Gennady Golovkin still struggling to land marquee fights

Gennady Golovkin will not step inside the ring again in 2016, which will mark the first instance since 2012 that he has not fought at least three times in a calendar year.

Unfortunately for Golovkin, his frustrating 2016 campaign is solely due to logical foes using every possible measure to avoid fighting him.

Just over a year ago, Gennady Golovkin stopped David Lemieux at Madison Square Garden on HBO pay-per-view. Golovkin-Lemieux was a compelling middleweight unification fight, but more importantly, it was a rare opportunity for Golovkin (36-0, 33 KOs) to face a relatively marquee opponent — something that has proved maddeningly elusive for GGG.

Although Golovkin-Lemieux was one-sided, it had pockets of compelling action, and Lemieux, in absorbing a brutal beating, showed courage and a championship-level heart. Also, unlike other top 160-pounders, Lemieux actually stepped up and fought Golovkin — something that boxing fans have come to realize is now the exception to the rule.

It looked like Gennady Golovkin was going to headline on HBO on December 10 against Daniel Jacobs (32-1, 29 KOs), which is the best fight that can be made at middleweight (other than GGG-Canelo, of course). Now, though, the Jacobs fight has fallen through due to — what else? — asinine demands and technicalities. Here are some details courtesy of ESPN.com’s Dan Rafael:

The sides were in discussions for the fight to take place on Dec. 10. HBO, which has Golovkin under contract, committed to the date and Madison Square Garden in New York was on hold.

But the sides have not been able to reach an agreement, and they don’t want to go to a purse bid. So Golovkin promoter Tom Loeffler of K2 Promotions told ESPN on Tuesday that they have thrown in the towel on the fight taking place on Dec. 10.

Loeffler said he is still talking with Al Haymon, Jacobs’ adviser, about making the fight, but they lost a lot of time when talks were put on hold while the WBA took its time to rule on what the split of a purse bid should be. The Jacobs camp requested that the WBA reconsider its standard 75-25 split in favor of the “super” titleholder, Golovkin in this case. Jacobs wanted the split set at 60-40. Ultimately, the WBA ruled it would remain 75-25.

It’s natural for any fighter to maximize their earning power, but Daniel Jacobs and his team’s insistence on a 60-40 purse split reads as a smokescreen. With the optics suggesting that Jacobs and his handlers are simply avoiding the fight, the WBA “regular” champion now joins the ranks of Canelo Alvarez and Billy Joe Saunders as Golovkin targets who have failed in their duties as championship-calibre fighters.

“Championship-caliber” is indeed an operative expression here. Although Golovkin would be favored to defeat Jacobs, Saunders and Canelo Alvarez, all three are worthy of sharing the ring with GGG. And yet, a disturbing fallacy has emerged — that a perpetual postponement, that keeping Golovkin one fight away, will somehow — magically, it seems — lead to more optimal preparedness.

David Lemieux, though, debunked this theory. In October 2015, a then-26-year-old Lemieux was as ready as he would ever be to fight someone as special as Gennady Golovkin. A pedestrian title defense or two, or the mere passing of six-to-twelve months, would have made no difference. Lemieux took his shot, came up short and is now embarking on a promising rebuilding phase with his overall reputation only enhanced.

With situations like Gennady Golovkin-Daniel Jacobs, everyone gets robbed. Boxing fans are robbed of a compelling match-up between elite power punchers; Jacobs’ reputation and standing in the sport suffers; and, most frustratingly, Golovkin is stonewalled into imposed inactivity at age 34. As Kurt Vonnegut once wrote, “So it goes.”

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