By Keith Idec
SANTA MONICA, California – Canelo Alvarez announced two weeks ago that he plans to return to the ring September 15.
The suspended superstar didn’t mention Gennady Golovkin by name, but it has been presumed that Alvarez wants to reschedule his middleweight championship rematch against Golovkin for that date. Golovkin and his trainer, Abel Sanchez, aren’t so sure anymore.
They revealed during a wide-ranging interview with BoxingScene.com and another outlet Thursday that they’re sensing Alvarez doesn’t want to fight Golovkin next. They pointed to the fact that Alvarez isn’t currently enrolled in the Voluntary Anti-Doping Association’s testing program for performance-enhancing drugs as a sign that Alvarez isn’t serious about boxing Golovkin next.
Assuming the heavily favored Golovkin beats Vanes Martirosyan on Saturday night, Golovkin would prefer to face Alvarez again in his following fight.
The unbeaten IBF/IBO/WBA/WBC middleweight champion stressed, though, that he has plenty of options other than Alvarez for later this year. Golovkin acknowledged Thursday that he won’t make as much money for any of those fights as the eight-figure guarantee he’d earn for facing Alvarez in a high-profile, pay-per-view rematch.
That might not matter, not if, as Sanchez suggested, Alvarez would prefer facing someone other than Golovkin on September 15.
“My focus and our focus right now is on the 5th,” Sanchez said. “If we don’t get past Vanes, there’s no sense to talk about anything. But if [Alvarez isn’t] doing anything to rectify the issues that are in front of him right now, maybe he’s doing that on purpose. Maybe he doesn’t want the fight. That gives him an out.
“It’s the feeling I’ve had for a while. If [contaminated] meat was the issue, maybe that was the issue to begin with – maybe he didn’t want the fight on the 5th. … I wouldn’t say he doesn’t want it [ever]. He may not want it right now.”
Golovkin agreed that it’s possible Alvarez actually would prefer pushing back their rematch from September 15 until next year.
“I don’t exclude that,” Golovkin said through an interpreter. “Maybe he’s just playing [with] time. He has this opportunity – that’s what he’s trying to do.”
Kazakhstan’s Golovkin (37-0-1, 33 KOs) and Mexico’s Alvarez (49-1-2, 34 KOs) were supposed to fight Saturday night at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, where they fought to a controversial 12-round draw September 16. Alvarez withdrew from their rematch April 3 because his handlers were advised that the Nevada State Athletic Commission would extend his temporary suspension for twice testing positive for clenbuterol, a banned substance, in February.
The NSAC suspended Alvarez for six months at its monthly meeting April 18 in Las Vegas. Alvarez anticipates his suspension ending after August 17, which would make him eligible for a return September 15.
The 32-year-old Martirosyan (36-3-1, 21 KOs), of Glendale, California, agreed to replace Alvarez as Golovkin’s opponent on just 2½ weeks’ notice. HBO will televise their scheduled 12-round, 160-pound title fight from StubHub Center in Carson, California (11 p.m. ET).
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.