Has Golovkin replaced Mayweather as Boxing’s most popular star?
By Dan Ambrose: It has been four months since Floyd “Money” Mayweather Jr. wrapped up his career with a boring 12 round decision over a hopelessly over-matched and underwhelming Andre Berto, and it appears that Mayweather is not missed too much by boxing fans.
Mayweather’s spot as the sport’s biggest star appear to have been filled quite nicely by IBF/IBO/WBA middleweight champion Gennady “GGG” Golovkin (34-0, 31 KOs), the unbeaten Kazakhstan knockout artist with 21 consecutive KOs on his resume.
It was thought by some fans that Saul “Canelo” Alvarez (46-1-1, 32 KOs) would be the one that would move into Mayweather’s spot as the top star in boxing, but the fans just haven’t been won over by the 25-year-old Canelo for whatever reason. It could be that the fans are turned off by the catch-weight that Canelo fights at, or perhaps they do not like him because he appears to be so much heavier than his smaller opponents after he rehydrates for his fights.
Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. was another fighter that had a habit of putting on a lot of weight after he rehydrated for his fights, and many fans thought he was gaming the system by fighting in a division that was not meant for his body.
Mayweather has unwittingly endorsed Golovkin himself by frequently talking about him in the media and suggesting that light heavyweight Andre Ward come down in weight just to give the Kazahatan fighter his first loss. This is an ultimate sign of respect when you have a former superstar like Mayweather suggesting that a light heavyweight should move down in weight to face a small middleweight like Golovkin just in order to find someone that can finally beat him. We’re not seeing Mayweather saying that a light heavyweight like Sergey Kovalev should move down to middleweight just to give Canelo another loss, are we?
“You know, everybody keeps talking Triple-G, so I just started taking notice probably last year. If this guy Triple-G is so tough and so bad, you know, from what they say, then let him go up and fight Andre Ward,” Mayweather said to Fighthype.com. “These guys in boxing [media], not me, are rating this guy, Triple-G, super high. He’s good with a stationary target in front of him. When he’s fighting a guy that’s straight up and down with no special effects, is he good? Absolutely! But do I think that Triple-G can beat Andre Ward? Absolutely not! Easy pickings! It’s going to be very, very, very easy for Andre Ward.”
Do you see the respect Mayweather is giving Golovkin? Mayweather appears to respect Golovkin so much that he has to find a light heavyweight in Andre Ward in order to find someone that he feels can beat Golovkin. That tells me that Golovkin has been given the seal of approval by Mayweather as his replacement as the biggest star in the sport.
If Mayweather were talking this way about Canelo, Roman Gonzalez or Terence Crawford, you could say that he felt one of them were the guys that had replaced him as the No.1 star. Never the less, it seems clear to me that Golovkin is now the Number one fighter in boxing, because Mayweather has personally picked him out without admitting it.
Golovkin and his promoter Tom Loeffler of K2 Promotions are looking to fight WBO middleweight champion Billy Joe Saunders next in a unification fight for April. An offer has been made to Saunders’ management from Loeffler, and they’re presently considering whether to take the fight or not. Saunder is on vacation right now, but when he return, he’ll be sitting down with his promoter and discussing the fight with Golovkin.
— Gennady Golovkin (@GGGBoxing) December 31, 2015
If Golovkin can beat Saunders, he’ll have three of the four middleweight title belts in his possession. That will obviously help strengthen Golovkin’s position for the negotiations later this year with Canelo’s promoters at Golden Boy Promotions for another unification fight. Canelo has the WBC middleweight title that he just won off of Miguel Cotto in November. The only potential negative thing about the Canelo fight is whether he’ll insist on a catch-weight handicap of 155lbs before he’ll agree to fight Golovkin.
It’ll be interesting to see if the World Boxing Council changes their rules to allow Canelo to force a catch-weight on Golovkin and all future challengers to his belt. If the WBC does that, you can expect the other sanctioning bodies to fall in line eventually and change their rules as well to strengthen the position for champions to hold onto their belts with the help of catch-weights.