By Keith Idec
NEW YORK – Gennady Golovkin made it clear in the aftermath of the first 12-round fight of his career that he’ll have no problem getting ready to fight Billy Joe Saunders less than three months later in Kazakhstan.
Golovkin wants to fight Saunders because the unbeaten Brit owns the WBO middleweight title, the only recognized 160-pound championship Golovkin doesn’t possess. Golovkin (37-0, 33 KOs), who’ll turn 35 on April 8, emphasized during a post-fight press conference following his unanimous-decision victory over Daniel Jacobs (32-2, 29 KOs) on Saturday night at Madison Square Garden that it has been his longtime goal to fully unify the middleweight championships.
“Hopefully,” Golovkin said. “This is my dream fight. My goal is all the belts in the middleweight division. All the belts. Of course Billy Joe Saunders is my last step for my dream. Of course I want this fight. Hopefully this fight happens in Kazakhstan.”
Tom Loeffler, Golovkin’s promoter, said Sunday that a deal isn’t in place for a Golovkin-Saunders fight, which would be broadcast by HBO from Golovkin’s native country.
“There’s nothing that’s been finalized,” said Loeffler, managing director for K2 Promotions. “It’s always been Gennady’s dream to unify the titles. But we’ll see how he recovers from this fight, and then see what the options are after that. I can advise him, but Gennady makes his decisions and he’s made it clear he wants to unify the titles. And he’s also made it clear he wants to get the Canelo fight. So we’ll see who actually steps up and agrees to get in the ring with him.”
Golden Boy Promotions president Eric Gomez said recently that Golovkin fighting Saunders (24-0, 12 KOs) on June 10 could prevent them from finalizing a long-awaited Alvarez-Golovkin fight for September. According to Gomez, a Golovkin fight June 10 wouldn’t give them enough time to properly promote a pay-per-view fight the magnitude of Alvarez-Golovkin.
Squeezing in a Golovkin fight in June probably would mean Golovkin would get a combined two months off following the Jacobs and Saunders fights before he’d have to start training camp in July for the Alvarez fight. Golovkin and his trainer, Abel Sanchez, seem more than fine with that level of activity, even after going 12 rounds for the first time in his career in a difficult fight against Jacobs.
Even if he wins, Golovkin also could suffer a cut or another injury during the Saunders fight that could further postpone the fight against Alvarez. Golovkin and his team obviously view those as risks worth taking.
“As of now, there’s nothing planned,” Loeffler said. “I’ve been in a lot of discussions, whether it’s with Golden Boy or Kazakhstan wants him to fight over there. But there’s been nothing that’s signed. We wanted to see what happened here [Saturday night], because we knew it would be … nothing’s been agreed [upon]. Nothing’s been finalized for either Kazakhstan or Canelo. But it’ll be my job this week to see what’s on the table. We can’t really finalize anything for Canelo because he’s got a fight coming up in May [against Julio Cesar Chavez Jr.], just like we had the fight [Saturday night]. But certainly, we would do our best to make that fight if it was possible.”
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.