The sport of boxing needs Gennady Golovkin (36-0, 33 KO) now more than ever. He’s arguably the best pound-for-pound boxer fighting today, and without question the most exciting. He’s a methodical pressure fighter who packs a punch that is as precise as it is powerful. His knockout rate — 91.8% — is the highest in middleweight championship history.
Any fighter Golovkin is paired with brings in fans and grows the sport. But setting up a fight for Golovkin has been notoriously difficult. Fighters in the division have ducked him at all costs.
So who will Golovkin face next? Here are the top candidates.
Odds to fight Gennady Golovkin next
Billy Joe Saunders (24-0, 12 KO): 3/2
Golovkin currently holds the unified WBA (Super), WBC, IBF, and IBO middleweight titles. But he doesn’t hold the WBO middleweight title — Saunders does. Golovkin has stated that he wants to unify the title and that involves taking down Billy Joe.
Saunders is coming off a decision win against the little-known Artur Akavov. It was his first title defense after almost a year of inaction and he looked sluggish and rusty. But he retained the title and has openly stated that Golovkin is the fight he’s looking for.
Both fighters want the fight to happen, and the fans want to see it. So let’s hope it finally happens.
Danny Jacobs (33-1, 29 KO): 7/3
Standing between a Saunders-Golovkin bout is Danny Jacobs (33-1, 29 KO), who is entitled to a fight against Golovkin according to the WBA. As part of the WBA’s plan to unify the world titles in each division, Golovkin is obligated to fight Danny Jacobs.
But Golovkin-Jacobs is not exactly the fight fans want to see. Someone like Saunders or Canelo Alvarez (see below) would be a much more attractive pairing.
Canelo Alvarez (34-1-1, 14 KO): 3/1
Canelo Alvarez has been accused of ducking Golovkin for some time now. Earlier this year, he voluntarily vacated his WBC middleweight title, which allowed him to avoid Golovkin, the WBC’s mandatory challenger.
Alvarez has repeatedly hit back at allegations that he ducked Golovkin, stating that he is eager to fight him. I sure hope he’s telling the truth and puts some leg-work into bringing the fight to fruition.
James DeGale (23-1, 14 KO): 19/1
If Golovkin is willing to move up to the super-middleweight division, then he won’t find an opponent better than James DeGale. The former IBF champion and Olympic gold medalist has expressed interest in a Golovkin fight and has invited him to step up to his weight class.
Photo credit: “Golovkin/Lemiuex Press Conference” by RJ Cohen, CC BY-SA 2.0 [http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0], via Flickr.