The representatives for unified middleweight world champion Gennady Golovkin and Canelo Alvarez plan to begin discussions this week for a rematch, both camps told ESPN on Tuesday.
After nearly two years of public desire to see the fight, Golovkin and Alvarez finally met in the year's most important bout on Saturday night at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, and they went to battle for 12 hard rounds. It was a thrilling fight that was ruled a split draw, though most thought Golovkin deserved the decision.
Talk of an immediate rematch began at the postfight news conference, where much of the conversation centered on the head-scratching scorecard turned in by judge Adalaide Byrd, who inexplicably scored the fight 118-110 in favor of Alvarez, who himself said he didn't think he won 10 rounds.
Dave Moretti scored it 115-113 for Golovkin, a common score at ringside. Judge Don Trella had it 114-114, but a close look at his card showed that he ruled the seventh round for Alvarez when Golovkin had perhaps his most dominant round of the fight. Even Byrd scored that round for Golovkin. Had Trella given the seventh round to Golovkin, he would have won a split decision.
Alvarez has the contractual right to a rematch in the event he was not declared the winner of the bout, and Golden Boy Promotions president Eric Gomez said a sequel is the fight they want to do next.
Gomez said they have three weeks to formally exercise the rematch option, but the sides will begin talking well before that.
"I had conversations with [Golden Boy CEO] Oscar [De La Hoya] on Sunday and Monday, and we feel that's the best thing to do, to go straight into a rematch," Gomez said.
He also spoke to Golovkin promoter Tom Loeffler, who also wants to pursue a second fight.
"I spoke to Tom a few times, and he's certainly open to it after taking to his side, so we agreed to sit down later this week and start discussing it," Gomez said.
"Obviously, we're going to give Canelo some time off and we'll start talking to him as well. Immediately after the fight everybody was open to a rematch. I feel it was such a great fight it deserves a rematch, even besides it being such a close fight."
The rematch clause spells out some of the terms of a second fight, but Gomez said there are still things to discuss and negotiate with Golovkin's side.
"Regardless of what the contract says, everybody is interested in the rematch, so it's just a matter of us sitting down and talking," he said.
A rematch also makes sense because it is, by far, the biggest fight either boxer can make.
Financially, Saturday's fight was a huge hit. The arena was sold out and it generated the third-biggest gate ever, around $30 million, according to Golden Boy. Official gate numbers should be released by the Nevada State Athletic Commission next week. HBO officials, who produced and distributed the fight on HBO PPV, are bullish on the fight's chances to crack the hallowed 2 million barrier in sales, which would put it in the five top pay-per-view fights of all time.
"Fans are demanding the rematch," Loeffler said. "They want a clear winner, which we thought was GGG. But I think Gennady and Canelo owe the fans the rematch and, frankly, for the sport of boxing to right to the bad decision we saw last Saturday. So I'll sit down with Eric. We had a preliminary conversation to touch base, and HBO definitely thinks we need to do an immediate rematch. They feel the event is red hot and everybody is talking about it. With the ticket sales and the projected numbers for the pay-per-view, and also how great of a fight it was, they all make it obvious to do a rematch.
"We are definitely open to it. It's owed to the fans and owed to the sport that the rematch should happen."
Mexico's Alvarez (49-1-2, 34 KOs), 27, said he has no plans to fight until May 5 -- Cinco de Mayo, a traditional date for a big fight involving a Mexican. Loeffler said as long as they can work out a deal, that date works for the Golovkin side.
"The priority for Gennady is to do the rematch," Loeffler said. "It's the biggest fight still in the sport of boxing and the biggest fight for both guys. We will sit down with Golden Boy and see if we can make that happen and we wouldn't let a different fight get in the way."
If a rematch deal can't be settled quickly, Loeffler said there's a chance Golovkin could return in December, perhaps to defend against superstar Miguel Cotto, who plans to fight on Dec. 2 and then retire.
Cotto is also promoted by Golden Boy.
"If we can make the rematch for May, Gennady would wait for the rematch in May," Loeffler said. "If Canelo won't commit to the rematch in May, then we can't wait on Canelo and we would take a different fight before that. But clearly there's no reason to talk about a different fight yet if we can make the rematch with Canelo in May."
Gomez said he hopes they can wrap up a rematch quickly. If not, he acknowledged that Golovkin (37-0-1, 33 KOs), 35, a Kazakhstan native fighting out of Santa Monica, California, has the right to take an interim bout.
"There's no problem with that, but I would rather we do the rematch directly because I would hate for him take another fight and get injured or lose. It's too risky," Gomez said. "I would be against it, but I don't control it. But, that said, based on my conversations with Tom, they would like to do an immediate rematch. I think the fight merits a rematch and we'll see if it gets done."
Golovkin defended his middleweight title for the 19th consecutive time, which is one away from tying the division record set by Bernard Hopkins, a Golden Boy Promotions partner, in 2006.
Said Loeffler: "That just adds to an additional aspect to the rematch."