By Keith Idec
The search for Canelo Alvarez’s replacement continues.
BoxingScene.com has learned that the Nevada State Athletic Commission won’t approve Mexico’s Jamie Munguia as Gennady Golovkin’s opponent May 5 in Las Vegas. ESPN.com reported Thursday that Munguia was expected to step in on short notice for Alvarez, who withdrew from their high-profile rematch Tuesday because he expects the NSAC to extend his temporary suspension later this month because he twice testing positive for clenbuterol in February.
Tom Loeffler, Golovkin’s promoter, is expected to submit the name of at least one potential replacement for Alvarez to the NSAC by Friday. If Munguia is on that list, sources close to the NSAC have informed BoxingScene.com that he won’t be approved because the NSAC doesn’t think the talented but untested prospect is ready for such a significant step up in competition against Golovkin (37-0-1, 33 KOs).
The 21-year-old Munguia is an undefeated, powerful prospect, but he hasn’t fought anyone at the championship level since he turned pro in July 2013. In addition to his inexperience against top opposition, Munguia (28-0, 24 KOs) also has competed most recently as a super welterweight, which means he’d have to move up to the middleweight division to challenge Golovkin for the Kazakh knockout artist’s IBF, IBO, WBA and WBC middleweight titles.
Moreover, Munguia competed as a welterweight, two full weight classes below middleweight, as recently as 11 months ago.
By refusing to approve Munguia on short notice, the NSAC demonstrated for the second time recently that it is firmly committed to placing the safety of boxers and following its rules and regulations at the forefront. Many fans and media expected the Alvarez-Golovkin rematch to take place May 5, despite Alvarez testing positive twice for a banned substance, because there was so much money at stake in their lucrative pay-per-view event.
Now that Munguia is out of the mix to replace Alvarez, Golovkin could fight Gary “Spike” O’Sullivan four weeks from Saturday night at MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas. Ireland’s O’Sullivan (27-2, 19 KOs) was considered the frontrunner to land this daunting assignment before Munguia temporarily became a top option.
Representatives for Demetrius Andrade (25-0, 16 KOs), a former WBA super welterweight champ from Providence, Rhode Island, and Ukraine’s Sergiy Derevyanchenko (12-0, 10 KOs), the mandatory challenger for Golovkin’s IBF 160-pound title, also have repeatedly expressed those fighters’ willingness to step in for Alvarez on short notice.
Lou DiBella, who promotes Derevyanchenko, has petitioned the IBF to either force Golovkin to make his mandatory defense against Derevyanchenko on May 5 or strip Golokvin of his IBF 160-pound championship.
Golovkin last made a mandatory defense of his IBF title in April 2016, when he knocked out Dominic Wade in the second round in Inglewood, California. It is the IBF’s turn in its rotation with the WBA and WBC to have Golovkin make a mandatory defense of its middleweight title.
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.