Promoters for Gennady Golovkin and Canelo Alvarez are back in discussions about boxing's ultimate showdown, following Golovkin's close unanimous decision victory against Daniel Jacobs to retain the unified middleweight world title on Saturday night at New York's Madison Square Garden.
Golovkin-Alvarez looms as the biggest possible fight in boxing this side of a Floyd Mayweather-Conor McGregor sideshow, and the sides have been talking about the fight for more than a year while each man continues to rack up victories. But things are serious as they try to move toward a September HBO pay-per-view fight.
Tom Loeffler of K2 Promotions, which represents Golovkin, and Golden Boy Promotions president Eric Gomez, who handles Alvarez, resumed talks on Wednesday.
"We're just continuing discussions. Nothing is finalized," Loeffler told ESPN on Wednesday. "But from our side, there's no reason the fight shouldn't happen."
Of course, nothing can be finalized until Alvarez's fight with Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. takes place on May 6 (HBO PPV) at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas. Alvarez is a significant favorite in a match between Mexico's most popular active fighters on Cinco de Mayo weekend.
"Out of respect for Jacobs, and now out of respect to Chavez Jr., we somewhat have to wait; but one thing is, we're all for the fight," Golden Boy CEO Oscar De La Hoya told ESPN. "We want to make the fight and we want to make the fight for September, but Canelo has to win first."
One of the major sticking points to making a deal has been Golden Boy's desire to pay Golovkin a flat fee for his participation in the match, while Golovkin and Loffler want a percentage of the promotion.
De La Hoya has offered Golovkin $15 million but said he is taking that offer off the table and "thinking about doing a percentage split to get the fight done."
That would placate Golovkin and also shield De La Hoya from having to pay out $15 million, even if the fight does not perform as well as he hopes.
"I'm going to talk to Canelo about it on Friday and figure out the structure," De La Hoya said. "We have to look at today's market. I'm not sure what the numbers are for his fight [against Jacobs], but I hear they're low. For me to take a huge risk on a guarantee is absurd."
De La Hoya and Loeffler would still have to negotiate the split, but Loeffler has acknowledged that Golovkin (37-0, 33 KOs) would take the short end of the deal, since Alvarez (48-1-1, 34 KOs) is an established pay-per-view attraction that Golovkin is not yet.
"We always thought a percentage deal would make the most sense and be the most fair, and if they're willing to discuss that now, it makes a lot of sense," Loeffler said. "Hopefully, they think Gennady is getting old and had an off night against Jacobs, and maybe it will be easier to make a deal."
There is at least one fly in the ointment to making the deal, even if the parties work out a percentage split and Alvarez defeats Chavez (50-2-1, 32 KOs), whom Alvarez will fight at a catchweight of 164.5 pounds.
Golovkin has designs on a June 10 HBO fight in his native Kazakhstan in conjunction with World Expo 2017, a huge event for the country. There are millions of dollars being offered to bring Golovkin home to face England's Billy Joe Saunders (24-0, 12 KOs) in a title unification fight that would give the winner all four major belts.
Golovkin badly wants to unify all the belts, but De La Hoya said if Golovkin fights in June, it would kill a September bout with Alvarez.
"A June Golovkin fight would be a disrespect to everybody," De La Hoya said. "How serious do they want to make this fight happen? He could get cut, he could get dropped, he could get beat. You can hurt a hand. It would be too close to September and would not give us the proper time to promote a fight of this magnitude. The June fight would derail everything.
"How can we take a risk on him getting cut or hurt? We have sponsors who want to begin to promote the day after the Chavez fight."
Loeffler doesn't think a June fight should hamper making a September fight.
"We're just continuing discussions. Nothing is finalized. But from our side, there's no reason the fight shouldn't happen." K2 Promotions' Tom Loeffler
"I don't think that's relevant," Loeffler said. "We waited for Canelo last year, and it meant Gennady only fought twice. Kazakhstan really wants him to fight at home because it's World Expo 2017. We'll see. We'll continue negotiations with Golden Boy and see how it progresses. There are a lot of points that need to be addressed."
It could be that Loeffler is using the prospect of a June fight as a point of leverage and that for the right deal it would go away.
There are no final pay-per-view numbers yet for Golovkin-Jacobs, but Loeffler said, "They are tracking better than the [David] Lemieux fight, and any time you can improve, it's a positive."
In his pay-per-view debut, GGG knocked out Lemieux in a title unification fight in October 2015 at Madison Square Garden. The fight generated 153,000 pay-per-view buys, Loeffler said.
"We haven't gotten enough numbers back yet on the Jacobs fight, but we know it will be above 153,000," he said.
Loeffler also said he was pleased that the Jacobs fight nearly doubled the gate revenue of the Lemieux fight. He said the live gate for the Jacobs fight was about $3.7 million, and the Lemieux gate was about $2 million. Loeffler said the Jacobs fight, televised in more than 100 countries, also generated just shy of $1 million in international television revenue, the best total for a Golovkin fight thus far.
"Whenever you improve the pay-per-view numbers, nearly double the gate and beat the No. 2 fighter in the division -- and score a knockdown doing it -- that's a big statement," Loeffler said. "Some people might have been disappointed that Gennady's knockout streak is over [at 23 in a row], but he got the win, and he got another title defense [bringing him to 18, two shy of tying the division record].
"Hopefully, people will look at Gennady now as a regular human being and get the courage to get in the ring with him."
De La Hoya said Alvarez is ready, willing and able to fight him in September, as long as all goes well against Chavez.
"September -- that's the plan," De La Hoya said. "But the first thing is May 6. From what I hear, Chavez Jr. is looking phenomenal. He looks fit, and he's up in the mountains with his father [Julio Cesar Chavez Sr.] and [trainer] Nacho [Beristain]. This is Julio's opportunity.
"I watched the Golovkin-Jacobs fight and it was great. Daniel did terrific, and so there's another player at 160 pounds. The middleweight division is hot. But I thought Golovkin pulled it off. I thought Jacobs gave him too much respect in the first half of the fight. But Golovkin won and, hopefully, Canelo takes care of Chavez and we can make the fight."