By Dan Ambrose: In a predictable move, Gennadiy Golovkin has vacated his WBA middleweight title rather than defending it against his mandatory challenger Erislandy Lara, which now means the Cuban star is the sole champion with the sanctioning body at 160.
Golovkin (42-2-1, 37 KOs) already recently vacated his IBF middleweight title after he was ordered to defend it against Esquiva Falcao, which would have been a brutal fight for him that wouldn’t have paid a lot of money.
It was reported that there was no interest from any of the networks for the Golovkin-Falcao that would have paid Golovkin the type of money that he’d been accustomed to getting in his DAZN contract. Whatever money Golovkin had been getting, it wasn’t there for a fight with Falcao.
It’s not hard to imagine that the networks weren’t interested in paying huge money for Golovkin vs. Lara as well to make it worthwhile for GGG to take the fight. Besides that, it would be a tough fight for Golovkin because Lara is arguably a little more well-preserved physically and is fighting on a higher level.
Had Golovkin taken the fight with Lara, there’s a good chance that he would lose because he would have to fight a lot harder than what we from him in his last two contests against Canelo Alvarez and Ryota Murata to have a shot at winning.
Kazakh Gennady Golovkin formally resigned his world champion position and will not face the mandatory fight ordered by the WBA championships committee.
The Middleweight division now has only one champion by the WBA, which is the Cuban Erislandy Lara #Boxing
— WBA Boxing (@WBABoxing) March 9, 2023
With Golovkin now belt-less, he may retire unless one of the promoters, like Eddie Hearn, is willing to throw big money at him to be the opponent for one of his British fighters. Golovkin would be a good option as an opponent for Conor Benn to fight in June.
While some boxing fans might think that’s crazy, Benn had been scheduled to fight middleweight Chris Eubank Jr last October until the bout was canceled after Conor tested positive for a banned substance. Golovkin might be viewed as beatable by Hearn and a good scalp for Benn to give him credibility in the boxing world.
Golovkin’s career went downhill after his second fight with Canelo Alvarez in 2018. After losing a controversial 12 round majority decision, Golovkin stopped taking risky fights and seemed to go into a four-year holding pattern, waiting for his lucrative trilogy fights against Canelo.
Instead of continuing to fight cutting-edge competition to keep his popularity up with fans, Golovkin chose to fight exclusively weak opposition for the next four years against these fighters:
- Steve Rolls
- Kamil Szeremeta
- Sergiy Derevyanchenko
- Ryota Murata
Perhaps just as harmful to Golovkin’s career was the fact that he fought irregularly from 2020. Instead of continuing to fight frequently, as he’d done when he was making a name for himself in the U.S., he fought only once in 2020 and not at all in 2021.
What fighters can learn from watching Golovkin’s career is to stay as active as possible against the best possible position and not sit and wait on a fight.
Had Golovkin stayed busy fighting the best possible opposition after his loss to Canelo in 2018, he’d have been a lot more popular when he faced the Mexican star in their trilogy. Additionally, Golovkin’s skills wouldn’t have deteriorated the way they did due to his inactivity and weak opposition.
Was it the money that caused Golovkin’s career to head down after his second fight with Canelo? Some boxing fans believe that to be the cause. They think Golovkin stopped carrying about fighting the best and was just interested in money.
The 39-year-old southpaw Lara (29-3-3, 17 KOs) had been the WBA ‘regular’ middleweight since defeating Ramon Alvarez by a second round knockout in August 2019.
At the time, many boxing fans criticized the WBA’s decision to have Ramon Alvarez battling Lara for the WBA regular title, as he’d done nothing to deserve fighting for a belt, aside from being one of Canelo Alvarez’s brothers.