Amidst a sea of anger and confusion at T-Mobile Arena n September 16, Gennady Golovkin and Canelo Alvarez engaged in war for 36 minutes. But those 36 minutes were not enough to create a definitive winner in the contest so many people have been wanting to see.
With the fight ending in a draw, the whole world seems to be clamoring for a rematch and both Canelo and GGG have stated in post-fight interviews that they would be open to a rematch. But these types of things rarely go over smoothly in boxing. Boxers' egos, behind-the-scenes politics and promoters' own agenda often delay a big fight that fans are craving, so it's safe to assume that we're likely not getting a rematch sometime in 2017. To that, both Canelo and Golovkin have to explore other avenues and pursue other fights while all parties involved can come to an agreement for a rematch.
Below are just some of the potential routes each boxer could take for their next fight.
Billy Joe Saunders: Saunders has been calling out Golovkin for a long time to get a fight happening. As the holder of the WBO middleweight title, Saunders is the last piece of the puzzle before Golovkin can call himself the undisputed middleweight champion. Golovkin has said numerous times that he wants to hold all four belts, but he doesn't seem to be trying to get that fight. Golovkin vs. Saunders would be a major fight in the United Kingdom, and it would be one of the biggest boxing fights in the region for 2017. That's saying a lot.
Any chance of the fight being made any time soon would have to come from Golovkin's camp. Saunders and promoter Frank Warren have done everything to get Golovkin to say yes to the fight, including a faux pas ultimatum a few months ago. Saunders didn't really impress many with his two wins against Artur Akavov and most recently, against Willie Monroe Jr., so selling that fight to the American boxing community is not exactly an easy task.
Miguel Cotto: Golovkin vs. Cotto is an interesting fight and one that neither party would object to. It has always been Cotto's mission this year to have one final big match before he rides off into the sunset and call it a career. Fighting Yoshihiro Kamegai for the vacant WBO junior middleweight title on the same night Floyd Mayweather and Conor McGregor fought is not what Cotto had in mind. Cotto looked really good against Kamegai and his sudden end-of-career resurgence is almost similar to when Cotto hired Freddie Roach as his trainer and beat Sergio Martinez. A fight between these two would be an extremely enticing fight for boxing fans and this being Cotto's last fight, this would be the only fight outside of a Canelo rematch that would sell a decent amount on pay-per-view.
Jermall Charlo: Charlo won the right to challenge for Golovkin’s WBC title when he decimated Jorge Sebastian Heiland in a title eliminator back in July. That fight was Charlo’s middleweight debut and he looked right at home competing at 160-pounds. Charlo is not necessarily in any hurry to fight for the title, nor the WBC for that matter. But if Golovkin doesn't get his rematch against Canelo any time soon, then Charlo is on that short list of fighters ready to fight GGG. Even though Golovkin holds three titles, Charlo is the only boxer among the WBC, WBA and IBF to have any sort of mandatory challenger status.
Golovkin vs. Charlo should be an action-packed fight, as most GGG fights are, but Charlo is not a boxer that is on Canelo's level, however. Charlo will bring the fight to Golovkin and although he would fare better than Kell Brook or Dominic Wade, it's still somewhat unlikely Charlo would somehow go the distance against GGG like how Daniel Jacobs or Canelo did this year. Speaking of Jacobs...
Daniel Jacobs: A rematch against Jacobs would be a pretty good treat for boxing fans. Their first encounter was an extremely close contest and it was good enough to warrant a rematch. The problem is having the fight on pay-per-view. Their first fight drew a small buyrate and HBO would be smart enough to just hold it on television, given how bad the Andre Ward vs. Sergey Kovalev rematch sold on pay-per-view.
Jacobs has been asking for a rematch since they fought in March, but it was unlikely a rematch was happening in 2017. Jacobs said a couple of months ago that he would be fighting on the October 14 Barclays Center card, but that's no longer on the table since he likely has not found a suitable opponent to headline the card. Instead, FOX and Showtime went in another direction, having FOX do a world title doubleheader in California that would lead into the Showtime telecast in Brooklyn. Golovkin could rematch Jacobs, but it would be because Golovkin has no other alternatives and couldn't secure a rematch with Canelo for his next bout.
Miguel Cotto: Canelo handily beat Cotto when the two fought in 2015, but Cotto thought he did well enough to warrant a rematch and has been saying he would like to fight the winner of the Canelo vs. Golovkin for his retirement fight. There are a number of boxers that have been issuing a challenge to Cotto, so one would think that a Canelo vs. Cotto rematch is unlikely, but with Cotto signing a short-term deal with Golden Boy Promotions, the same company that manages Canelo, there are essentially no real roadblocks in allowing that fight happen in December. Cotto has said that he wanted his last fight to take place either in Puerto Rico or in New York and while Puerto Rico is out of the question for a fight against Canelo, New York would make a lot of sense.
