ears perk up.) When asked if he had a preference on whom hosted this event, Loeffler stated, “Any of those would be a tremendous option. The great thing about Gennady is that he doesn’t care where he fights. He just wants to put on the biggest fights and it doesn’t get any bigger than this fight.”
This event will be on HBO Pay-Per-View and it figures to be a blockbuster. Word is that this past weekend’s bout may have eclipsed the million-buy mark. “They’re going to put their full resources into this fight. HBO realizes this is the biggest fight that can be made. They were really encouraging us – on both sides – to make the fight and we were able to get it done. So they’re going to support us 100 percent,” said Loeffler.
The match-up is already garnering a significant amount of coverage – and not just from the usual boxing media – but outlets like ESPN and shows like “Speak for Yourself” on FS1 have spoken about it at length. There is a palpable buzz on social media regarding Canelo-GGG.
For Loeffler, who was bold enough to believe a boxer who was an unknown quantity in 2012 from a far-off foreign land could be involved in events of this magnitude, there is some personal vindication. Kazakh boxers simply aren’t supposed to be in promotions of this magnitude. It’s all a bit surreal.
“Absolutely, when you have fights like (Wladimir) Klitschko-(Anthony) Joshua and you get fights like ‘Triple G’ and Canelo, it’s a great year,” said Loeffler, who notes that K2 Promotions was involved in both, “not only for the boxers but for the sport of boxing and I think this is the type of year the fans win by seeing these type of fights.”
And now, he can come out of hiding and get ready to answer his calls.
“The phone is charged again,” he said with a laugh as he walked out of T-Mobile Arena to celebrate the occasion with Golovkin and his team.
Golovkin’s trainer Abel Sanchez says he expects his charge to start training camp for this fight in mid-July at The Summit in Big Bear, California. Looking back at their 12-round decision win over Daniel Jacobs on March 18, more pundits are now giving Canelo a shot at defeating Golovkin.
When asked if anything needed to be improved from that fight, Sanchez answered, “He just has to be Gennady. I don’t think he did anything wrong in the Jacobs fight. I thought Jacobs fought a great fight, so he just has to be Gennady and beat on Canelo and make it a fan-friendly fight and make it the kind of fight that will bring boxing back even further to where it used to be.”
So just how excited is his fighter to finally land a fight of this nature? What was their reaction to the news last week?
“At the beginning I think it was hesitation from all of us, just that they were going to pull another stunt like they did after the (Amir) Khan fight,” explained Sanchez, “but Tom reassured us that everything was set. Everything was going to be on the up-and-up and they were going to do that entrance like they did like a fight entrance. So we took it that Tom was sure. So it was anxious moments before it but, when they announced it, Gennady was extremely happy.”
Heard that Canelo has such animosity toward the WBC, that, not only did he refuse to accept their special commemorative Huichol belt for the Chavez fight, when he heard the WBC bought a two-page ad in the fight program, he demanded it be removed…The promotion for the Andre Ward-Sergey Kovalev rematch is every bit as awkward as everyone anticipated…Can we just skip ahead to the Cavs and Warriors in the NBA Finals?…I have to say that Season Two of “Billions” on Showtime was simply a masterpiece…OK, it’s almost time for HBO’s “Game of Thrones,” right?…Anyone get their “Big Baller Brand” shoes yet?…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.