The good news: Representatives for unified middleweight world titleholder Gennady Golovkin and secondary titlist Daniel Jacobs, the mandatory challenger, remain locked in talks in the hopes of making the biggest fight in the weight class this side of a Golovkin showdown against Canelo Alvarez.
The bad news: Golovkin-Jacobs will not take place this year. Instead, neither will fight again in 2016, and their fight will be pushed into the early part of 2017, assuming it is eventually finalized.
The sides were in discussions for the fight to take place on Dec. 10. HBO, which has Golovkin under contract, committed to the date and Madison Square Garden in New York was on hold.
But the sides have not been able to reach an agreement, and they don't want to go to a purse bid. So Golovkin promoter Tom Loeffler of K2 Promotions told ESPN on Tuesday that they have thrown in the towel on the fight taking place on Dec. 10.
Loeffler said he is still talking with Al Haymon, Jacobs' adviser, about making the fight, but they lost a lot of time when talks were put on hold while the WBA took its time to rule on what the split of a purse bid should be. The Jacobs camp requested that the WBA reconsider its standard 75-25 split in favor of the "super" titleholder, Golovkin in this case. Jacobs wanted the split set at 60-40. Ultimately, the WBA ruled it would remain 75-25.
"Once the WBA made their ruling to uphold their standard split, it became just a matter of still talking to Al and trying to finalize a deal, but it's just too late now for the fight to be on Dec. 10," Loeffler said. "We had Madison Square Garden on hold, and they've been a good partner to us, so I don't like having to leave them with an open Saturday night. HBO also was ready to go, but we are going to push it back into early 2017."
Loeffler said he could not predict the specific time frame because it will depend on HBO's schedule, Madison Square Garden's availability and how long it takes to make a deal.
"As soon as we can get the deal agreed to we'll figure out a date and location," he said. "But first we have to make the fight. Optimally, it will stay at Madison Square Garden. Our goal is to not go to a purse bid because a promotion is more effective when both sides are happy with the deal."
In a purse bid, the promoter who offers the most money wins promotional rights to the fight, with the winning offer being split between the fighters -- 75-25 in Golovkin's favor for this fight.
"By the time contracts are signed and fighters are in training camp, it just wasn't realistic to keep the December date, unfortunately," Loeffler said. "If we had the contracts signed today, OK, maybe we could do it. But we're not there yet. The contract isn't signed and there's no telling when it would be signed."
Loeffler said Golovkin, 34, the Santa Monica, California-based Kazakhstan native, is disappointed about not fighting again this year because he prides himself on being one of boxing's busiest star fighters. This will be the first time Golovkin has not boxed three times in a calendar year since 2012, when he first came to the United States to fight and linked up with HBO.
"It's not by our choice," Loeffler said.
One of boxing's most devastating punchers, Golovkin (36-0, 33 KOs), who has made 17 title defenses and knocked out 23 consecutive opponents, is coming off a fifth-round stoppage of Kell Brook in London on Sept. 10.
Jacobs (32-1, 29 KOs), also a powerful puncher, has made four defenses of his so-called "regular" title, including a one-sided seventh-round knockout of former junior middleweight titlist Sergio Mora in their rematch on Sept. 9 in Reading, Pennsylvania. Jacobs, 29, of Brooklyn, New York, will wind up having fought only once in 2016.