In an interview with Sports Illustrated, IBF middleweight champion Gennadiy Golovkin confirmed that he will face mandatory challenger Kamil Szeremeta upon his return to the ring rather than immediately pursue a trilogy match with Canelo Alvarez.
“I made a commitment before all this situation with coronavirus happened. I’m talking about my fight with Szeremeta. I intend to keep my word. Once the situation changes, as soon as everything is back to normal, I intend to have this fight first.”
Golovkin (40-1-1, 35 KO), who will break Bernard Hopkins’ record for middleweight title defenses with one more win and called such an achievement “special,” reiterated trainer Johnathon Banks’ claim that Canelo’s team passed on facing Golovkin earlier.
Golovkin said that Team Alvarez delayed the bout last fall, forcing him at that point to sign an alternative contract, which he did, with Szeremeta, while Alvarez decided on a bout with Billy Joe Saunders. “I should point out that there is always two sides,” Golovkin said. “They actually avoided this fight in September. They didn’t want to fight in May of 2020. So I went my way. I have my own career, and I figured: How long should I wait?”
DAZN’s original plan was for Canelo to challenge Billy Joe Saunders for the WBO super middleweight title on May 2nd while Golovkin, upon return from injury, fulfilled his IBF obligations against the unbeaten Szeremeta. No plan survives first contact with COVID-19, though, and so now they’ve got to finagle with the schedule once again.
To be honest, I’m fine with Golovkin taking a lesser challenge after his struggles with Sergiy Derevyanchenko. A dominant performance against the feather-fisted Pole would probably make the marketing team’s job a lot easier, too.