By: Hans Themistode
Gennadiy Golovkin was always a patient hunter. But one who never wasted his time on prolonged prey.
After victimizing his foes in the ring, Golovkin would normally remove his blood-soaked gloves, grab the nearest microphone and publicly call out his next target. Seldom, however, would Golovkin’s desired opponents issue a direct response.
The current unified middleweight titlist begged for a showdown against Miguel Cotto. Yet, when the former four-division world titlist openly ignored him, Golovkin turned his attention elsewhere. In addition to placing a target squarely on the back of Cotto, Golovkin has also called out the likes of Sergio Martinez and Jaime Munguia.
Ultimately, to Golovkin’s disgust, he was unable to lure any of those previously mentioned names into the ring. Still, while acrimonious, Golovkin moved on. So why won’t he do the same now?
At the age of 40, and having fought Canelo Alvarez on two separate occasions, Golovkin has appeared hell-bent on facing the Mexican star for a third, and presumably final time. In all fairness, Golovkin had officially gotten his wish granted.
Initially, after mulling over several offers, Alvarez opted to accept Eddie Hearn’s lucrative three-fight deal. In Alvarez’s perfect world, he would willingly leave his undisputed 168-pound throne and successfully snag Dmitry Bivol’s WBA light heavyweight title. From there, Alvarez would then return to 168 pounds for a third bout against Golovkin, before closing out his year with either a homecoming fight in Guadalajara, Jalisco, Mexico – or a trip over the pond to London, to face who appeared to be the frontrunner in Joshua Buatsi.
Of course, Golovkin needed to hold up his end of the bargain, as he was scheduled to face off against Ryota Murata. Despite turning 40 years of age one day prior to their April 9th showdown, Golovkin brutalized his man, scoring the stoppage victory in the ninth round.
As Golovkin flicked on his television set this past Saturday night to take in the sights of Alvarez’s showdown against Bivol, a part of him, albeit reluctantly, was heavily rooting for his longtime rival. But while Golovkin nodded and smiled in approval as Alvarez started strong, Golovkin placed an incredulous hand over his mouth as he watched the rest of their bout unfold.
Outside of the first initial few rounds, Bivol dominated the pound-for-pound star. At times, a visibly gassed Alvarez languished against the ropes, breathing deeply, hoping for a reprieve from a relentless Bivol. Alvarez’s amnesty, however, never came.
Bivol, beaming with confidence at this point, closed strong, lacing Alvarez with a nonstop barrage of pernicious shots, doing so until the sound of the final bell. Alvarez, 31, had on his best poker face as he waited patiently for the final scores to be announced. While he raised his hand in victory, it was Bivol’s name that was announced shortly after.
With the Mexican star tasting defeat for the first time in nearly a decade, he impetuously declared that he would enact his immediate rematch clause, a statement he has somewhat backed away from. If Álvarez does, in fact, opt to face Bivol once more, Golovkin should turn his back on their lucrative and personal rivalry.
There’s nothing more for Golovkin to gain at this point in his career from facing Alvarez. His perpetual rival’s aura of invincibility has already been stripped away.
During their first encounter in 2017, most of the boxing world was bemused by the final result as Alvarez appeared lucky to have been given a split decision draw. In their immediate sequel one year later, while Alvarez scored a majority decision victory, both pugilistic media minds and rabid fans of the sport were ambivalent with the final call.
Not only has Bivol successfully ended Alvarez’s reign atop boxing’s Mount Everest, but, by and large, he’s also dampened his third showdown against Golovkin.
While no one else will allow the Kazakstan native to fatten his wallet the way a bout against Alvarez can, he does have both lucrative offers and mouthwatering showdowns that stand before him.
For years on end, Jermall Charlo has publicly called for a middleweight unification bout against Golovkin, something the now 40-year-old has never truly entertained. In addition to Charlo, Demetrius Andrade has remained loquacious over a matchup against Golovkin.
The seemingly countless zero’s that were expected to come with a showdown against Alvarez has ostensibly evaporated. So has a chance at revenge. That doesn’t mean Golovkin and Alvarez won’t meet again, however. But for the time being, while both bouts will be forever etched in boxing history, there’s no need for a third.
Charlo, Andrade, or even an audacious move to 168 pounds to take on David Benavidez, are all on the table for Golovkin if he so pleased. Whatever Golovkin ultimately chooses, it’s time for him to leave his rivalry with Alvarez in the rearview mirror.