A crowd of about 2,000 fans stood in a long line that circled around a grocery store and out into a parking lot where it was 110 degrees. They were there to see Gennady Golovkin.
For a couple of hours, they did what he has been doing for months.
Golovkin has been waiting for a third fight against Canelo Alvarez. Yet, that third bout seemed as far away as ever Friday, the day after Canelo was stripped of the International Boxing Federation’s version of the middleweight title.
“Who knows,” Golovkin said when asked about chances at a third bout. “Ask him. I’m ready.’’
For now, it looks as if Golovkin has a much better chance at fighting Sergiy Derevyanchenko for the vacant IBF belt in either late October or early November.
“We’re working on that,” Golovkin said as he signed one more autograph, jumped into the back of a waiting car and headed to Phoenix airport for a flight home to Los Angeles.
Golovkin advisor Tom Loeffler said negotiations had begun with Derevyanchenko, who is represented by Lou DiBella. However, Loeffler confirmed that Derevyanchenko was a possibility. The IBF stripped Canelo of the 160-pound belt after the two sides failed to reach an agreement.
“Gennady has always been ready to fight him, ready for that third fight,’’ said Loeffler, who accompanied GGG to Phoenix for an autograph session sponsored by a Mexican beer. “But if not, he can’t wait. He has to move on.’’
Golvokin signed a six-fight deal with DAZN last March, nearly six months after he lost a majority decision to Canelo in a Sept. 15 rematch in Las Vegas. They fought to a draw in September 2017. Canelo had already signed a landmark, $350-million deal with DAZN when GGG signed with the streaming network.
“That was the quickest way to a third fight,’’ Loeffler said.
It was speculated that the third bout would happen in September. In mid-July, however, Golden Boy Promotions announced that Canelo would forgo his expected appearance in a bout that had begun to be a traditional part of Mexico’s celebration of its Sept. 16 Independence Day. Canelo also fought in early May as part of Cinco de Mayo.
“Gennady thought he would be fighting on September 14,’’ Loeffler said “At some point, however, he has to move on with his career.’'
Canelo’s decision to forgo the expected September date for a bout later in the year, however, excluded any plans for the third leg in a trilogy with GGG. Instead, Golden Boy first negotiated for a bout with Russian Sergey Kovalev at 175 pounds. When those talks failed, Golden Boy turned to Derevyanchenko. No deal could be reached, prompting the IBF’s decision to strip Canelo.
Canelo apologized to his fans via social media Friday. He said he no idea what Golden Boy discussed with the IBF about deadlines for the negotiations, which failed and finally led to him losing the acronym’s title without him ever throwing a punch.
“Things have happened that Gennady has no control over,’’ Loeffler said. “He can only control his own career.’’