By Jake Donovan
Barring an injury or any other circumstances beyond his control, unbeaten middleweight titlist Gennday Golovkin will fight for a third time in 2014. Plans are currently in place - though not yet finalized for an October 18 ring return versus Mexico's Marco Antonio Rubio.
The bout will most likely wind up taking place in Southern California. Golovkin has fought in New York in each of his last six stateside appearances, including five in a row at Madison Square Garden and its accompanying Theatre venue.
HBO - with whom Golovkin is under exclusive contract - has the option to reject the matchup, though it is likely the network will air the fight given past criticism of passing on Golovkin's knockout win over Osumana Adama earlier this year in Monte Carlo.
Rubio and his team have agreed to the offer presented to them, and now await for Golovkin's side to sign off to make the fight official.
" We've accepted the terms and we will be waiting for contracts to get signed (by Golovkin and his team)," confirmed Oswaldo K ü chle, Rubio's promoter. "Tom Loeffler (managing director of K2 Promotions, Golovkin's promoter) is working on the final details. Almost done."
The 34-year old was eager to jump into the lion's den once it became clear that a desired crack at lineal middleweight champion Miguel Cotto wasn't going to happen.
"Since Miguel Cotto doesn't want to fight me, we're fighting Gennady Golovkin," Rubio (59-6-1, 51KOs) insists. "I never back down from anyone. This fight is going to happen."
Rubio is riding a six-fight win streak since his last HBO appearance and official title fight, dropping a decision to Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. The February '12 bout in San Antonio was surrounded by controversy, due to post-fight drug testing not being made available. Dickie Cole, then head of Texas' boxing commission, fell on the sword, chalking up the incident to miscommunication with the World Boxing Council (WBC) in terms of who would conduct the testing.
A lawsuit was filed soon thereafter by Rubio's team, on the grounds that random drug testing was specifically written into the fight contract. A deal was reached out of court where the WBC agreed to re-insert Rubio as its mandatory contender for the middleweight title.
Gaining reinstatement was the easy part. Obtaining the actual title fight has proven troublesome, with Rubio now chasing after another version of the middleweight crown. The 34-year old waited for a crack at Sergio Martinez, the division's lineal champ who also claimed the WBC belt but who's reign was slowed down by injuries.
Rubio agreed to step aside to allow a superfight between Martinez and Cotto in June, as he accepted - and won - an interim title fight versus Domenico Spada earlier this year. Rubio claimed an interim belt with an 11th round stoppage, while waiting out the aforementioned world title fight, in which Cotto steamrolled Martinez to win a championship in his fourth weight class.
Despite serving as Cotto's mandatory, Rubio's name was only sparsely mentioned as a possible opponent for the Puerto Rican superstar's next fight, which will take place December 13 at Madison Square Garden in New York City. Cotto has yet to name an opponent, although Ireland's Andy Lee has been mentioned as a leading candidate.
No longer willing to wait around, Rubio revisited a previous offer from Golovkin's handlers, one that came earlier in the year when the Kazakhstan knockout artist was planning to fight four times in the year. The original offer was for a November showdown, but Rubio's team took a wait-and-see approach for a fight date that was still more than eight months away at the time.
Golovkin's plans were altered due to the untimely passing of his father, forcing the unbeaten middleweight to withdraw from a planned April title fight in New York City. He returned to the ring in July, scoring a 3rd round knockout of Australia's Daniel Geale at Madison Square Garden, his first stateside appearance of 2014.
Rubio hasn't fought in the U.S since the loss to Chavez Jr. His past six wins have all taken place in his native Mexico.