GGG’s priorities: Wade, Canelo-Khan winner & Saunders, says Loeffler
By Dan Ambrose: It looks like 51-year-old Bernard Hopkins has been designated as a very low possibility for a potential future opponent for IBF/IBO/WBA middleweight champion Gennady “GGG” Golovkin (34-0, 31 KOs) in 2016. According to Golovkin’s promoter Tom Loeffler, his main focus is his April 23 fight against his IBF mandatory challenger Dominic Wade (18-0, 12 KOs), and then the winner of the May 7 fight between WBC middleweight champion Saul “Canelo” Alvarez and Amir Khan, and then WBO 160lb champion Billy Joe Saunders.
If Golovkin can get past Wade, which would seem very likely, then he’ll look to fight the Canelo-Khan winner. Loeffler says the winner of that fight will be stripped of their WBC title by the World Boxing Council if they refuse to face GGG.
At that point, Golovkin will be the new WBC middleweight champion and he’ll look to face WBO champion Billy Joe Saunders in a unification fight.
“I was clear in my statement. GGG is completely focused on the Wade fight in April and the priority is the winner of the Canelo-Khan fight, as ordered by the WBC, if GGG is successful against Wade,” Loeffler said to RingTV.com. “If they don’t fight and the WBC strips the title (from Canelo, then the next priority is Billy Joe Saunders for the WBO unification fight. I was just complimenting Bernard for the courage he shows to fight GGG when the other champions or top middleweight fighters do not show the same excitement to fight GGG.”
As you can see, Hopkins is not a priority at all and isn’t even being considered at all for an opponent for Golovkin. The only thing Loeffler has for Hopkins is a nice compliment about his courage. It’s kind of an empty gesture that means nothing because Hopkins wants a fight with Golovkin obviously, and a compliment does nothing for him. Hopkins is in a situation where he can’t really afford to play it safe like fighters like Canelo or Saunders, because he’s 51-years-old and hasn’t fought since late 2014. I’m sure if Canelo and Saunders were 51 and in the same boat as Hopkins, they would gladly accept a fight against Golovkin just for the payday.
With Canelo and Saunders both being very young, they can afford to pick and choose weaker opposition while ignoring a dangerous fighter like Golovkin. I don’t think Canelo is going to ignore Golovkin if he gets past Khan. I think Canelo will offer Golovkin the fight at 155 in a take it or leave it manner, and if he turns down the fight at that weight, Canelo will announce to the world that he tried to make the fight but Golovkin wouldn’t accept his conditions. At that point the WBC will either let Canelo slide in terms of his catch-weight demands or they’ll strip him of his strap with great sadness. I have a feeling that the WBC will vote in block to let Canelo keep his WBC title.
Loeffler may have no choice but to set Golovkin up with a fight against Hopkins later this year, because I don’t think Canelo or Saunders are going to agree to fight him in 2016. I think they’re going to wait him out until he starts graying up top before they fight him. Golovkin will be turning 34 in two months from now on April 8. That’s no spring chicken. If Canelo and Saunders wait him out for another two or three years, they’ll really be doing well.