Cotto has been proven to draw extremely well in New York and this would be a great place to finish Cotto’s career. Canelo has never fought in New York and it would make sense for De La Hoya to further expand Canelo’s reach to the masses and hold the fight in Madison Square Garden, where Cotto has sold out against opponents with far less star power than Canelo. The only issue with MSG would be the date. Sources have said that Cotto wanted the fight sometime in early December, but Madison Square Garden is booked with a GLORY Kickboxing show on December 1 while December 9 has the Vasyl Lomachenko vs. Guillermo Rigondeaux ESPN fight. Waiting for those fights to finish and with the NBA’s New York Knicks’ MSG schedule, the only available dates for the fight would be December 23 and 30.
Billy Joe Saunders: Even though Saunders has had his eyes on Golovkin for several months, but has no luck in getting that fight. Saunders has held the WBO middleweight title since late 2015 and, as previously mentioned, is the last titleholder Golovkin needs to defeat in order to call himself the undisputed champion at 160 pounds. If the trend continues, Golovkin would still ignore Saunders like a guy getting rejected by the most popular girl in high school. Canelo could swoop in for a fight against Saunders. WBO regulations do state that a titleholder can challenge for the next weight’s WBO title by vacating his title and Canelo did hold the WBO junior middleweight title until earlier this year. Instead of fighting Saunders for the middleweight title, Canelo opted for Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. Even if the stipulation is no longer on the table for Canelo, WBO president Francisco Valcarcel is the type of guy that would be more than willing to make this type of fight happen.
The issue will be the selling for the fight. Canelo is no longer the type of fighter that can just fight any type of fighter. After fighting Golovkin, low-profile fights such ones he had against Liam Smith and James Kirkland would be detrimental to Canelo’s star power. Holding this fight in the United Kingdom would provide a great atmosphere similar to the Anthony Joshua vs. Wladimir Klitschko fight, but no matter where the fight is held, selling the fight for casual fans was and drawing in pay-per-view buys will be an incredibly large order. While the fight may not be great on paper, it could actually be a blessing in disguise.
Should Canelo challenge Saunders for the WBO title, and the near-unanimous train of thought from the boxing community is that Canelo would easily dispatch Saunders, and win it, it sets up Canelo vs. GGG 2 with all four titles on the line. That special stipulation would draw in even bigger attention to the rematch. This fight has a somewhat small chance of happening, but still large enough to warrant a look.
Daniel Jacobs/David Lemieux: This one might seem a little out of left field, but hear me out. Jacobs doesn't have an opponent yet and he has been clamoring for a big fight since losing to GGG in March. Jacobs and Canelo are in the top 5 of the WBA's official middleweight rankings and with the Ryota Murata vs. Hassan N'Dam rematch for the WBA "regular" title not happening for another month, the governing body could create an impromptu title eliminator between Jacobs and Canelo and the winner would fight GGG.
Lemieux is in a similar situation as Jacobs and the impromptu title eliminator can still be applied to the Canadian. He is the WBA's No. 4-ranked boxer at 160 pounds and Golovkin already dispatched him relatively easily when the fought in 2015. Regardless, either Lemieux or Jacobs should be a good enough fight that fans don't mind Canelo having while a rematch with Gennady Golovkin is official.
Canelo vs. GGG 2: Obviously, it’s the fight everyone wants to see and there is no bigger fight set up for boxing in 2018 than a rematch between these two. For boxing fans, the ideal time to hold this fight would be sometime between December and January, but I highly doubt that a rematch takes place so soon. Instead, we’ll have another drawn-out negotiations battle that will prevent the fight from taking place for a good while. At the earliest, I can see a rematch taking place on Cinco De Mayo weekend, which makes sense given the history of great Mexican fighters competing on that weekend (in fact, Canelo fought Amir Khan and Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. in the last two Cinco De Mayo weekends).
But having seen the way negotiations have been done in the past couple of years, it would be smart Canelo and promoter Oscar De La Hoya to hold off on the fight for as long as possible. Golovkin is 35 years old and even though the champion came into the fight in phenomenal shape and didn’t look exhausted throughout the fight, it could be a different story one year from now. We’ve seen it happen to fighters a lot in these types of rematches and it would only serve Canelo to wait until Golovkin ages a bit more and the wear-and-tear affects the champion. A rematch this time next year could go completely in Canelo’s favor.
The odds of the fight happening within the next six months are pretty low, but past those six months, starting with Cinco De Mayo weekend in 2018, you’ll see those odds increase.