Gennady Golovkin’s opponent failed to show for Tuesday’s news conference at L.A. Live's Conga Room.
Many don’t expect much of a difference between that and April 23, when heavy underdog Dominic Wade is responsible for appearing at the Forum to fight Golovkin, who’s seeking to extend his 21-fight knockout streak.
Golovkin (34-0, 31 knockouts) was forced to take the consolation date against his mandatory International Boxing Federation middleweight foe Wade (18-0, 12 KOs) after Mexico’s new World Boxing Council middleweight champion Saul “Canelo” Alvarez balked at a title unification bout.
Alvarez opted instead to take an HBO pay-per-view date May 7 against former 140-pound champion Amir Khan of England.
Before his news conference began Tuesday, Golovkin was asked what he thought, as a boxer and as a man, about Alvarez’s reluctance to pursue an immediate meeting.
“That’s a good question. This is a business, [sometimes] a terrible business,” Golovkin said. “I’m a boxer. Of course, I’m ready.”
He said Alvarez-Khan “is not good for boxing. Amir Khan, he’s not bad … [Canelo] will knock the hell out of him. This is true. … There’s a big difference in size. … I need a chance. Give me the chance.”
There have been rumblings that Alvarez’s promoter, Golden Boy Promotions, would like to stall an Alvarez-Golovkin date until 2017, but Golovkin promoter Tom Loeffler said there’s a signed agreement in place that the Alvarez-Khan winner has to agree to negotiate with Golovkin within 15 days after their bout at Las Vegas’ new T-Mobile Arena, or the WBC belt goes to Golovkin.
“We’ve always said Canelo is a very proud champion who’s taken very risky fights before for much less money than he’d get for Gennady,” Loeffler said. “Right now, it’s the biggest fight in the sport.”
Alvarez balked after less than 150,000 viewers bought Golovkin’s title-unification pay-per-view victory over Canada’s David Lemieux in October at Madison Square Garden.
There’s obvious thinking from the Alvarez camp that Kazakhstan’s Golovkin still has audience building to do. Alvarez’s November victory over former champion Miguel Cotto drew 900,000 buys.
Still, Golovkin’s trainer, Abel Sanchez, said Alvarez’s reluctance is a convincing mind-game victory for Golovkin.
“Gennady’s saying, ‘I’m here.’ … For Canelo to back out … if he completely says he doesn’t want to fight Gennady [in May], that’s good enough for Gennady,” Sanchez said.
As for Golovkin’s April 23 foe Wade, who was unable to travel from Washington, D.C., because of weather, Sanchez said a title shot is powerful motivation that must be considered by Golovkin as he enters training camp next week in Big Bear.
Golovkin “has to be perfect now,” Sanchez admitted. “[Wade] understands this is his opportunity.
“Every coach trains for a 12-round fight. [Golovkin] will be prepared for 12 rounds. If it’s less, then it’s less. Whether it’s Dominic Wade or a knockout, the important part [for Golovkin] is to look good doing it.”
Golovkin said he never heard of Wade before he emerged as the opponent. He won’t see him in person until Thursday’s news conference in New York.
Tickets for Golovkin-Wade went on sale Tuesday. Loeffler said more than 6,000 seats were already sold, with the Forum’s capacity at just more than 16,000.
Follow Lance Pugmire on Twitter @latimespugmire