What might have been the best boxing match of the summer is in trouble, according to the manager and promoter of Julio Cesar Chavez Jr.
The sticking point for a planned super-middleweight bout between Mexico’s Chavez and middleweight world champion Gennady Golovkin (29-0, 26 knockouts) at the Forum on July 19 is promoter Bob Arum’s interest in retaining Chavez (48-1-1, 32 KOs) for at least one more fight.
“The deal [for Chavez to fight Golovkin] was for $7 million, and if he’d do one more fight, we’d pay him a minimum of $5 million if he lost, or a minimum of $10 million if he won,” Arum said.
“They said no, so we offered them $2 million-plus, plus the upside [of pay-per-view sales.] They wouldn’t take the risk. In my opinion, the fight is off.”
Arum said the risk of relying on pay-per-view sales for profits is real, considering July 19 is one week after the most popular fighter from Mexico, Saul “Canelo” Alvarez, fights Cuba’s Erislandy Lara in a pay-per-view light-middleweight bout at MGM Grand in Las Vegas.
Chavez-Golovkin, however, is considered a more competitive fight, boasting the name value of the son of the Mexican legend and the spiraling interest in the powerful Golovkin, who boasts the best knockout percentage (90%) of any world champion.
“I’m not in the business of blowing my brains out,” Arum said of the idea of simply paying Chavez $7 million and letting him potentially walk as a free agent. “Doing the fight the week after Canelo eats up some of the advertising dollars that might go to us. Plus, we’d be competing against the Canelo replay [on Showtime.]”
Chavez manager Billy Keane of Los Angeles said a 70% purse reduction for not accepting an extension is excessive. Keane said industry experts believe Chavez-Golovkin would generate around 375,000 pay-per-view buys, valued at $10 million.
Golovkin has accepted a purse of just more than $2 million plus pay-per-view bonuses if buys exceed 375,000, Keane said.
Considering that and the fact Arum can still draw profits from live-gate sales and other means, Keane said Chavez's guaranteed money should be greater.
"We're at an impasse," Top Rank President Todd duBoef said.
The sides could continue fighting over Arum’s insistence that he has Chavez under contract until October 2015 due to the fighter’s nine-month suspension for a positive marijuana test following his September 2012 loss to Sergio Martinez.
"That adds nine months to our time," Arum said.
Golovkin manager Tom Loeffler said it’s “unfortunate” Chavez won’t strike a deal after Golovkin “made many concessions,” to participate in what would have been his first pay-per-view. DuBoef said he expects Golovkin's team to seek another July opponent.
Arum said he’s willing to listen again to Chavez proposals to make the fight, perhaps shifting the date to
July 26 or to the fall.
“We just need to agree to a number that’s fair without an extension, and then we’ll sit down again with Top Rank and try to make a better deal [for the future],” Keane said.