By Kenneth Friedman: Oscar De La Hoya isn’t quite sure what WBA/WBA middleweight champion Saul Canelo Alvarez will do if he beats IBF champion Daniel Jacobs this Saturday night in Las Vegas, Nevada, but he would still like to make a trilogy fight with Gennady Golovkin if he’s willing to earn the fight by winning a world title first.
Despite the recent news of Golovkin (38-1-1, 34 KOs) deciding to face little known Canadian fighter Steve Rolls (19-0, 10 KOs) on June 8 on DAZN, De La Hoya still wants Golovkin to go after a world title to earn the third fight with Canelo instead of having it given to him. De La Hoya isn’t saying that Golovkin absolutely WON’T be getting a third fight with Canelo in September at this point. De La Hoya is saying he wants Golovkin to earn it. It’s debatable whether De La Hoya is just trying to score points with the media in order to put Golovkin in a weakened position when/if his management come to the bargaining table to negotiate a third fight for September.
De La Hoya insists that Canelo (51-1-2, 35 KOs) has a lot of other options available to him at 160, 168 and 175. It’s not just the Golovkin fight that is out there for Canelo. He’s got other guys he can fight in three different weight classes. David Lemieux is a possibility for Canelo at 160 or 168, WBA Super World champion Callum Smith is an option at super middleweight, and WBO light heavyweight champion Sergey Kovalev is someone that Canelo wants at 175.
“If Golovkin can win the last belt, imagine how much meaning a fight trilogy between Canelo and Golovkin will have. My thing is, ‘Hey, Golovkin, go win another title and earn your spot again and then we we’ll talk,’” De Hoya said to RingTV.com.
If De La Hoya is serious about requiring that Golovkin win a world title before Canelo will fight him again, then it suggests that he’s not a high priority for the Mexican star at this point. It also means that the boxing public won’t be seeing them fighting each other in 2019, because Golovkin’s fight against the 35-year-old Rolls is just a tune-up level match-up on June 8th on DAZN at Madison Square Garden in New York. Golovkin, 37, will likely only fight once more in 2019. If Canelo and De La Hoya refuse to fight GGG again until he wins another world title, then the Kazakh’s second fight in 2019 will likely be against WBO middleweight champion Demetrius Andrade or one of the super middleweight belt holders like Caleb Plant, Callum Smith or possibly David Benavidez or Billy Joe Saunders. It’s really hard to predict what GGG and his promoter Tom Loeffler will do if they’re ordered by Canelo and De La Hoya to go win another world title before they make the third with him.
Golovkin has a lot of pride, and his big nine-figure, six-fight contract with DAZN gives him freedom to fight other guys. He doesn’t have to be led around by nose by Canelo if the Mexican star decides he wants to make it tough on him by showing him and the boxing world that he’s the boss. If Golovkin is seen by fans as taking orders from Canelo and Golden Boy, then it’s a way of Alvarez of showing them that’s the superior fighter that he can dictate terms. That puts DAZN in a bad position because they handed out huge contracts to Golovkin and Canelo thinking that they would at least face each other one more time if not two more times. If Canelo and Golden Boy are setting up conditions that Golovkin must meet before they’ll give him a third fight, it changes the ball game. You have to wonder if DAZN was aware that Canelo and De La Hoya would play this game with GGG when they signed them to a huge 11-fight, $365 million contract with their company.
“First thing is first and that is May 4,” De La Hoya said. “Canelo told me he can move up to 168 or even 175. That’s how important his career and legacy is. He wants to make history and Canelo has options at 175, 168 and 160, so we will see where we have planned after May 4,” said De La Hoya.
If Canelo is going to move up to super middleweight again, he’ll need to face better opposition than in his fight in that weight class. Canelo was perceived by a lot of boxing fans as a cherry picker for going after arguably the weakest of the super middleweight champions in Rocky Fielding last December. Fielding is a decent fighter, but he’d been knocked out in the first round by Callum Smith in the past. It looked bad that Canelo and Golden Boy targeted a fighter that was for all intents and purposes a ‘paper champion’ instead of the real thing in Callum Smith or Gilberto “Zurdo” Ramirez. Top Rank Boxing promotions would have been all over a Canelo vs. Gilberto Ramirez fight if Golden Boy had shown interest in making that match-up.
Assuming De La Hoya and Canelo are dead serious about GGG needing to win another world title before they’ll agree to put a trilogy fight together with him, then Golovkin will need to make a decision whether he wants to go that route to get the third fight with Canelo. Golovkin doesn’t have any real choice in the matter. He’s not going to make any noise in boxing if he keeps fighting guys like Steve Rolls. DAZN won’t be happy if Golovkin continues to fight obscure guys for the remainder of his six-fight contract with them. Likewise, if Golovkin only fights contenders, he’s not going to bring a lot of attention to his future matches. Golovkin pretty much is forced to fight world title champions if he wants to be involved in big fights. So, whether Golovkin likes it or not, he’s going to be doing what Canelo is ordering him to do in going after a world title before he’ll agree to fight him again. It’s up to Golovkin how long he wants to wait before he does what Canelo wants him to do in winning a world title. GGG probably should have been doing that for his June 8th fight, but it looks like and his promoter Loeffler might not have thought that Canelo was serious about wanting him to capture a world title before he’d fight him again.