Unified middleweight world champion Gennady Golovkin secured his date and venue from the Nevada State Athletic Commission on Thursday. What he does not yet have is an opponent.
The Nevada commission approved GGG Promotions' request to promote a Golovkin fight on May 5 at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, as it had been expected to do.
The commission's meeting for the express purpose of approving Golovkin's request was necessary because on Tuesday Canelo Alvarez, facing an extended drug suspension, withdrew from their highly anticipated rematch scheduled for the same date at the T-Mobile Arena, a much larger arena down the street from the MGM Grand.
Golovkin (37-0-1, 33 KOs), 35, plans to keep the date and fight another opponent. But with only one month until the fight, Golovkin promoter Tom Loeffler is under extreme pressure to get a new fight done quickly and it has proved difficult.
Terms had been agreed to for Golovkin to face junior middleweight prospect Jaime Munguia (28-0, 24 KOs), 21, a quality prospect from Mexico, multiple sources with knowledge of the discussions told ESPN on Wednesday.
However, because Munguia has faced extremely low-level opposition, has never had a scheduled 12-round fight and is not a middleweight it was questionable whether the commission would approve him as an opponent. On Thursday, sources told ESPN that the commission was not going to approve him.
The major reason Munguia was considered to replace Canelo was because he is Mexican and the fight is scheduled to take place on Cinco de Mayo.
Another potential opponent, fringe contender Gary "Spike" O'Sullivan (27-2, 19 KOs), 33, of Ireland, is anxious for the fight.
"My job as a professional boxer is to say yes to fights and to make sure I'm ready for them," O'Sullivan said. "After that it goes to the people who negotiate the deals to make fights possible. I've said yes to fighting GGG, I've been training nonstop since my last fight and now I'm waiting to see if it can be agreed, just like you. I trust my team to do what's right for me, one way or the other."
Eric Gomez, the president of Golden Boy Promotions, O'Sullivan's co-promoter, said he has been talking to Loeffler about O'Sullivan getting the fight.
"Tom called to see if he was available and we said yes," Gomez said.
Middleweight contender Demetrius Andrade (25-0, 16 KOs), a former two-time junior middleweight titlist, also continued his campaign to get the shot at GGG on Thursday.
"I am in the gym, and if Gennady does the right thing and chooses the best available fighter, and that is me, he and his team should know that I am ready to fight him for his middleweight titles on May 5th," said Andrade, 30, a southpaw from Providence, Rhode Island.
"I have been working extra hard in the gym to prepare myself for May 5th. ... I think Gennady knows that I am the best option right now. Based on all the comments about all of the names out there, this is the fight that the fans prefer."
One opponent Golovkin's team has shown no interest in signing for the fight is Brooklyn, New York-based contender Sergiy Derevyanchenko (12-0, 10 KOs), 32, a 2008 Olympian from Ukraine who is one of Golovkin's mandatory challengers.
However, Derevyanchenko's co-promoter, Lou DiBella, is petitioning the IBF to order the mandatory fight immediately.
The WBC, WBA and IBF have an agreement in place that if there is a unified titleholder they use a rotation system to determine which organization's mandatory is up next.
The Golovkin-Alvarez rematch would have satisfied the WBC's mandatory obligation. With Alvarez out of the fight, DiBella's argument is that Golovkin should not be permitted an optional defense and that Derevyanchenko should be up next since the IBF is next up under the rotation agreement.
"In light of (Golovkin-Alvarez II) being canceled, the WBC mandatory must be considered satisfied. Therefore, the IBF mandatory is due immediately and Mr. Golovkin should stand to lose his IBF title if his next bout is not versus Mr. Derevyanchenko," Alex Dombroff, DiBella's attorney, wrote to the IBF on Wednesday.
Dombroff went on to write, "As has always been discussed, Mr. Golovkin's mandatory in the IBF would be due in the rotation system after his WBC mandatory was satisfied. At this moment, the WBC's mandatory has been satisfied and expedited negotiations should begin for a bout immediately between Mr. Golovkin and Mr. Derevyanchenko. By immediately ordering that Mr. Golovkin satisfy his mandatory obligation by fighting Mr. Derevyanchenko, the IBF will not just be making the proper decision pursuant to its rules, but also shall ensure that its title and the boxers in its ratings are not held hostage. We have already contacted Mr. Loeffler and made clear our willingness to complete a deal in short order on reasonable terms with GGG Promotions for Mr. Golovkin's next bout."
Alvarez faces an April 18 hearing, where it is a virtual certainty that the commission will extend his temporary suspension for twice testing positive for the banned performance-enhancing drug clenbuterol in random urine tests in his hometown of Guadalajara, Mexico, on Feb. 17 and Feb. 20.
Alvarez (49-1-2, 34 KOs), 27, claimed the positive tests are from eating contaminated beef in his home country, but whether he ingested the substance by accident or on purpose, he broke commission rules and likely will be suspended for at least a year -- though it could be reduced to six months.