By Keith Idec
LOS ANGELES – Vanes Martirosyan had less than three weeks’ notice, yet still made weight Friday more comfortably than he did before his previous fight.
Afforded six additional pounds for his debut as a full-fledged middleweight, Martrirosyan officially weighed in at a career-high 159½ pounds Friday afternoon at the Sheraton Gateway Los Angeles Hotel for his fight against Gennady Golovkin. Kazakhstan’s Golovkin got on the California State Athletic Commission’s scale at exactly 160 pounds for their 12-round, 160-pound title bout Saturday night in Carson, California.
HBO will televise the Golovkin-Martirosyan match as the main event of a “World Championship Boxing” doubleheader from StubHub Center. The 36-year-old Golovkin (37-0-1, 33 KOs) will attempt to tie Bernard Hopkins’ middleweight record by making a 20th consecutive title defense when he meets Martirosyan.
Golovkin will defend his WBA title, which he has defended 19 times, as well as his WBC and IBO championships. His IBF belt won’t be at stake because the IBF declined to sanction Golovkin-Martirosyan as a title fight.
The 32-year-old Martirosyan (36-3-1, 21 KOs), of nearby Glendale, California, is a huge underdog.
The 2004 American Olympian isn’t just moving up one division – from the junior middleweight limit of 154 pounds to the middleweight maximum of 160. He also hasn’t fought in nearly two years, not since losing a 12-round unanimous decision to former WBA/IBO super welterweight champ Erislandy Lara in May 2016.
Martirosyan said earlier this week that he had an unusually tough time making weight for that rematch against Lara. The longtime junior middleweight contender needed to lose eight pounds in approximately 24 hours to sneak in at 153¾ pounds.
Martirosyan’s weight Friday was his highest since he turned pro in April 2005. He twice weighed in at 158½ pounds for pro bouts, but mostly has fought near or at the junior middleweight limit.
Despite his long layoff, Martirosyan jumped at the chance to challenge Golovkin on short notice once Canelo Alvarez withdrew from a rematch against Golovkin that was supposed to take place Saturday night at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas.
Mexico’s Alvarez withdrew from their high-profile, pay-per-view event April 3 because he was advised that the Nevada State Athletic Commission would extend his temporary suspension. The NSAC suspended Alvarez for six months April 18 for failing two performance-enhancing drug tests in February.
Alvarez insists that contaminated meat consumed in his home country caused him to test positive for clenbuterol February 17 and February 20. The former middleweight and junior middleweight champ expects his suspension to conclude after August 17 and wants to reschedule his second fight against Golovkin for September 15.
Golovkin and Alvarez (49-1-2, 34 KOs) fought to a controversial 12-round draw last September 16 at T-Mobile Arena.
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.