Gennady Golovkin has had his fight on May 5 at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas approved by the Nevada State Athletic Commission (NSAC). But the man known as GGG has one problem: he still needs to find an opponent.
Golovkin, the middleweight world champion, was planning on fighting a rematch against Canelo Alvarez following their controversial split decision draw last year. But on Tuesday, Alvarez withdrew from the fight in the face of a likely suspension following his positive tests for clenbuterol.
�Given the current regulations in Nevada we have been advised, and it is unfortunate, that Canelo won�t be cleared to fight in May,� Golden Boy Promotions President Eric Gomez said during a press conference earlier this week. �We are hopeful this matter will be resolved and we are hoping Canelo will be cleared so we can reschedule the fight for August or September.�
Is Munguia a Viable Replacement?
That leaves GGG (37-0-1, 33 KOs) needing a credible replacement for Alvarez on relatively short notice. And while there�s no shortage of potential opponents around the world, finding a suitable fighter to take the match only one month out may prove challenging.
ESPN cited sources saying that terms had been agreed to for a fight with promising junior middleweight Jaime Munguia (28-0, 24 KOs). But there were questions about whether NSAC would approve him for the fight. While considered a good prospect, Munguia technically isn’t even a middleweight, arguably hasn’t faced any�world-class competition, and has never fought a 12-round fight.
Those issues appeared to scuttle the idea, with sources telling ESPN on Thursday that NSAC would not approve him. Munguia was seen by some as an ideal opponent because he is Mexican and the fight will be taking place on Cinco de Mayo.
Sizing Up Possibile Contenders
American middleweight Demetrius Andrade (25-0, 16 KOs) has also been lobbying for the fight. Andrade is considered a contender in the division, and has said that he is ready to step in if GGG wants to give him a shot.
�If Gennady does the right thing and chooses the best available fighter, and that is me,” Andrade said on Thursday. “He and his team should know that I am ready to fight him for his middleweight titles on May 5th.�
Another possibility could be to have Golovkin fight mandatory IBF challenger Sergiy Derevyanchenko (12-0, 10 KOs). While Golovkin�s team hasn�t shown any interest in setting up that fight, Derevyanchenko�s manager has suggested that he should get the shot since the IBF title is next in the rotation of mandatory title defenses.
Perhaps the most likely opponent is Gary �Spike� O�Sullivan (27-2, 19 KOs), an Irish middleweight who is considered a fringe contender. Golden Boy Promotions has confirmed that there have been talks with Golovkin�s team about the possibility of O�Sullivan getting the fight.
While GGG would be considered a heavy favorite against O�Sullivan – who is rated the 27th�best middleweight in the world according to analytics site BoxRec – Spike says he is ready to step into the ring.
�My job as a professional boxer is to say yes to fights and to make sure I�m ready for them,� O�Sullivan said in a statement. �I�ve said yes to fighting GGG, I�ve been training nonstop since my last fight and now I�m waiting to see if it can be agreed.