FINDING A REPLACEMENT
Boxing: The 5 most likely guys to stand in for Canelo against GGG
The rematch between Canelo Alvarez and Gennady Golovkin is officially off. With two weeks to go until his hearing with the Nevada State Athletic Commission, Canelo officially withdrew from the megafight yesterday, ending whatever slim hope remained of getting the two in the ring on Cinco de Mayo. But the show must go on for GGG and his team. Just hours after the fight cancellation, Golovkin announced via twitter that he would still fight on May 5 in Las Vegas. GGG promoter Tom Loeffler has told reporters that the bout will probably move to the smaller MGM Grand Garden Arena across the street from the T-Mobile Center, scheduled site of Canelo/Golovkin 2. But who will Golovkin fight with just a month’s worth of notice? Let’s take a look at some of the likely candidates.
26-0, 20 KO
Why it should happen: Though not the big name Alvarez brings, most boxing purists believe Charlo brings the toughest test at middleweight to Golovkin outside of Canelo. This brash Houston native is a big talker in person and online. Jermall, along with his twin brother Jermell, have developed a wrestling heel like personna that would be easy to promote, even on short notice. Charlo made a name for himself at junior middleweight, where he won the IBF championship in 2016. He’s looked even better after moving up to middleweight, knocking out both challengers he’s faced. Charlo is WBC interim middleweight champion, so this fight would fill a mandatory defense necessary for Golovkin. Charlo is scheduled to fight a mandatory defense of his interim belt on April 21, so he should be in shape and ready to go; all he would need to do is withdraw from that fight.
Why it may not happen: Charlo is represented by boxing advisor Al Haymon, who does most of his work with Showtime. Golovkin fights exclusively on HBO and this fight has been promoted by HBO, having been scheduled for HBO pay per view. Haymon has occasionally done business with HBO fighters, but the negotiations usually take longer to come together than the shortened timeframe the two sides will have to get this fight ready.
33-2, 29 KO
Why it should happen: Jacobs has only lost one fight since 2010, and it was to Golovkin. The two had a spirited bout March of last year in which Golovkin won by scores of 115-112 (twice) and 114-113. After surviving an early knockdown Jacobs took Golovkin into what were the deepest waters of his career. Jacobs has been clamoring for a rematch ever since. Jacobs is signed with HBO, so the framework for a deal would be easy to make.
Why it may not happen: Despite being close, the first Jacobs fight wasn’t particularly interesting. The two fought too many close rounds, but the style matchup wasn’t particularly fan-friendly and running this one back just doesn’t seem necessary.
BILLY JOE SAUNDERS
26-0, 12 KO
Why it should happen: The slick, 28 year old southpaw holds the WBO middleweight championship belt; the only major middleweight belt not in Golovkin’s possession.GGG has repeatedly says he wants “all the belts” and that seemed to be his main goal until the payday of the Canelo fights came calling. True unified champions are rare, and this would be a nice storyline to sell. Saunders looked dazzling in an absolute washing of David Lemieux in December, so he’s earned the bout. Saunders is also a big talker, so he may be able to sell a few pay-per-views on short notice.
Why it may not happen: Saunders was supposed to fight next weekend in England, but a hand injury postponed the fight til mid-June. It seems unlikely to me that Saunders would want to push up is fight date by six weeks when returning from a hand injury. Golovkin would also probably rather avoid a slick southpaw fighter after spending his entire training camp preparing for a right handed puncher. These two seem destined to fight eventually, but the timing just doesn’t seem right for May.
25-0, 16 KO
Why it should happen: Andrade is one of the most gifted boxers in the division. He has a history of knockouts, and his long, rangy style is difficult for opponents to crack. No one is more excited than Andrade about the process of replacing Canelo on the card; he’s discussed it extensively on twitter and with multiple boxing writers.
Why it may not happen: Though Andrade has big-time talent, no one outside of boxing diehards know who he is. His career has been horribly mismanaged by his promoters, and bouts of inactivity have killed all the momentum his big wins have had. Like Saunders he’s also a southpaw, which Golovkin would be best-served to avoid on short notice.
27-2 19 KO
Why it should happen: It shouldn’t. A fighter like O’Sullivan has no business being in the ring with Golovkin. But as soon as Canelo withdrew, Spike became the favorite leaked by boxing writers online. He’s a relative unknown and would gladly take the fight on short notice. He also is a brawler, which would create a fan-friendly style on television.
Why it may not happen: Selling a pay-per-view matchup in which the challenger has no quality wins in his career would be a marketing disaster. O’Sullivan has faced two notable fighters in his career in Chris Eubank and Billy Joe Saunders. He lost to Eubank by knockout and was nearly shutout by Saunders. No one in the United States knows O’Sullivan. Though Spike is moderately entertaining to watch, he’s essentially a homeless man’s version of Golovkin. GGG would end the fight in a hurry, leaving fans wondering why they spent $75 on such a one-sided matchup.