By Keith Idec
An injury to Gennady Golovkin supposedly has held up the finalization of a Golovkin-Billy Joe Saunders middleweight title unification fight.
According to Frank Warren, Saunders’ promoter, Saunders has signed a contract to challenge Golovkin for middleweight supremacy June 10 in Golovkin’s native Kazakhstan. Warren told iFL TV during an interview posted Thursday that he has been told – presumably by Tom Loeffler, Golovkin’s promoter – that an injury to Golovkin has delayed the completion of their deal.
“At the moment, they’re saying that Golovkin’s injured,” Warren said. “So we’re waiting to see where this is all going. But as far as I’m concerned, we agreed [to] terms, so much so that we made an interim [title] fight, we paid a guy to step aside to enable it to happen. So we’ve done everything we can to deliver that fight. And Bill deserves it.”
The Golovkin-Saunders fight was in the works before Brooklyn’s Daniel Jacobs gave Golovkin the toughest fight of his 10-year pro career March 18 at Madison Square Garden.
While waiting for the Golovkin-Jacobs fight, Warren paid Saunders’ mandatory challenger for the WBO middleweight title, Avtandil Khurtsidze, a six-figure sum to step aside and allow England’s Saunders to box Golovkin for more money. Georgia’s Khurtsidze (32-2-2, 21 KOs) is scheduled to fight England’s Tommy Langford (18-0, 6 KOs) for the interim WBO middleweight title April 22 in Leicester, England.
Golovkin (37-0, 33 KOs), who’ll turn 35 on Saturday, didn’t mention an injury in the aftermath of his narrow victory over Jacobs (32-2, 29 KOs). Oscar De La Hoya, whose company promotes Canelo Alvarez, said the week after Golovkin-Jacobs that if Golovkin went through with a fight against Saunders on June 10 that it would prevent Golovkin from securing a long-awaited showdown with Alvarez in September.
De La Hoya expressed concerns about Golovkin getting injured or cut against Saunders (24-0, 12 KOs). “The Golden Boy” also contended that if the IBF/IBO/WBA/WBC champion fought Saunders on June 10, it wouldn’t afford enough time to properly promote a pay-per-view event the magnitude of Alvarez-Golovkin.
An Alvarez-Golovkin fight is contingent, too, on Alvarez (48-1-1, 34 KOs) beating Mexican rival Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. (50-2-1, 32 KOs, 1 NC) on May 6 in Las Vegas.
“We’re not gonna know till after May 6th what’s gonna happen,” Warren said. “It’s all up in the air at the moment. You know, we’re trying to resolve it.”
Warren made it clear, however, that Saunders has not delayed the completion of deal for a Golovkin-Saunders fight.
“He wants that fight,” Warren said. “We have a contract sitting there for that fight. It’s still sitting there on the table. So we’re waiting to see what happens with that.”
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.