By Keith Idec
More than 30 minutes into an impromptu press conference to announce nothing Thursday, a reporter posed an essential question to Gennady Golovkin’s promoter.
Tom Loeffler was asked, rather than dragging out the search for Canelo Alvarez’s replacement any longer, why doesn’t Golovkin just fight Sergiy Derevyanchenko on May 5? The unbeaten, unknown Ukrainian is the mandatory challenger for Golovkin’s IBF middleweight title and the primary reason Loeffler hasn’t been able to announce an opponent for Golovkin’s upcoming fight, tentatively scheduled for three weeks from Saturday night.
Derevyanchenko wants the title shot he is owed May 5. Lou DiBella, Derevyanchenko’s promoter, has petitioned the IBF to strip Golovkin if the Kazakh knockout artist fights anyone other than Derevyanchenko that night.
Loeffler explained Thursday in Los Angeles that there’s not enough money in the license fee HBO has agreed to pay to televise Golovkin’s May 5 fight to make it worthwhile for Golovkin or Derevyanchenko to fight each other on three weeks’ notice. Loeffler didn’t mention how much money HBO paid to air Golovkin’s return May 5, but multiple sources have informed BoxingScene.com that approximately $1 million will be paid to help cover the purses of Golovkin and his opponent.
“It’s a pretty simple answer, and I don’t really wanna get into the discussions [I’ve had] with Lou,” Loeffler said. “But we feel, under a reduced television fee, under a condensed schedule for marketing a fight, not only would it be disadvantageous for a mandatory [challenger], but also for Triple-G. I mean, Triple-G sells out the biggest arenas in the world, and if we have a proper time to promote and market a fight, nobody does it better than we do with the Triple-G fights. You know, when you can sell out Madison Square Garden twice, with a David Lemieux, with a Danny Jacobs, Derevyanchenko would be a huge fight in Madison Square Garden. So why would you want to shortchange the mandatory challenger and the champion, the unified champion, squeezing a situation like that?”
The 32-year-old Derevyanchenko (12-0, 10 KOs) is considered a high-risk, low-reward proposition for Golovkin, particularly with an eight-figure purse for an Alvarez rematch at stake against whoever Golovkin fights next. Golovkin (37-0-1, 33 KOs) doesn’t want to give up any of his four titles, though, which is the primary reason he still doesn’t have an opponent so close to the night he’s supposed to fight.
“I think Derevyanchenko has gotten more publicity over the last week or 10 days than he has ever in his career, just being linked as Triple-G’s mandatory,” Loeffler said. “So if there’s a way to build a fight like that, that makes sense for both sides, that would be the most prudent way to do it, instead of forcing both guys to take extremely short [amounts] on their financial side to rush a fight like this, when a fight can actually be built into another big fight.
“It’s not a knock on Derevyanchenko. And we believe Gennady can beat whether it’s Derevyanchenko, whether it’s [Jermall] Charlo. Out of all those mandatories, I would say Danny Jacobs was one of the toughest fights that could be made for Gennady. And Gennady never blinked about making his WBA mandatory defense against Danny Jacobs, and Danny really rose to the occasion for that fight.”
Loeffler also addressed those criticizing Golovkin because they feel he is avoiding Derevyanchenko.
“I don’t think anyone can accuse Triple-G of not fighting the best guys in the middleweight division,” Loeffler said. “And if a Derevyanchenko fight should be made, I think it needs to be made properly, with the right type of promotion, the right type of planning, so that both guys on each side can get paid and compensated properly.”
Meanwhile, longtime junior middleweight contender Vanes Martirosyan (36-3-1, 21 KOs) has emerged as the favorite on an ever-changing list of possible replacements for Alvarez. Loeffler acknowledged during Thursday’s gathering that Martirosyan is a viable option to fight Golovkin on May 5, probably at StubHub Center in Carson, California.
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.