Boxing fans again will have to play the waiting game for the fight they want to see most.
With the five-year wait for Floyd Mayweather to face Manny Pacquiao still fresh in the minds of many, a showdown between lineal middleweight champion Canelo Alvarez and unified titleholder Gennady Golovkin looms as boxing's biggest fight since -- but it won't happen until at least fall 2017.
Eric Gomez, vice president of Golden Boy Promotions, which promotes Alvarez, and Tom Loeffler, managing director of K2 Promotions, Golovkin's promoter, met Monday at Golden Boy's office in Los Angeles and agreed to put off the fight until late next year.
Golovkin and Loeffler wanted the fight to have happened this past May. When that did not happen, they were hopeful Alvarez and Golden Boy would agree to the bout for Sept. 17, the date on which Alvarez plans to next fight.
However, Golden Boy and Alvarez preferred to put off the fight for two reasons: to make it commercially bigger, and to give Alvarez a chance to build himself up to the middleweight limit of 160 pounds so he can have at least one fight at that weight before facing Golovkin.
Alvarez, a former junior middleweight titleholder, has been fighting at 155 pounds, technically a middleweight fight, and demanding that his opponents fight him at that catchweight. He won the middleweight title by decision from Miguel Cotto in November in a fight contracted at 155, also Cotto's preferred weight.
"I met with Eric on Monday, and we had a good, good conversation, and the plan was they want to shoot for fall of 2017," Loeffler told ESPN.com. "It's not going to happen in September of this year, so we'll use the time to build the fight. We wanted the fight in [this past] May.
"It's Gennady's priority to make the Canelo fight as soon as possible, but Golden Boy felt next year would make the most sense on the promotional side and with the weight as well."
Golovkin (35-0, 32 KOs), who has made 16 consecutive title defenses and scored 22 knockouts in a row, owned two major sanctioning organization titles but also held the interim title of another organization, which made him the mandatory challenger for Alvarez's belt. They agreed to each fight interim bouts this past spring with the idea they would fight this fall. But after Golovkin, 34, a native of Kazakhstan living in Santa Monica, California, knocked out Dominic Wade in the second round on April 23, and Alvarez (47-1-1, 33 KOs), the 25-year-old Mexican star, drilled Amir Khan in the sixth round on May 7, Alvarez vacated his sanctioning organization title, thus avoiding the deadline to make the mandatory fight.
Golovkin was handed the full title, but the sides continued to talk about a deal. And then this week they agreed -- the Golovkin side grudgingly -- to wait until next year.
"We'll be happy whenever we can make the fight with Canelo," Loeffler said. "We can't force people to get in the ring with Gennady. Canelo wants to work to get up to 160, and we'll try to make the best out of the situation."
Golden Boy CEO Oscar De La Hoya declined to comment through a spokesman, but a source with knowledge of the plan said Alvarez's fight on Sept. 17 -- opponent to be determined -- likely will be at the junior middleweight limit of 154 pounds, where he perhaps will seek a world title fight.
But after that he likely would fight "one or two more times to build himself up to 160," the source said.
Even with the plan for Alvarez and Golovkin to fight in late 2017, they still need to work out the financial details and myriad other aspects of a big fight.
"I believe that Canelo wants to fight Gennady. I don't think he is afraid of Gennady, but I think Golden Boy wants to build up the fight, and the time also gives Canelo time to get to 160 pounds," Loeffler said. "We can jump up and down all we want, but it won't help us get the deal. We have to focus on continuing to build Gennady. The bigger we can make Gennady, the bigger we can make that fight with Canelo, as long as we have to wait."
Golovkin, who, like Alvarez, is under contract to HBO, likely will fight in September as well. Loeffler said he has been talking to Matchroom Boxing promoter Eddie Hearn about matching GGG with England's Chris Eubank Jr., son of the former middleweight and super middleweight titleholder Chris Eubank Sr., one of England's biggest stars of the 1990s. Eubank Jr. (22-1, 17 KOs) defends the British middleweight title against Tom Doran on Saturday at the O2 Arena in London on the undercard of heavyweight world titleholder Anthony Joshua's defense against Dominic Breazeale.
"I've been talking to Eddie about Eubank Jr., and Eddie said as soon as [Saturday's] fight is over, we will see if we can move forward with that fight," Loeffler said, adding that if it is made, Golovkin likely would travel to England for the bout.