Gennady Golovkin and Canelo Alvarez will meet again May 5 to settle their unresolved draw, following extended negotiating and bickering by both boxers' camps.
Golovkin promoter Tom Loeffler told the Times early Monday afternoon that his three-belt middleweight champion from Kazakhstan has agreed to the rematch, which will be broadcast by HBO pay-per-view.
"He's been ready for this rematch since the last fight," Loeffler said of Golovkin, who'll turn 36 on April 8. "He didn't agree with two of the judges' cards. He feels he and Canelo owe this to the sport of boxing, and now that the deal is done, he'll make an even more emphatic statement on the outcome of this bout.
"When you feel you've won eight out of 12 rounds, it's hard to criticize yourself, but I think he'll start faster, and no one expected Canelo to move for 12 rounds straight. Gennady will be prepared for that movement this time."
Golovkin (37-0-1, 33 knockouts), who was visibly upset by the scores in the first bout, tweeted "This time we won't need the judges" for his fifth defense of his World Boxing Council, World Boxing Assn. and International Boxing Federation middleweight belts.
"I am ready to battle Canelo again and happy he took this fight," Golovkin wrote in a prepared statement. "This is the fight the world wants. This is the fight boxing deserves. This time, there will be no doubt. I am leaving the ring as the middleweight champion of the world."
Alvarez (49-1-2, 34 KOs) was in Paris with promoter Oscar De La Hoya on Monday to visit a sponsor. Alvarez is interested in increasing his endurance for the rematch and is exploring training in the high altitude, with Colorado Springs under consideration, De La Hoya said.
"He's serious about this fight and he wants no judge to decide this outcome," De La Hoya said. "It's an excellent idea. It worked for me and I believe it's going to work for Canelo on Cinco de Mayo."
The deal was covertly signed Saturday night at the Forum with Loeffler and De La Hoya in attendance during title victories by Jorge Linares and Lucas Matthysse. The bout's location has not been confirmed yet. Las Vegas' T-Mobile Arena is expected to again host the fight, but Madison Square Garden has "expressed a large interest, larger than what we generated in the first fight," Loeffler said. The deal is expected to be finalized in February.
"I'm delighted to once again participate in one of the most important boxing events in history," Alvarez said in a statement. "The second fight is for the benefit and pleasure of all fans who desire to see the best fight the best. This time, Golovkin won't have any excuses regarding the judges because I'm coming back to knock him out."
Earlier this month, Eric Gomez, the president of Alvarez's promotional company, Golden Boy, told The Times the deal was days from being done, that Alvarez had agreed to all deal points with no rematch clause in place.
Golovkin was in Kazakhstan at the time and was irked by how the story appeared, ordering talks frozen until he returned to the United States and scrutinized the remaining deal points until they were reopened for discussion.
"It created some internal issues. We had to finalize the last points. Unless it's done, it can't get announced," Loeffler said. "It got worked out with concessions from both sides."
The first bout, on Sept. 16, was ruled a draw after judge Dave Moretti scored it 115-113 in Golovkin's favor while veteran judge Adalaide Byrd ignited a firestorm of controversy by giving the more popular, former two-division champion Alvarez 10 of the 12 rounds with a 118-110 score. Judge Don Trella had the bout even, 114-114, as did The Times in its unofficial scorecard.
The 27-year-old Alvarez likely will be backed by a strong crowd on Cinco de Mayo, although Golovkin has long been a favorite among Latinos given his study of and fighting resemblance to Mexican great Julio Cesar Chavez Sr.
The lack of a rematch clause ultimately may complicate a possible trilogy bout, especially with the presence of World Boxing Organization middleweight champion Billy Joe Saunders and former WBA secondary champion Daniel Jacobs available as alternate foes whose bouts are also televised by HBO.
"Eric [Gomez] and I agreed, let's get this deal done and then we'll go from there," Loeffler said. "Gennady needs Canelo and Canelo needs GGG to do these kinds of numbers at the gate and on pay-per-view."
The first bout generated in excess of $26 million in live-gate revenue, with an estimated 1.3 million pay-per-view buys, creating around $80 million in total sales.
De La Hoya said without losing the dollars that were taken away by the Floyd Mayweather Jr.-Conor McGregor novelty boxing match three weeks before the first Golovkin-Alvarez fight, the rematch could generate "as close as three times" more revenue.
"There's nothing serious that will interrupt Cinco de Mayo," De La Hoya said. "Canelo and Triple-G are proven commodities. They've proven the first time around was a real, great fight, and I believe this fight will be greater.
"Canelo will be able to adjust, and the fact he did so well late is a big deal. Canelo is only improving. … If Golovkin wants to prepare for Canelo's movement, he better also prepare for his aggressiveness, or Canelo will knock him out."
3:30 p.m.: This article was updated with additional information and quotes from Oscar De La Hoya.
1:40 p.m.: This article was updated with background information.