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19th Apr 2018

Why everyone’s giving out about new Gennady Golovkin fight

Instead of the Canelo rematch, we get this?

Ben Kiely

Gennady Golovkin vs Canelo Alvarez II is on hold for the time being

On Cinco de Mayo, the boxing world was supposed to enjoy the sequel to Gennady Golovkin vs Canelo Alvarez at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas. This was set to be a rematch of their instant classic in 2017 which ended in a controversial split draw.

However, the Mexican superstar withdrew from the bout after failing two positive tests in February for the banned substance clenbuterol. This forced Team Golovkin to go on the hunt for a new opponent. Cork boxer Gary ‘Spike’ O’Sullivan was linked with stepping in to fight the Kazakh, but instead, they opted to go for Vanes Martirosyan.

The opponent change also resulted in a new location. The undefeated WBA, WBC and IBF middleweight champion will now defend his titles against Martirosyan on the same date at the StubHub Center in Carson, California. Despite a Golovkin fight being salvaged, a lot of people have problems with the replacement bout.

Gennady Golovkin

Why the hate?

If your initial reaction is, ‘who the hell is that guy?’ we can assure you, you’re not alone.

Martirosyan is a good boxer. He represented USA at the Olympics and twice challenged for world championship titles as a professional. However, he lost on points both times to Demetrius Andrade and Erislandy Lara respectively.

One of the problems is, both those title fights were at 154 lbs. Martirosyan is not a natural middleweight and will be moving up on short notice to fight the world’s best at that weight class.

To make matters worse, he is coming off a loss. The last time he fought, he was losing his world title challenge to Lara in 2016. This means he will have been inactive just shy of two years until he takes on Golovkin.

It’s a low-risk fight for Golovkin, but by taking it, he does risk being stripped his IBF title by failing to fight mandatory challenger Sergiy Derevyanchenko.

It’s not all doom and gloom though. There is good news. The Nevada Athletic Commission voted unanimously to issue Canelo a reduced six-month suspension. This will be retroactive to his first positive test on 17 February, meaning the path is clear to have the rematch everyone wants to see on Mexican Independence Day weekend in September.