On the same day of the stunning Canelo Alvarez vs. Amir Khan announcement, consensus #1 middleweight Gennady Golovkin (34-0, 31 KOs) had his own fight confirmed for April 23rd, precisely two weeks for Canelo/Khan takes place. ESPN’s Dan Rafael reported on Tuesday that agreements (and network approval) are in for Golovkin to face IBF mandatory challenger Dominic Wade (18-0, 12 KOs) on HBO at The Forum in Los Angeles, where Golovkin lives and has an established fanbase.
I’m told that Golovkin-Wade is agreed to and approved by HBO. April 23, likely at the Forum in LA. #boxing
— Dan Rafael (@danrafaelespn) February 2, 2016
Wade wasn’t actually the initial IBF #1 contender, but the sanctioning body passed that torch to him after Tureano Johnson, who’d won a title eliminator bout in October, couldn’t make the April date after opting for shoulder surgery. Talks for Golovkin to fight WBO middleweight champion Billy Joe Saunders also fell flat, as Saunders’ team turned the 4/23 date down. So with options running out — boxing’s middleweight division isn’t particularly deep — and the only way out of an IBF mandatory defense is a title unification bout, Wade ended up being Golovkin’s next
The unbeaten 25-year-old out hasn’t fought since a controversial split decision win over veteran Sam Soliman in June 2015. He also holds a win over former UFC lightweight Dashon Johnson, who knocked Wade down in the opening round but ended up losing a six-round unanimous decision. Otherwise, Wade has never been in a scheduled 12 round bout, most of his competition is in the journeyman-to-tomato can range, and he’s probably in for a rough night.
Golovkin made his PPV headlining debut last October, winning by 8th round TKO over Canadian power-puncher David Lemieux in front of a sold out Madison Square Garden. The PPV buyrate only totaled an estimated 150,000, which solidifies GGG’s spot as a regular arena draw, an HBO TV draw, but not currently someone who fans will pay to watch on TV. The WBA and IBF champion eyes complete title unification of all the middleweight bouts (hence the talks to face Saunders), and it’s expected that if he beats Wade and Canelo beats Khan, we will see Canelo vs. Golovkin in September 2016 in a massive clash between two of the sport’s very best boxers.
Long story short – Golovkin is going to be a comically massive favorite to beat Wade, so this is just a stay-busy title defense while he and his team angle for a huge fight vs. Canelo.
Side note, remember when the UFC and GGG’s promoter had both placed holds on an April 23rd date at Madison Square Garden? So much for that.
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