Unified middleweight world champion Gennady Golovkin and his late substitute opponent, Vanes Martirosyan, might not agree on how they think their upcoming fight will play out, but they do share at least one thing in common — contempt for Canelo Alvarez.
Golovkin will take on Martirosyan on May 5 (HBO, 11 p.m. ET/PT) at the StubHub Center in Carson, California, instead of facing Alvarez in an HBO PPV rematch at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas because Alvarez failed two Voluntary Anti-Doping Association-administered drug tests for the banned performance-enhancing drug clenbuterol and was suspended for six months by the Nevada State Athletic Commission.
Golovkin didn’t want to waste a training camp and remain inactive since the controversial draw most thought he won against Alvarez in September. So Martirosyan got the call last week even though he is coming off a loss, hasn’t fought for two years and is moving up in weight.
Golovkin (37-0-1, 33 KOs) and Martirosyan (36-3-1, 21 KOs), both 2004 Olympians, appeared together at a workout for media members on Monday at the Glendale Fighting Club in Glendale, California, Martirosyan’s gym in his hometown, where they posed for photos together and discussed the fight.
But besides the bout, Alvarez (49-1-2, 34 KOs), naturally, was a major topic of conversation.
Before the Nevada commission issued the six-month suspension to Alvarez, Golovkin had harsh words for him. He accused Alvarez of using PEDs not only in his training camp for the now canceled rematch but also in the lead-up to their fight last year, though Alvarez did not fail any drug tests related to that fight.
Golovkin is still disgusted that Alvarez failed two tests. The cancellation of the rematch cost Golovkin an eight-figure payday on May 5, when he will instead earn a small fraction of that against Martirosyan. The way Golovkin sounded, don’t go making plans for the rematch many expect to take place Sept. 15, a month after Alvarez’s suspension is lifted.
“Canelo? Right now he is over,” Golovkin said. “Do I want to have the rematch in September? We’ll see. It’s a different deal. I’ll fight Canelo again. Ask him if he wants to fight me.”
Because the May 5 rematch was canceled — as opposed to simply being postponed due to injury or illness — many believe the contract is no longer in place. If that’s the case, the sides could operate under its terms if they want to, or they could seek to negotiate new terms, given their anger over the canceled fight. They could also scrap a rematch altogether, even though it remains the most lucrative bout either could have. But Golovkin didn’t want to hear about that.
“I no longer think about Canelo,” Golovkin said. “I am only focused on this fight. The boxing business is crazy. I just want to fight Vanes. I remember him from the 2004 Olympics. I know he is not easy. Vanes is a strong and active fighter in the ring. He is a good fighter. Vanes is a real guy. A real fighter. He is tall and strong. In 2004, I thought Vanes was the best boxer on the U.S. Olympic team.”
Golovkin, 36, a Kazakhstan native fighting out of Santa Monica, California, apparently forgot that the star of that team was the lone American gold medalist, Andre Ward, who went on to win world titles at super middleweight and light heavyweight and then retired undefeated last year with his election to the International Boxing Hall of Fame a lock.
Martirosyan (36-3-1, 21 KOs), 31, who lost both of his junior middleweight world title opportunities, by split decision to Demetrius Andrade in 2013 and unanimous decision to Erislandy Lara in his most recent fight in May 2016, also got in his digs at Alvarez.
“Regarding Canelo, you have to ask, ‘Why did he flunk two drug tests? Why did he withdraw from VADA [testing]?’ I don’t believe him. I don’t buy his excuse about tainted meat,” Martirosyan said. “If, God forbid, I had tested positive because of accidentally eating something, I would have myself tested every day to prove I was clean. No one wants to see someone cheat his way into a fight.
“That’s why fans love Triple G. Because he is so good in the ring and because he is clean. He has always been tested. He wants boxing to be a clean sport as do I.”