After a whirlwind several days in which it looked as if the much anticipated rematch was dead, representatives of Canelo Alvarez and Gennady Golovkin reached terms on a deal on Wednesday for a rematch on Sept. 15 at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas.
The men first met in a highly controversial draw on Sept. 16, 2017, at T-Mobile, in which one judge favored Alvarez, one favored Golovkin and the third scored it a draw. They were supposed to rematch on May 5, but Alvarez failed two anti-doping tests in February and was forced to withdraw.
Negotiating revenue splits between GGG and Canelo was tough
Golovkin fought and knocked out Vanes Martirosyan in two rounds instead, and then insisted on 50-50 for the rematch. Eventually, he came down to a 55-45 percentage split on the total revenue for the rematch. Alvarez had a 70-30 revenue split advantage in the first fight.
The sides went back and forth, Golden Boy CEO Oscar De La Hoya began negotiating in the media — and putting several deadlines on the talks. Golden Boy offered a 57.5-42.5 split on Tuesday, and put a noon PST Wednesday deadline on it.
De La Hoya said he’d make a fight with Daniel Jacobs instead, but sources closes to Jacobs described the offer as lowball and it was quickly dismissed. They were never close to a deal.
Golovkin refused to budge off the 55-45 demand and the noon deadline passed. But Golden Boy had nowhere to go because there was no other fight out there that could generate the kind of revenue a rematch with Golovkin would. The first fight did 1.4 million pay-per-view sales, when factoring in online sales, and that was with the Floyd Mayweather-Conor McGregor fight three weeks in front of it.
GGG-Canelo rematch should draw major pay-per-view sales
With no major pay-per-view scheduled ahead of it now, it’s assumed the rematch could do substantially better, perhaps as much as 250,000 more sales, or close to 1.7 million. A fight with Jacobs might have sold in the 450,00 range, while a match against Spike O’Sullivan would have been around 250,000 tops.
That left few other options. Golovkin promoter Tom Loeffler said he was worried the fight would not happen when Golovkin refused to budge. He said promoters agreed not to discuss the split publicly.
Rematch seemed like ‘dead deal’
Yahoo Sports was speaking on the telephone with Loeffler just after noon PST when Frank Warren, the promoter of WBO champion Billy Joe Saunders, called to discuss a match between Saunders and Golovkin.
“At noon, I thought it was a dead deal and I spoke with Frank Warren and we started down the path of making a fight with Saunders,” Loeffler said. “Gennady held firm that he believed 45 percent was the fair number and [Golden Boy president] Eric Gomez came up with a solution eventually that was able to satisfy Gennady and satisfy Canelo.
“This is the biggest fight in boxing and there was a lot of money at stake. We needed to have a certain split to be fair and the deadline came and went with no deal. But after the deadline, they were able to come up with something that made sense for both sides.”
Golovkin was furious at Alvarez for failing the test and didn’t feel he was treated fairly in the first fight. Golovkin wanted to consider having the fight in New York, but Alvarez insisted on it being in Las Vegas and wouldn’t budge.
The irony of that is that if Alvarez had agreed to fight in New York, the bout would have likely gone on despite his positive tests for Clenbuterol. Nevada’s rules, though, required the fight to be canceled.
Gomez couldn’t be reached for comment, but Loeffler said he believes interest in the bout has grown substantially.
“It’s a much bigger fight with all the controversy that has gone on and no love lost between the guys,” Loeffler said. “In the first fight, it was a respectful promotion, but in the second fight, with the positive test and the way Gennady had to scramble to be able to fight on May 5, he is very edgy. Canelo is very edgy, so I think that’s going to get things heated up.”
Loeffler spoke to Golovkin by phone and relayed a comment from him.
“I’m happy the deal is done and I’m looking forward to beating Canelo,” Golovkin said.