If former middleweight champion Gennadiy Golovkin had his way, this weekend’s return would’ve been a trilogy fight against Canelo Alvarez that would have gone down as the biggest fight of 2019.
Actually, if we’re being honest, the fight would’ve already happened during Mexican Independence Day weekend in September like originally penciled in by everyone from fans, media, the promoters of both fighters and all-sports streaming app DAZN, which seemingly mortgaged its financial future to sign both fighters to monster deals and pull them off of pay-per-view.
Yet even with Golovkin (39-1-1, 35 KOs), the 37-year-old slugger from Kazakhstan, settling for a potentially explosive vacant IBF title bout on Saturday (DAZN, 9 p.m. ET) against Sergiy Derevyanchenko (13-1, 10 KOs) for the title stripped from Alvarez, it remains difficult for GGG to be asked about anything but his biggest rival.
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Golovkin and Alvarez shared the ring for 24 rounds of non-stop action over the past two years in thrilling fights that left many fans bitter at the draw and close decision win scored for Alvarez considering most felt GGG had done enough to win both. The war of words between the two then escalated to the point where Alvarez simply no longer wants anything to do with Golovkin, let alone fight him a third time or even speak his name.
“I don’t know, really, just ask him,” Golovkin told CBS Sports on Monday when asked why he’s not fighting Alvarez. “I’m ready, I’m still ready and I wanted this fight for this September because it’s a good deal and good for business and people. This is the biggest fight for us. I don’t know why, ask him.
“I don’t know why? His promoter said yes, he said no and this is a problem. Probably he has a problem with his promoter at this point. Right now is so bad that I don’t want to touch his side or his name because it’s so bad.”
Alvarez reportedly did have a breakdown in communication with his promoter (which ultimately led to him being stripped of the IBF title when a deadline to negotiate a deal with Derevyanchenko came and went). Yet the Mexican idol and biggest star in the sport stood firm on his decision to outright avoid Golovkin, citing reasons that included everything from his dislike of GGG to the fact that Golovkin brings nothing to the table in terms of a title for historic purposes.
That could change, of course, should Golovkin defeat Derevyanchenko to win the IBF strap less than a month removed from Alvarez’s Nov. 2 return against light heavyweight titleholder Sergey Kovalev in a fight that will see Alvarez move up two weight divisions.
Is Golovkin expecting the Alvarez trilogy to come next year if he wins? What about the potential that Alvarez will be an interested spectator on Saturday to find out when GGG makes his return to New York’s Madison Square Garden?
“I don’t know, it doesn’t matter for me,” Golovkin said. “I don’t want to touch him, I don’t want to touch his name or his promoter. It’s horrible for me. It’s just so bad.”
Lost in all of the Alvarez talk is just how tough of a matchup the 33-year-old Derevyanchenko presents on paper. The native of Ukraine pushed former titleholder Daniel Jacobs to the limit in a 2018 loss via split decision, the same fighter who some felt had done enough to beat GGG one year earlier (and gave Alvarez a tough fight in their May PPV date).
Golovkin said he watched Derevyanchenko’s fight with Jacobs closely and felt the fact that they shared a trainer (Andre Rozier, who chose to stay in Jacobs’ corner) prevented “The Technician” from coming out on top.