The long and winding road to the mandatory and much-anticipated fight between unified middleweight titleholder Gennady Golovkin and secondary titlist Daniel Jacobs is coming to an end.
The WBA on Wednesday sent a letter to both camps to tell them that they had seven more days to make a deal. If a deal is not reached, the WBA said it would call for a purse bid for the fight, meaning it would go to an auction. The promoter with the highest offer would gain promotional control of the bout.
"I'm still in discussions with [Jacobs adviser] Al [Haymon] trying to finalize the details of the fight, but the WBA sent us a notice [on Wednesday] saying that the contracts have to be submitted within seven days or they will call the purse bid," Golovkin promoter Tom Loeffler of K2 Promotions told ESPN on Thursday.
The WBA had held off on issuing a deadline before calling a purse bid, hoping the camps would iron out a deal. But the talks have dragged on for months, even before both fighters defended their belts in one day apart in September.
In his fourth defense, Jacobs (32-1, 29 KOs) knocked out Sergio Mora in the seventh round of their rematch Sept. 9. Golovkin (36-0, 33 KOs) stopped Kell Brook in the fifth round Sept. 10 to retain his title for the 17th time. The knockout was Golovkin's 23rd in a row.
Loeffler declined to say why there was a delay in making a deal, but his reputation is as a deal-maker. For example, he and Brook promoter Eddie Hearn of Matchroom Boxing made the Golovkin-Brook deal in about two days.
The talks for Golovkin-Jacobs have dragged on for three months, although Haymon typically goes to the bitter end to make a deal. Relative to major fights, though, this one is not complicated, given that it is a non-pay-per-view mandatory bout.
Should they make a deal, Golovkin-Jacobs is ticketed for HBO on March 18 at Madison Square Garden in New York, provided the promoters can secure an insurance policy for the event in the wake of the state's new and more stringent insurance laws covering boxing.
Golovkin, 34, is a big draw in New York, having sold out Madison Square Garden for his October 2015 title unification fight against David Lemieux.
Jacobs, 29, is from Brooklyn.
If Loeffler and Haymon do not make a deal and the WBA orders the purse bid, Loeffler said it would probably come within two weeks of the order.
"Usually, they give you 10 days' notice," he said. "That's the standard, but depending on everyone's schedule it could be something like 12 days or 14 days."
Loeffler said he remained confident he and Haymon would strike a deal. They were able to make a deal for Golovkin's mandatory defense against Haymon client Dominic Wade, whom GGG knocked out in the second round on April 23.
"I think it's always been likely we'll get a deal done," Loeffler said. "Every discussion I've had with Al has been that Jacobs wants the fight and that it's a matter of finalizing the deal points, which is what we're working on now."
Should the fight go to a purse bid, Golovkin is entitled to 75 percent of the winning bid, with the remaining 25 percent going to Jacobs. Loeffler has said all along that their side is open to giving Jacobs more than 25 percent, but not the 40 percent he was seeking.
The fight was originally penciled in for Dec. 10, but when Loeffler and Haymon were unable to make a timely deal they moved off the date and decided to aim for the first quarter of 2017.