Don't feel bad for Daniel Geale, who was stripped by the WBA of his middleweight "super" title at the organization's annual convention this week in Jakarta, Indonesia. If anything, feel good about it because it means the WBA can, for the time being at least, suck only one sanctioning fee out of the 160-pound division because it now is down to only one titleholder, Gennady Golovkin.
Geale and Felix Sturm went into their unification bout in September knowing full well that the winner was obligated to fight Golovkin, at the time the "regular" titlist, in his next fight.
Sturm already had put off the fight multiple times, and the Golovkin camp wasn't going to put up with any more delays. So when Geale won the belt to go along with his IBF title, he knew the deal: Fight Golovkin next, or bye-bye, WBA strap.
Now, I don't blame Geale one iota for electing to defend his IBF belt against Anthony Mundine, which is the fight on the board for him in January. Both hail from Australia, and it's a big-deal rematch there because it was Mundine who handed Geale his only loss, in 2009.
No, Geale is not ducking Golovkin, as some have suggested. It's simply a matter of economics. At the moment, fighting Mundine is far more lucrative than fighting Golovkin.
"Whilst I enjoyed unifying titles and being crowned the WBA super champion, it has become ultimately clear to me that it is impossible to keep all the belts," Geale said. "I am aware of my mandatory obligations. However, I felt that the challenge from Anthony Mundine was an opportunity to settle the score once and for all, and I want to thank the IBF for granting me the exception that creates a fight which will please all Australian boxing fans. As I proudly remain the IBF world champion, I wish the WBA and whoever they crown the same short-lived pleasure, as I will be coming to reclaim what is rightfully mine."
Geale-Golovkin was due by Dec. 31, and with a January fight against Mundine set, that fight wasn't going to happen before the deadline. So now Golovkin is the WBA's only titleholder at 160 pounds, for now, anyway.
"We don't blame Geale and his team for taking a safer fight," said K2 promoter Tom Loeffler, who promotes Golovkin. "However, they knew the obligations they would have prior to the Sturm fight. Geale is still IBF champion, and if he continues to win, this might be a great unification fight in the future."
Loeffler's position on Geale taking the safer fight is disingenuous. He knows well that Geale (28-1, 25 KOs) will make a lot more money by facing Mundine (44-4, 26 KOs) instead of Golovkin. If Golovkin (24-0, 21 KOs) were in the same position, Loeffler would have him take the more lucrative fight, too, and he knows it.
One thing Loeffler is right about, however, is that a Geale-Golovkin fight down the road would be a fine match.
While Geale and Mundine will tangle on a January date to be determined, Golovkin likely will be back in action Jan. 19 on HBO at the Theater at Madison Square Garden in New York.
K2 already has the building reserved and the date from the New York State Athletic Commission, from what I am told.
No opponent is set, but two names are under discussion: super middleweight contenders Thomas Oosthuizen (20-0-1, 13 KOs) and Edwin Rodriguez (22-0, 15 KOs), both of whom are promoted by Lou DiBella. South Africa's Oosthuizen, a 6-foot-4 handful of a southpaw, would have to get through a Nov. 10 fight against Fulgencio Zuniga to stay in the running.
If Golovkin faces either of them, they would meet at a catchweight of about 165 pounds.