With Gennadiy Golovkin officially vacating his IBF middleweight title today instead of taking an ordered fight with Esquiva Falcao, the expected official follow-up has officially come, as the WBA have ordered Golovkin to defend his WBA middleweight title against Erislandy Lara.
The fight would be another WBA title consolidation, as Golovkin is the WBA “super world” titleholder, and Lara has their secondary “world” title, the one people often call “regular.”
Golovkin (42-2-1, 37 KO) last fought in September in a move up to super middleweight, dropping a decision in a disappointing rubber match with old rival Canelo Alvarez. Lara (29-3-3, 17 KO) was last seen in May 2022, dominating and stopping Gary “Spike” O’Sullivan.
Lara, 39, moved up from a long run in the 154 lb division in 2021, and was immediately granted a vacant secondary title fight against Thomas “Cornflake” LaManna. He has only fought LaManna and O’Sullivan, neither of them real contenders, in his run at 160.
Golovkin, who turns 41 in April, has been the most dominant middleweight of his era and one of the great middleweight champions in history, really, but he is aging and slowing down, and Lara — while also aged and slowed down — has a skill set that could be a problem.
This also seems like it would have at least more of a chance of getting done than Golovkin vs Falcao did, as Falcao just has no name value, which the 2012 Olympic silver medalist can largely blame on himself. Lara isn’t a mega-star, but he’s a known name, and it seems more likely that someone would be willing to pay decent money for GGG vs Lara.
There are two other possibilities:
- Golovkin and Lara could reach a “step-aside” deal that would allow GGG to fight someone else first, potentially for more money. Jaime Munguia and Golden Boy insist they’re interested in a GGG fight, and we know Liam Smith and Boxxer would like to make the fight. But without the WBA belt, fighting Golovkin may carry too much risk vs reward for either of those names.
- Golovkin could just vacate this belt, too, then do whatever he’s going to do. Technically, he’d still have the IBO title, if that matters to you, which it does not to most people, but some promoters have been quietly attempting to legitimize it as a fifth recognized world title-level sanctioning body.
Golovkin and Lara will have 15 days — from Feb. 8 to Feb. 23 — for their negotiation process, before the fight would go to purse bid.