Gennady Golovkin’s Next Fight Will Be Against Dominic Wade

Fightland Blog

By Nick Wong

Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

Unified middleweight champion Gennady Golovkin will be defending his IBF and WBA titles against Dominic Wade on April 23rd at the Forum in Inglewood, California. Rumblings about the matchup happened as early as last week, but official confirmations weren’t made until Wednesday of this week.

Fight fans are of course waiting for a showdown between Golovkin and WBC titlist Canelo Álvarez, but as reported months ago, both camps have agreed to hold interim bouts as the potential matchup gets planned for later this fall. Last week, Álvarez announced that he will be taking on Amir Khan for his interim bout, a fight that poses little threat to derailing a matchup against Golovkin.

For Golovkin, his opponent poses little threat as well. Wade, while at an undefeated 18-0 (12KOs), has little to no substance on his ledger. His best win comes in at a split decision over a 41-year old Sam Soliman, and many that saw the fight will argue that it should have gone the other way. Wade, however, is actually the official mandatory for Golovkin’s IBF claim as the former mandatory, Tureano Johnson, pulled out of the candidacy due to a should injury. The other option to face WBO champion Billy Joe Saunders fell through due to scheduling and venue conflicts, but Team Golovkin still believes this matchup against Wade as legitimate.

“Because we couldn’t get another champion to fight, we chose the mandatory,” said Golovkin’s promoter Tom Loeffler to the Los Angeles Times. “It’ll be a challenge. Wade’s a young, hungry guy who jumped at it as soon as Tureano Johnson was hurt.”

According to Loeffler, all fight negotiations were signed off in about a week, and the promoter further commended Wade for not “balking at all to agreeing to the fight”, a comparatively opposite experience in working with Golden Boy and Team Álvarez. From catch-weights to purse splits, the current negotiations surrounding the fight have been a mess between the two camps, and it appears that the interim bouts will provide some much-needed time to iron out details, though Golovkin had originally wanted to Álvarez as his next opponent.  

"It wasn't our side that asked for the voluntary defense. It was a request from Canelo and Golden Boy," Loeffler said. "It builds the fight with Canelo and Gennady. We have the voluntary defense against Wade, Canelo has his against Khan and after that it's clearly stipulated that the winner of Canelo-Khan has 15 days to say they will fight Gennady (or Wade) or they'll get stripped of the title. It's in writing, but I can't predict if Canelo will take the fight or not.”  

Perhaps one upside to both interim bouts is that Al Haymon manages the challenger in each fight, and their appearance on HBO boxing could be a sign of the tension cooling between the manager and network. Fighters managed by Haymon have not appeared on HBO since 2013 due to professional conflicts, but should things loosen up between the two parties, it could soften some of the common roadblocks that big fights in boxing too often encounter.

Further good news is that newly minted pound-for-pound champion Roman “Chocolatito” Gonzales will be appearing as the co-feature on the card against an unnamed opponent. Though he is likely to dominate all contenders in the weight class, it is always a treat to witness his caliber of skill.

So while the card may not offer the best examples competitive fighting, it is a step closer in the direction we want to be headed. Boxing perhaps too often asks its fans to exercise the difficult virtue of patience, and we are being asked to do so yet again on April 23rd. Let’s hope the future shortly afterwards proves that the good things truly do come to those who wait.


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