Tuesday, 26 September 2017 09:18

Gennady Golovkin's team fear they will struggle to lure Canelo Alvarez into a rematch

Written by Daily Mail
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Gennady Golovkin’s team are concerned that Canelo Alvarez may be as difficult to coax into the ring for their rematch as he was for more than two years before their controversial super-fight.

A second battle in what should develop into one of boxing’s historic trilogies does not seem as inevitable as it looked immediately after Canelo was gifted a draw by the judges in Las Vegas 10 days ago.

Golovkin’s connections are hoping that the Mexican public will again compel Alvarez to do it.

Tom Loeffler, promoter of the Kazakh world middleweight champion, says: ‘Canelo was under pressure from his own people to take the first fight and given the macho nature of his country he will be again.

‘The culture is that Mexicans don’t run. And never before have we heard Canelo booed the way he was by his own Mexican fans in Vegas after the draw was announced.’

Loeffler does not sense any reticence for a second fight in Canelo’s Golden Boy promoters, whose legendary chairman Oscar De La Hoya is on record as saying: ’We must do the tie-breaker.’

Loeffler adds: ‘I’ve had a first conversation with Eric Gomez (Golden Boy president and chief negotiator) and while I don’t know yet what they want in the way of terms, it is clear they are keen to go ahead.’

The initial reaction from Canelo himself was less definitive. He said: ‘We can do the rematch… if it’s what the fans want.’

Loeffler says: ‘Triple G knows he really won the first fight and he would go again as early as December if they wanted.

‘Canelo says he won the fight. If he truly believes that then he should have no qualms about the rematch.’

The unspoken worry is that Alvarez may have come to accept that he had a lucky escape with that draw and may not want to take the risk again.

Golovkin’s only quibble is a preference for moving a second fight out of Vegas, where judge Adalaide Byrd’s preposterous scoring of 118-110 for Canelo was not the only cause for a raising of quizzical eyebrows on the night of September 16.

Don Trella’s 114-114 card which produced the draw has also been called into question and Loeffler says: ‘All the criticism of Adalaide Byrd has somewhat obscured Trella giving the seventh round to Canelo. Had he not done so Gennady would have won and that was Triple G’s best round.’

It was also the round in which referee Kenny Bayless looked close to calling a halt before Alvarez rescued himself by finally throwing a couple of punches back while taking a battering on the ropes.

Conspiracy theorists were also aroused by a late surge of heavy betting in the casinos which suddenly halved the odds on a draw from 30-1 to 15-1.

Now it has emerged that the Nevada State Athletic Commission did not know at the time how much the judges were paid.

It is customary in boxing for the promoters to meet those fees. Golden Boy were the lead promoters, with Golovkin’s promotion company secondary.

Only Golden Boy wrote out the cheques, while Commission chief executive Bob Bennett estimates that the judges are likely to have received somewhere between $100,000 (£74,194) and $500,000 (£370,892) each. That is an eye-watering amount.

Virtually everyone in boxing believes that the bad old days of the big fix are long gone, Loeffler very much included. But he does say: ‘Something went wrong in Vegas and we will all have to make sure it doesn’t happen again.

‘Until his last two fights Gennady had been on such a long knockout streak that we hardly had to think about the judges. From now on we will have to pay closer attention to that and all the detail around his fights.’

Gomez offers this reassurance: ‘Canelo is fully on board with the rematch. As is Oscar. And we are victims of that bad card as well. Not just Golovkin.

‘Fingers are being pointed like we did something wrong. That really hurts. Canelo did nothing wrong – he put up a great fight – and we did nothing wrong. What we all did was deliver the instant classic we promised.’

Yes, they did and Golovkin says: ‘Although the judging was bad for boxing, the big drama fight was good for boxing.’

At the least, he will have to wait until Mexico’s Cinco de Mayo celebrations weekend next May if he is to meet Canelo again. By then he will have turned 36.

He will accept returning to the T-Mobile Arena on the Vegas Strip – where he earned $25million (£18.5m) and Alvarez $35m (£25.9m) first time out – if it is again the best financial deal. But Loeffler is exploring whether there might be an even bigger pay day to be had elsewhere.

He says: ‘Dallas could be an attractive option. We saw the success of Anthony Joshua and Wladimir Klitschko drawing a crowd of 90,000 at Wembley Stadium. A hundred thousand in the Cowboys Stadium could be a magnificent event.’

Just now there is only one certainty: If this rematch does not happen the boxing world will not forgive whoever is responsible.

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