Tom Loeffler expects impactful 2017 for ‘GGG’
On Wednesday afternoon, a small and private media gathering at the Palm Restaurant near the Staples Center was staged for WBO cruiserweight titlist Oleksandr Usyk (who will make his American and HBO debut on Dec. 17 at the Forum in Inglewood, California). While Usyk and his manager Egis Klimas (with whom he had just signed after his title win over Krzysztof Glowacki) were interacting with the press, the Managing Director of K2 Promotions, Usyk’s promoter since his start in the professional ranks, the usually punctual Tom Loeffler was tardy.
It turns out he was in Santa Monica where IBF/WBA/WBC middleweight champion Gennady Golokvin was doing a photo shoot for Tecate.
It was no surprise that the focus soon turned to Golovkin and the ongoing negotiations with WBA co-champion Danny Jacobs, which have gone on for much of Autumn. Loeffler told the reporters that the WBA had sent out a letter giving the two sides seven more days to come to an agreement but he was confident in a deal getting consummated.
Word is March 18 is the date at Madison Square Garden in New York City.
Loeffler was also asked about the Saul Alvarez situation and if things were progressing with Golden Boy Promotions.
“I just spoke to (Golden Boy President) Eric Gomez today, so we’re also in continuing discussions and that fight – if it happens – we’re targeting September 2017 and hopefully we can make that fight. That’s the biggest fight commercially in the sport of boxing. I think both sides would win in that situation. It’s a tremendous fight and it would be the biggest fight in the United States and we’ll try everything from our side to try to make that happen,” said Loeffler, who says their side has a full understanding that, in this equation, they are the B-side to “Canelo.”
“That hasn’t been an issue from our side,” Loeffler clearly stated. “We just want to get the fight. We’ve conceded that Golden Boy would be the lead promoter, that Canelo would get the lion’s share of the monies. We just want to get the fight for Gennady. Gennady brings his titles. He’s got his world titles he can bring with him and Canelo said he’d meet him at middleweight. So there aren’t a lot of obstacles in making that fight.”
An Golovkin-Alvarez fight is one few fights left in boxing that would do significant numbers on pay-per-view and the type of marquee fight Golovkin and his team have been yearning for.
Loeffler continued, “We’d let them choose where the location is, so it’s not like we’re trying to impose our will or demands on the terms. We’re just trying to get the fight done, so it’s fair for both sides.”
A schedule that includes Jacobs and then Alvarez would be significant. When asked if that meant those would be the first two fights of Golovkin’s 2017 campaign, Loeffler revealed, “Well, we have a big offer to go back to Kazakhstan. (Golovkin’s) main sponsor is EXPO 2017 and they want him to go back to Kazakhstan at the end of May. So we’ll see. It’s step-by-step but if we can get the Canelo fight done in a reasonable period of time, then it’s possible he might just go into the Canelo fight.”
2016 saw Golovkin – for the first time since 2012 – fight less than three times in a calendar year. The hope is, in the upcoming year, he goes back to his previous work rate. “You can’t promise anything but let’s just say he fights in March and September. Let’s say he wins both of those fights. There’s still the opportunity to fight in December. Or, if he fights in March, May or June and September, he could theoretically fight four times, if he fights in December.
“It was disappointing for our side because that’s how we built Gennady to where he is right now. He’s willing to fight anyone. His activity, he’s willing to fight anywhere and, for him to be the most active champion in boxing and only having two fights this year, it really, for me, I consider it a big setback. At the same time, those are the things you have to go through to satisfy your mandatory requirements. I mean, some people look at it as a bad year.”
But Loeffler does see a bright side to this past year for “GGG.”
“Other people will say he added the WBC title to his collection; he sold out the Forum, which, I understand, hadn’t been sold out since 1971 (for boxing). He sold out the O2 Arena (in London) in 11 minutes,” he points out. “So you look at two fights, maybe it’s not a great year. On the other side of that, with every fight of his career, he’s getting bigger and, for 2017, I think he’s positioned to have a huge year.”
So if all this comes to fruition – and, just as importantly, Golovkin comes out victorious – would that mean 2017 would mark his final year as a middleweight?
After chuckling, Loeffler stated, “He wants that last title. He wants the WBO title, so whether that’s (titlist Billy Joe) Saunders or somebody else, at that point, he wants that title. There’s Chris Eubank (Jr); that’s a big fight. Now if there’s a big fight at 168 like a (WBO beltholder Gilberto) Ramirez, (Top Rank Promotions CEO) Bob Arum’s been talking about fighting Ramirez (with Golovkin), the undefeated 168-pounder. That’s a big fight. (Julio Cesar) Chavez (Jr.) has come back in the picture. Their people have been calling and that would also be a big fight at 168 pounds. Chavez is fighting in December in Mexico.
“So, as I mentioned, there’s a lot of options that are opening up now as Gennady has become one of the most marketable boxers in the sport.”
Nobody has better media luncheons than K2, bar none…Loeffler says there’s a good possibility of Usyk appearing on the Golovkin undercard in March, provided he wins on Dec. 17, of course…Klimas on adding to his talented roster of fighters, “All it takes is one bad egg to ruin an omelet…Are Tony Bellew and David Haye just putting all of us on or do they really detest one another?…So Billy Joe Saunders is really going to fight this weekend, right?…Does Jeff Fisher even know who plays for the Patriots?…So will there be any upsets this Saturday in the Conference Championship games?…I can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org 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.