Gennadiy Golovkin is still without a set date, location and opponent for his next fight, but that hasn’t stopped oddsmakers from already penciling him in as a sure bet to prevail.
Heavy rumors have the 37-year old from Kazakhstan next facing Poland’s Kamil Szeremeta (21-0, 5KOs) for the first defense of his second tour as a middleweight titlist. The targeted date is March 28, potentially in Chicago where Szeremeta will at least enjoy the backing of the area’s massive Polish population.
What the unbeaten but largely unproven middleweight doesn’t have is the backing of sports handicappers.
Opening odds place Golovkin (40-1-1, 35KOs) as a healthy 25-1 betting favorite—putting up $2500 just to win back another $100—on the assumption the bout takes place around the rumored time frame. Szeremeta has been slotted as a 10-1 betting underdog, meaning a $100 bet can land you another $1,000 in the event of an upset.
The perceived mismatch is the likely next step as Szeremeta is the top-rated challenger to the International Boxing Federation (IBF) title which Golovkin regained in a hard-fought 12-round decision win over in Sergiy Derevyanchenko in their vacant title fight last October. Golovkin entered as a 9/2 betting favorite but was considered fortunate to have escaped with the decision and the title in what emerged as a leading candidate for—and BoxingScene.com’s choice as—the 2019 Fight of the Year.
The chances of a repeat slugfest are as doubtful as the odds suggest will be the case for the yet-to-be-announced title fight.
Golovkin reclaimed his place on the middleweight podium following more than a year without a belt following a 12-round loss to Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez in their September 2018 rematch. The disputed defeat ended his eight-year run with at least one belt around his waist, racking up a record-tying 20 successful title defenses along the way, including a 12-round draw with Alvarez in their first fight.
Each of the two fights with Alvarez saw Golovkin open as a slight favorite, and has never entered as the underdog for any of his 42 pro bouts to date. However, preliminary odds in the immediate aftermath of their rematch placed Alvarez as a marginal favorite in the event of a third fight, with the line likely to expand given recent results should such a fight ever come to fruition.
For now, Golovkin is viewed as a sure bet to extend his second reign even ahead of a formal announcement.
Jake Donovan is a senior writer for BoxingScene.com. Twitter: @JakeNDaBox