Gennady Golovkin's promoter said Monday that "talks are continuing" for a mandatory middleweight title fight against Daniel Jacobs and there's "a positive outlook" to striking a deal by early next month.
Tom Loeffler said he's planning a discussion this week with Jacobs' manager Al Haymon after an extended talk between the pair last week.
Although Loeffler declined to discuss further details of the talks, boxing officials aware of the negotiations said a March 18 HBO bout at Madison Square Garden in New York is being eyed.
Another boxing official told the Los Angeles Times that a super-flyweight title rematch between champion Roman "Chocolatito" Gonzalez and former champion Carlos Cuadras of Mexico is positioned to be added as a co-main event to Golovkin-Jacobs.
Gonzalez's unanimous-decision victory over Cuadras on Sept. 10 at the Forum is in contention for the Boxing Writers Assn. of America fight of the year award.
Golovkin (36-0, 33 knockouts) last fought on Sept. 10 in London, stopping welterweight champion Kell Brook in the fifth round with a broken orbital bone.
Jacobs (32-01, 29 KOs), the World Boxing Assn. secondary middleweight champion from Brooklyn, is the mandatory challenger to WBA champion Golovkin, who also wears the World Boxing Council and International Boxing Federation belts.
Talks have dragged on as the WBA enforced a rule that stipulates the full champion is entitled to a 75-25 purse-split percentage over the regular champion, prompting negotiations to avoid a purse bid that would keep the 75-25 split in place.
Golovkin is aiming for a September showdown against Mexico's Canelo Alvarez, who's recovering from a hand injury and is expected to fight at middleweight in the first half of 2017, perhaps against World Boxing Organization champion Billy Joe Saunders.
Meanwhile, Loeffler objected to a report in which new unbeaten light-heavyweight champion Andre Ward said he was previously told Golovkin wouldn't fight him until 2018.
"I don't know where he got 2018 from," Loeffler said. "I told him [in 2015] that we had obligations for 2016 and once we did that, a fight with Ward would be realistic.
"No one could've predicted Canelo would then vacate his [WBC] belt or that Saunders, despite a very strong offer from us, would decide to do something else."
Those moves triggered delays that could indeed postpone a Ward bout until 2018, though. Loeffler said his "clear path" for Golovkin is Jacobs, then Alvarez, then a possible move to 168 pounds, where champion Gilberto Ramirez of Mexico and the Jan. 14 winner of James DeGale-Badou Jack in Brooklyn would await.
"Ward is now two divisions ahead of Gennady. We also never said we wouldn't fight him at 168 [pounds]," Loeffler said, referring to the super-middleweight limit.
Unbeaten Ward claimed three light-heavyweight belts on Nov. 19 by defeating Russia's Sergey Kovalev by unanimous decision (114-113 on all three scorecards) at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas.
Loeffler said the fact there were empty seats in the arena underlines the fact that Oakland's Ward can't stage a bigger bout than against Golovkin, who has sold out Madison Square Garden, the Forum and London's O2 arena in his three most recent bouts.