Being Gennady Golovkin has its perks.
For one, the 31-year-old Kazakh is the WBA middleweight champion, one of the fastest rising stars in the boxing, and perhaps best of all, he’ll never have to gaze across the ring and realize he’s fighting Golovkin.
But it also has its problems.
And the biggest one, thus far, has been that nobody else seems in a hurry to fight him either.
That is, until now.
Golovkin, per BoxingScene, could be headed toward a summer showdown with former WBC middleweight champion Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. The fight, which had been proposed for July 12 but moved to July 19 on HBO pay-per-view, would take place at The Forum in Los Angeles and be contested at 168 pounds.
That would require Golovkin—who hasn’t fought above 160 pounds since 2008—to move up in weight, but it’s well worth the risk. This could be the type of fight that moves him from the ranks of potential star to can’t-miss attraction.
Chavez Jr., for all his well-documented flaws as a fighter, is still a highly credible opponent who, if motivated, is extremely dangerous.
Even in his worst performance as a professional—a lopsided unanimous decision defeat against Sergio Martinez in September 2012—he proved that he has the punching power to nearly pull victory from certain impending defeat.
After embarrassingly dropping the preceding 11 rounds, and first 90 seconds or so of the final frame, Chavez Jr. suddenly came alive, dropping Martinez, badly injuring him and nearly stopping him for a stunning come-from-behind victory.
He wasn’t able to finish the job, but he made his point.
The problems, though, continued to mount for him after the Martinez loss. He subsequently tested positive for marijuana, was suspended and returned to the ring against the tough but journeyman-like Brian Vera last September.
Chavez Jr. struggled mightily in that fight, after failing on multiple occasions to make the contracted weight for the bout and having to raise it as late as fight week.
Failure to make weight in the proposed fight with Golovkin would be a risky venture. Not just because the lack of conditioning would make him more vulnerable to the Kazakh’s crunching power, but because Chavez would also lose a substantial chunk of change from his wallet should he miss weight.
Both sides have agreed, per RingTV.com's Lem Satterfield, that if either fighter misses weight, they will incur a penalty of—cue the Dr. Evil voice—$1 million. That’s some pretty serious cash, and it shouldn’t be a problem for Golovkin.
He’s coming up in weight.
Chavez Jr. is the one with the history of being all over the map when it comes to his weight.
Against Vera, he got a gift unanimous decision victory—that he didn’t earn—the beneficiary of scorecards so putrid that they boggle the mind.
But he rebounded well, with no weight issues, to thoroughly bludgeon Vera in March, setting the record straight and rebuilding his star to a certain degree.
Now, before you get all up in a tizzy about overrating one performance in order to use him as a stepping stone for Golovkin, consider this much at least.
Nobody, at least among those at or near the top level of the middleweight division, has shown any sort of willingness to step in there with Golovkin. Now it’s true, boxing is a business, and he’s—at least right now—the type of opponent you consider high risk and low reward.
Sergio Martinez—the recognized 160-pound champion—instead opted for a more financially lucrative, and less physically threatening, showdown with former multiweight world champion Miguel Cotto.
Felix Sturm, the veteran IBF champion, hasn’t left Germany for a fight since he was robbed against Oscar De La Hoya in Las Vegas back in 2004. That’s a fight that likely won’t happen, and even if it did, is Sturm a bigger name stateside than Chavez Jr.?
Peter Quillin, the exciting WBO champion, would make an intriguing matchup, given his power, but he fights on the Showtime/Golden Boy Promotions side of the network fence. So that ends discussion of that fight.
Is there really a fight out there that is both possible and better for Golovkin than Chavez Jr.?
Would he really prove as much—and gain as much—by beating someone like Andy Lee?
Lee is a solid pro, but he was stopped by Chavez Jr. in seven rounds and hasn’t beaten an opponent of any consequence since. He was originally scheduled to face Golovkin in April, but the fight was scrapped after the champion’s father passed away.
Golovkin, observing the traditional Kazakh mourning period after a death, would not have been able to have a full training camp for the fight, and so, it was cancelled.
But is that the type of fight that makes you a star?
It’s not. And what else is in the cupboard?
Sure, the “Real Deal” from Australia is a name and a former world champion. But he had his shot at this fight and turned it down, citing the lack of television coverage in his home nation.
That said, even if he were available and ready to fight, would that fight do more to enhance Golovkin’s stock—both in terms of his boxing and business standing—than going up in weight to face one of the more recognizable fighters, with one of the most famous last names in the sport?
This fight is a no-brainer for Golovkin. It makes sense in every possible way.
Chavez Jr. is a name, he’s threatening and he still carries a ton of weight as an opponent. He’s clearly better than anyone else out there right now who is both available and possible.
With the pickings this slim, this is just the type of fight that Golovkin needs.