Gennadiy Golovkin is officially a former two-time middleweight titlist.
BoxingScene.com has confirmed that Golovkin has officially vacated his WBA middleweight title. The development comes just four days ahead of a scheduled March 13 purse bid to determine promotional rights for his overdue title consolidation bout versus Erislandy Lara. Golovkin held the WBA ‘Super’ title.
“Mr. Golovkin has requested that I contact you in order to communicate his intentions moving forward,” John Hornewer, attorney for Golovkin and GGG Promotions informed the WBA via official letter, a copy of which was obtained by BoxingScene.com. “Gennadiy Golovkin is proud to have reigned as the WBA Super Champion and to have unified the Middleweight titles in Japan against Ryoto Murata last year. Gennadiy thanks the WBA for its support during that process and during his career.
“While Gennadiy remains committed to fighting again, he has not made up his mind about many of the elements critical to planning and arranging his next bout. In light of the impending deadline for a purse bid for a fight with WBA Regular Champion Erislandy Lara as ordered by the WBA, Gennadiy does not wish to see the process drag out any longer. As such, please be advised that Gennadiy Golovkin hereby relinquishes the WBA Middleweight Super Championship Title.”
Lara is now the sole recognized WBA middleweight titlist. The ‘Super’ and ‘Regular’ titles are permanently removed from the rotation as a result, per the sanctioning body’s continued title reduction campaign from August 2021 through present day.
Kazakhstan’s Golovkin (42-2-1, 37KOs) was already down to one title after he vacated his IBF middleweight belt on Febuary 8 in lieu of a mandatory title defense versus Brazil’s Esquiva Falcao. The move came nearly four months after Golovkin petitioned the IBF to order the mandatory as means to delay a title consolidation clash versus Lara (29-3-3, 17KOs), as the two-time unified middleweight titlist ran out of exceptions with the WBA to avoid the fight.
The bout was previously ordered on September 23, six days after Golovkin fell short in his trilogy clash with Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez last September 17 in Las Vegas. The bout took place at super middleweight, where Golovkin unsuccessfully challenged for Alvarez’s undisputed championship while his own WBA/IBF middleweight title reign was not at risk.
Golovkin (42-2-1, 37KOs) previously inherited Lara as a mandatory challenger upon stopping Murata in the ninth round of their April 9 title unification bout in Saitama, Japan. The 40-year-old Kazakh boxer defended his IBF belt while claiming the WBA ‘Super’ title with the win.
The WBA refrained from ordering Golovkin to next face Lara due to an existing deal in place calling for the two-time unified middleweight titlist to face Alvarez in their trilogy clash. Golovkin had to get approval from the WBA, which represented his final exception in lieu of a mandatory title defense came with conditional approval from the WBA who reminded Golovkin that he would have 120 days to next face Lara.
The IBF belt will now be contested between Falcao (30-0, 20KOs) and Australia’s Michael Zerafa (31-4, 19KOs). Little movement was made in securing a deal for the ordered fight, which is now the subject of a March 14 purse bid hearing at IBF headquarters in Springfield, New Jersey.
There is a chance that the IBF session will be postponed, if not cancelled outright. Zerafa is also next in line to challenge for the WBA middleweight title, with that fight representing the more desirable and lucrative option.
Lara claimed the secondary WBA ‘World’ (Regular) middleweight title following a first-round knockout of aspiring contender Thomas ‘Cornflake’ LaManna last May 1 in Carson, California.
The Cuban export previously held the WBA 154-pound belt following two upgrades from the time of his December 2013 interim title win over Austin Trout. He was the highest-recognized WBA junior middleweight titlist following a December 2014 win over Ishe Smith, as Floyd Mayweather held the ‘Super’ version but never returned to the weight following his September 2013 win over Alvarez.
Lara was upgraded from ‘Regular’ to ‘Super’ champion prior to his January 2017 knockout win over a hobbled Yuri Foreman. His reign ended in a split decision defeat to Jarrett Hurd in their April 2018 WBA/IBF unification bout hailed by many outlets as the 2018 Fight of the Year.
He then served as a secondary WBA junior middleweight titlist from August 2019 through August 2021, at which point he vacated the belt to instead campaign full time at middleweight—relatively speaking. Just one fight has followed, an eighth-round knockout of Gary ‘Spike’ O’Sullivan on May 28 in Brooklyn, New York.
It was enough t become champion by default.
There have been rumors of Lara possibly facing former two-division titlist Danny Garcia. Such a fight—if a possibility—would be contingent upon WBA approval, absent an ordered mandatory title defense.
Jake Donovan is a senior writer for BoxingScene.com. Twitter: @JakeNDaBox