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GGG could face Murata or Saunders-Andrade winner next

Image: GGG could face Murata or Saunders-Andrade winner next

By Dan Ambrose: Gennady Golovkin’s promoter Tom Loeffler says he wants to sit down with Golden Boy Promotions to try and set up a trilogy fight against Saul Canelo Alvarez, but if that fight proves to be undo-able then he’ll look at matching him against WBA ‘regular’ middleweight champion Ryota Murata or WBO champion Billy Joe Saunders.

Those fights, if they take place, won’t happen until 2019, since Golovkin will be taking the remainder of the year off to recover from his grueling fight with Canelo.

Murata (14-1, 11 KOs) has a title defense against Rob Brant (23-1, 16 KOs) on October 20. Murata, 32, isn’t a lock to win that fight. He’s already been beaten once by Hassan N’Dam, and second loss to Brant would’t be that surprising. There wouldn’t be much fan interest in a Golovkin vs. Murata fight in the U.S if Murata loses to Brant.

“They want to see a third fight. We’ll see what he wants to do,” Loeffler said to Ring Magazine about GGG’s next fight. “We need to see what Canelo wants to do. We hear he’s fighting at the end of the year. So I’ll sit down with Golden Boy at some point and see what he wants to do. I think the fans are going to demand a third fight. Whether both sides can agree to a third fight is a different story,” Loeffler said.

The boxing public isn’t demanding a third Canelo-GGG fight yet unfortunately. The general mood from the fans towards a third Canelo vs. Golovkin fight is ambivalence. The fans have lost trust in the results of their fights, and see them as professional wrestling affairs where a predetermined fighter wins based on his marketability. Some boxing fans are gluttons for punishment. Those are the ones that want to see a third fight between Canelo and GGG, but unfortunately a good portion of the remaining fans have lost trust in seeing them face each other ever again. At this point, it might be better for Canelo and GGG to go their separate ways. Let other fighters try their hand at fighting Canelo and dealing with the judging that comes with his fights. Austin Trout, Erislandy Lara and now GGG have found out what happens when they tried beating the highly popular Canelo.

If Golovkin can’t get a knockout of of Canelo, it might prove impossible for him to ever get a decision win over him. If GGG is just interested in the payday, it would be better for him to go after an opponent where he has a better chance of beating if he fails to KO them. The boxing public likely won’t tolerate a third fight between Canelo and GGG after the first two disappointments. The Canelo-GGG rivalry will surely get diminishing returns from this point going forward. If Golden Boy and K2 Promotions are fine with fewer PPV buys than their first two fights, then they should go ahead and make the trilogy fight in 2019. I don’t think there’s going to be enough fan interest to make it a huge fight. If Canelo-GGG is staged in Las Vegas again, the boxing fans will likely stay away like the plague. It would be better to take the fight outside of the United States period and stick it in a far away place where fans aren’t jaded. Maybe the fans will trust the process if the Canelo vs. Golovkin 3 fight is staged in Kazakhstan, GGG’s home country.

“The biggest fights are at 160, whether it’s a trilogy with Canelo, whether it’s Murada fight or a Billy Joe Saunders fight. There are big fights at 160, so there’s no sense in moving out of the division,” Loeffler said.

GGG’s trainer Abel Sanchez says Alvarez should take the remainder of the year off as well to recover. Canelo is planning on returning to the ring on December 15 against possibly David Lemieux. That should be easy work for Alvarez, but if he’s depleted from his war with Golovkin, Lemieux might be able to plant him if he connects with one of his best shots.

Canelo and Golden Boy are likely going to let Golovkin age more before they setup a third fight against him. It’s thought that Canelo won’t fight GGG for the trilogy fight until September 2019 at the earliest.

“I could see a trilogy coming,” Abel Sanchez said to RingTV about GGG’s next fight. “I could see him fighting Murada or Saunders.”

A fight between Murata and GGG could take place in early 2019, but it will depend on whether Golden Boy wants to put off the Canelo-GGG3 fight until September 2019. If Golden Boy is in a hurry to take advantage of what level of interest is still there with the rivalry,

“I do believe it’s a good idea for both guys after this hard physical fight to take time off,” Sanchez said. “It wasn’t an easy fight. If you look at it from the business side, the trilogy is still the fight that needs to happen. I think the fans are clamoring for that.

Billy Joe Saunders has a title defense coming up against former junior middleweight champion Demetrius Andrade (25-0, 16 KOs) on October 20 on DAZN at TD Garden in Boston. Sanders might lose that fight. He already got a controversial decision over Artur Akavov in 2016. Saunders is good against slow guys with limited skills, but he’s very beatable. If Saunders loses to Andrade, it’s questionable whether GGG will bother fighting. Golovkin would be better off facing Murata if he doesn’t lose to Brant or going after the winner of the Daniel Jacobs vs. Sergiy Derevyanchenko.

It might not work out for GGG to face either of his backup options in Murata or Saunders. There’s a very good chance that both of them lose their next fights. But as long as Golovkin is flexible in being open to facing other opponents, he should be fine for his next fight in early 2019. Sanchez and Loeffler didn’t give a date for when Golovkin is going to be fighting in his first fight in 2019.

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