It took five long years, from the moment he made his televised debut on HBO, but Gennady Golovkin (37-0, 33 KOs) has finally secured a major pay-per-view fight in Las Vegas.
After nearly two years of hype, Golovkin will defend his IBF, IBO, WBA, WBC middleweight titles against Mexican superstar Saul "Canelo" Alvarez (49-1-1, 34 KOs) on September 16th at T-Mobile Arena, and on HBO Pay-Per-View.
Their showdown is arguably the biggest fight in the sport.
After Golovkin made his HBO debut in September 2012, his promoter, Tom Loeffler of K2 Promotions, went through hell to secure opponents for his boxer.
“He’s come a tremendous way,” Loeffler said to the Las Vegas Review Journal. “A lot of hard work and patience and a lot of knockouts along the way. I was thinking back on it, it will be five years almost exactly since his debut on HBO. I was literally begging HBO and Showtime just to give him a slot on one of their shows just for the publicity, and now he’s involved in the biggest fight in the sport.”
“We were offering the biggest paydays of their careers, and no one wanted to get in the ring with (Golovkin),” Loeffler said. “It was a challenge. I’ve never seen such a resistance for somebody who has multiple world titles. I’ve never experienced that, and I’ve been involved over 25 years in boxing. It’s always been the top fighters want to fight the other champions or at least see who is the best.”
Golovkin was the mandatory challenger to Canelo in early 2016.
At the time Canelo was the WBC middleweight champion. After the WBC applied pressure on him fight Golovkin, the Mexican star vacated the WBC belt and dropped down to junior middleweight to capture the WBO belt. The WBC made Golovkin their champion by default.
At the time, Canelo's promoter, Oscar De La Hoya of Golden Boy Promotions, promised everyone that his boxer would face Golovkin in September 2017 - which created a lot of doubt on whether or not the contest would happen.
“I think for this caliber of fight, we’ve seen other fights that have taken much longer to put together,” Loeffler said. “From Gennady’s standpoint, he wanted the fight last year, but we have to give Canelo, Oscar and Golden Boy credit. They told us last year the fight would happen September of 2017, and they stuck to their word on it.”
“We didn’t want to go to Las Vegas until we had the right type of fight that would justify being on the big stage of Las Vegas. It just worked out that his first Las Vegas fight is the biggest fight in boxing.”