Golovkin’s Options: Rematch with Canelo or Saunders Next?

If you thought organizing a rematch between Gennady Golovkin and Canelo Alvarez was going to be easy — think again!

The first fight took almost two years to plan and very nearly didn’t happen. Before they finally met earlier this month, Canelo vacated his WBC middleweight title in order to avoid facing Golovkin and instead fought a slew of lesser opponents — Amir Khan, Liam Smith, and Julio César Chávez Jr. Meanwhile, Golovkin fought an undersized Kell Brook and a tougher-than-expected Danny Jacobs.

When Golovkin and Alvarez finally touched gloves, it was well worth the wait. The fight, which most felt Golovkin should have won, ended in a controversial split draw, and so talk of a rematch began immediately. Both Golovkin and Alvarez agreed to a rematch immediately after the fight, and boxer-turned-promoter Oscar de la Hoya backed them up soon after. So the fight is going ahead, right?

Not so fast! Golovkin’s team is now worried that Alvarez and De La Hoya will once again set up roadblocks to prevent the fight from happening. WBO middleweight champ Billy Joe Saunders has thrown his hat into the ring, offering Golovkin a chance to unify the entire division, and Triple-G may just take him up on his offer.

At 35 years old, Golovkin doesn’t have much time left in the sport. Obviously, he would prefer a rematch with Alvarez, but if Golden Boy drags out the negotiation process like it did last time, GGG may not wait around. What’s his next move?

Photo credit: Mac Dreamstate (Wikimedia) CC License

Gennady Golovkin Odds

Odds to be Gennady Golovkin’s next opponent

Canelo Alvarez: 9/11

Billy Joe Saunders: 13/7

Canelo Alvarez is the man to beat for Gennady Golovkin and, if it were up to him, the rematch would happen ASAP. By most accounts, Golovkin should have been handed the victory in the first matchup, and the Kazakh definitely agrees. If Alvarez ducks Golovkin a second time then that could do irreparable damage to his reputation. To better his chances in a rematch, Alvarez could employ the age-old tactic of stalling; Golovkin is getting older by the day and, if Canelo holds out long enough, GGG may be well past his prime in the rematch, since he’s already showed signs of being on the decline.

If negotiations with Golden Boy drag on for too long, Golovkin may take Saunders up on his offer and unify the middleweight division. Or he could take on Saunders later in the year and use the opportunity to call out Canelo immediately after. As the unified middleweight champ, it may be harder for de la Hoya and Canelo to ignore him.

Over/Under on number of fights before Golovkin retires: 2.5

After 350 fights as an amateur and 38 as a pro, Golovkin has never even come close to touching the canvas. However, his style requires him to endure a decent amount of punishment in every fight. He has one of the best chins in boxing so he never seems fazed by anything his opponents have to offer, but it has to take its toll over time.

We’ve seen signs of Golovkin slowing down and possibly losing some of his power in his last couple of fights; this is the beginning of the end for the middleweight champ.

Fight odds for potential GGG matchups

Golovkin (-150) vs Alvarez (+174), Draw (+2500)

Golovkin (-900) vs Saunders (+550), Draw (+3300)

Billy Joe Saunders (25-0, 12 KOs) is the undefeated WBO champ, but his fight resume is unimpressive for a world title holder. He defeated a lackluster Andy Lee in 2015 for the title and has since defended his belt against two little-known fighters, Artur Akavov and Willie Monroe Jr. Against Golovkin, he has very little chance.

Canelo Alvarez (49-1-2, 34 KOs) was lucky to escape with a draw in September and he’d open as the underdog in a rematch. However, the longer he can push back the date, the better his chances will be.