Since Canelo Alvarez refuses to fight unified middleweight titleholder Gennady Golovkin next, instead eyeing September 2017 for boxing's biggest bout, the next best fight in the division is GGG against secondary titleholder and mandatory challenger Daniel Jacobs.
One man who wants to see the fight happen is Abel Sanchez, the 2015 Boxing Writers Association of America Trainer of the Year and Golovkin's longtime trainer.
"I hope the Jacobs fight gets made. We want that fight," Sanchez told ESPN.com on Wednesday. "I think Danny has been quiet and patient, and now that the WBA has ordered the fight, he's talking. He has a lot of talent."
Indeed, the fight was ordered recently by the sanctioning organization, and the sides have until the middle of October to make a deal or a purse bid will be ordered. But that might not be necessary because K2 Promotions managing director Tom Loeffler and Jacobs adviser Al Haymon have been negotiating the fight. If it is made, it would take place Dec. 10 on HBO at a venue in New York, where Golovkin has sold out Madison Square Garden and where Brooklyn's Jacobs has drawn crowds to Barclays Center.
A deal would require Haymon to send Jacobs, who is associated with Premier Boxing Champions, to HBO, but it appears likely to happen. Haymon and Loeffler are able to work together -- as they did on GGG-Dominic Wade in April -- and Haymon would probably love to get Jacobs a big payday without having to use a PBC slot for him, since he has so few dates this fall and dozens of fighters in need of a fight before the end of the year.
Sanchez noted that even though Jacobs suffered a harsh fifth-round knockout loss to Dmitry Pirog in a vacant world-title bout in 2010, he has won eight fights in a row since then, all by knockout, and beaten cancer while rising near the top of the 160-pound weight class.
"The fact that this kid beat cancer, how is Golovkin going to scare him? That's a guy who really believes there is nothing he can't handle," Sanchez said. "Golovkin understands that Danny Jacobs would be coming at him with that kind of mentality. Our job is just to make sure that with all of Gennady's success, that he doesn't get complacent. We've all seen that happen to some fighters when they achieve a certain amount of success, and it is important that doesn't become us.
"A fight with Jacobs would definitely motivate Gennady. I think it's a great fight to sell. It's a great fight for the fans. It would be a great fight, and it's an opportunity for a great story in Danny. He's the second-best middleweight in the world right now, and he's on a roll. He has had some dramatic knockouts, and in his mind, he believes he can win. We're not just saying that to promote the fight. People know this guy is legitimate."
Golovkin (36-0, 33 KOs) and Jacobs (32-1, 29 KOs) are on the same schedule, so Dec. 10 works for both of them.
Jacobs retained his belt for the fourth time by knocking out Sergio Mora in the seventh round of their rematch on Sept. 9 at Santander Arena in Reading, Pennsylvania. The following day Golovkin retained his title for the 17th time and notched his 23rd knockout in a row by stopping Kell Brook in the fifth round at the O2 Arena in London.
"I hope the fight gets made," Sanchez said. "I know Tom is working on it diligently."