LAS VEGAS -- Even before middleweight champion Canelo Alvarez knocked Amir Khan out cold with a monstrous right hand in the sixth round Saturday night, the pressure was on him to face the fearsome Gennady Golovkin.
After the fight, in which Alvarez made a successful first defense of the title he won from Miguel Cotto six months ago, there was no escaping questions about Golovkin, who owns two world title belts as well as an interim one that makes him Alvarez's mandatory challenger.
"I'm willing to make [Golovkin] an offer," Alvarez said through a translator. "I'd be happy to not only fight him but also to beat him. If the fight happens, I'm happy to fight him. It's no problem."
Golden Boy Promotions CEO Oscar De La Hoya, who represents Alvarez and had previously been noncommittal about making a Golovkin fight, gave hope to those who want to see it so badly.
"Those negotiations will happen behind closed doors, and when we come to an agreement, we will let everyone know," De La Hoya said at the post-fight news conference. "That's the fight to make. [Sunday] I will make the call. I will start negotiating, and I really hope we can make an agreement.
"If that's the fight Canelo wants, I will get some well-deserved rest and when I wake up start making some phone calls. I've always said come May 8 we will start negotiating with Golovkin's people."
De La Hoya, however, made it clear who he says has the leverage in such talks.
"Canelo is the superstar. There's no doubt who the man is in boxing," De La Hoya said. "It's like a game of poker. I have four aces, and they probably have a pair of twos."
The only reason Alvarez faced Khan, who was moving up two weight classes, was because he and his team wanted to put the Golovkin fight off a bit longer. The camps made a deal under which they would each take interim bouts and then fight in September. If Alvarez declines the fall fight, he would be stripped of his belt and Golovkin would get it with his interim tag being dropped.
Golovkin (35-0, 32 KOs), who has scored 22 knockouts in a row, destroyed mandatory challenger Dominic Wade in two rounds April 23 in his interim bout.
Along with trainer Abel Sanchez and promoter Tom Loeffler of K2 Promotions, Golovkin sat ringside at T-Mobile Arena to get an up-close look at Alvarez in the main event. Golovkin, who has made it clear he will accept the short end of the money and the B-side of the promotion, wants the fight and does not want it delayed
After Alvarez (47-1-1, 33 KOs) knocked out England's Khan (31-4, 19 KOs), he invited Golovkin into the ring to, as he explained, show that he is not afraid to fight him.
"We didn't really have any words, but the main thing is this: We are going to fight," Alvarez said. "But not because it's a mandatory. I don't care about this. We don't have to fight for the belts, but we are going to fight."
Alvarez, the 25-year-old Mexican star, has about two weeks to let the WBC know if he plans to make the mandatory defense. He said he wants De La Hoya to negotiate the bout, which would easily be the biggest in boxing barring Floyd Mayweather and Manny Pacquiao both coming out of retirement for a rematch.
De La Hoya pushed aside the notion that he is looking to make some other fall fight for Alvarez, including the possibility of a rematch with Cotto. The Puerto Rican star elected to sit out fighting in June, as originally planned, to shoot for a sequel against Alvarez. Their fight in November earned 900,000 pay-per-view buys.
"I've never mentioned Cotto," De La Hoya said. "I am not talking to Cotto. I am not negotiating with Cotto. Cotto is not in the equation."
De La Hoya invited Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones to the fight, and he sat ringside. The two have discussed having Alvarez fight at Jones' AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas. An Alvarez-Golovkin fight might put 80,000-plus in the stadium.
"I invited Jerry Jones personally. That's how serious he is about taking a Canelo fight or several fights to his stadium," De La Hoya said. "I am going to be doing a lot of work in the next week. I have to fly to Dallas, and there are other people who want to stage Canelo fights. It's a matter of just taking maybe one day off and then start working my magic. Jerry Jones' arena is a huge possibility for Canelo's fights in the near future."
If an Alvarez-Golovkin fight is made, De La Hoya and Alvarez promised that weight would not be an issue. Although he is the middleweight champion, Alvarez has had his recent fights contracted at 155 pounds, one above the junior middleweight limit. Golovkin, 34, wants the fight -- and all of his fights -- at the middleweight limit of 160 pounds.
"There's not going to be any issues. No weight issues," Alvarez said. "We'll go with an offer and see if the fight can get made. I have a team, obviously, but for me there's no issue. I'll fight him at 160. Now, we'll sit down as a team and discuss it."