By Lem Satterfield
Former champion Gennady Golovkin’s been on vacation since September, when the 36-year-old lost his IBO/WBA/WBC middleweight titles to Canelo Alvarez in a rematch of their draw in September 2017.
But just because Triple-G (38-1-1, 34 KOs) has been out of sight to the public doesn’t mean the 2004 Olympic silver medalist from Kazakhstan’s been out of the minds of those who have witnessed his dominance.
In fact, Golovkin’s name has been on the lips of many of those who have voiced their desires to fight him, including WBA “super” 168-pound champion Callum Smith (25-0, 18 KOs), 160-pound champions Rob Brant (24-1, 16 kOs), Demetrius Andrade (26-0, 16 KOs) and Jermall Charlo (27-0, 21 KOs), and even IBF/WBA/WBO 154-pound champion Jarrett Hurd (22-0,15 KOs).
Alvarez has signed a $365 million multi-fight deal with the streaming service DAZN and will pursue a third crown in as many divisions on December 15 against WBA “regular” 168-pound Rocky Fielding (27-1, 15 KOs) while retaining his middleweight titles.
“GGG is on vacation [from boxing,]” said Golovkin’s trainer, Abel Sanchez, in a text to BoxingScene.com. “He will be back early next year and then GGG will decide when and whom he will fight. Using GGG’s name is keeping them relevant…so who is the important one.”
Smith’s promoter, Eddie Hearn, has called Golovkin his "number 1choice" for a mega-fight against the 6-foot-3, 28-year-old “Mundo” who dethroned George Groves by seventh-round knockout in September.
“We wanted to fight Triple-G,” said Paul Andrade, father and trainer of 30-year-old left-handed two-division title-winner Demetrius Andrade, who won the WBO’s vacant crown with last month by four-knockdown, unanimous decision over Walter Kautondokwo.
Also last month, the 28-year-old Brant dethroned Ryota Murata (14-2, 11 KOs) as WBA “regular” middleweight champion in a Fight Of The Year caliber toe-to-toe brawl, after which his trainer, Eddie Mustafa Muhammad, said “I believe that Triple-Ghas shown that he’s lost a step or two.”
“Rob is a boxer-puncher, and I would like to see Rob fight Triple-G. Rob is an athlete, first and foremost, but like I said, he can box and he can punch,” said Muhammad, 66, who twice defended the 175-pound title he won by dethroning Marvin Johnson via 11th-round TKO in March 1980.
"Other than Jacobs, I don’t think Golovkin’s seen or been in the ring with two many of those. So if Rob lands a good one on Golovkin’s chin, he can go, too. I believe that with Golovkin, the door is starting to slam on him.”
The 28-year-old Charlo is after his first WBC interim title defense and fourth straight stoppage victory against southpaw two-time title challenger Willie Monroe (23-3, 6 KOs) at Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York, on December 22.
Charlo will become a mandatory for a WBC title eliminator against Golovkin for the right to face Alvarez should he defeat Monroe, who was floored three times during a sixth-round stoppage loss to Golovkin in May 2015.
Charlo’s trainer, Ronnie Shields, believes Golovkin and his 160-pound counterparts fear “The Hit Man.”
"Canelo Alvarez is afraid of Jermall, Triple-G [Gennady Golovkin] is afraid of Jermall," said Shields, in part. “I believe that Triple-G is going to avoid fighting Jermall, and then, we’ll go straight to Canelo."
The 28-year-old Hurd will pursue his third defense and eighth knockout in nine fights against England’s Jason Welborn (24-6, 7 KOs) on the December 1 undercard of Deontay Wilder’s heavyweight title defense against lineal champion Tyson Fury at The Staples Center in Los Angeles.
But Hurd’s future goals also include Golovkin, whose 1-1-1 mark over his past three fights includes a unanimous decision over Daniel Jacobs (35-2, 29 KOs) in a title unification match that ended “GGG’s” 23-fight, nine-year stoppage streak in March 2017.
“With Triple-G, I don’t think it will be as easy enforcing my will on him,” said Hurd. “I feel like I can do that easier with Canelo than with Triple G, who is more physical, but I still see myself winning.”
Calling Golovkin, “the biggest free agent in boxing,” his promoter, Tom Loeffler, is considering many options.
“We’re just working on the best deal for GGG right now. [He] just returned from Kazakhstan where he spent time with his family,” said Loeffler, earlier this month to BoxingScene.com.
“He is a national hero there and they all believe he should still be champion…His popularity is higher now than ever before and the fans are looking forward to seeing him back in the ring.”