Aside from his own team and family, Dominic Wade wasn’t anybody’s preferred choice for Gennady Golovkin’s next opponent. The fight most of the boxing world would like to see is GGG vs. Canelo Alvarez. Golovkin stopped the bold but overmatched David Lemieux to unify the WBA and IBF belts last October. Canelo lifted the WBC and lineal middleweight title from Miguel Cotto in November. The next step should have been a matter of course.
Instead, Alvarez will face Amir Khan in May.
Canelo defeated the man who defeated Sergio Martinez and Martinez defeated Kelly Pavlik, the man who defeated Jermain Taylor. Taylor beat Bernard Hopkins, who unified all four alphabet-soup belts, to become a true, undisputed champion. From a pure, historical perspective, few boxing champions on the planet have a greater claim to legitimacy.
But Canelo seriously compromises that legitimacy every time he fights anybody but Golovkin.
Martinez compromised the legitimacy of his claim by fighting Cotto, instead of Golovkin. But Martinez was a 40-year-old champion, coming off from multiple surgeries over the past two years. Cotto was the bigger payday than GGG and I can’t really fault him for taking it.
Cotto’s choice of Canelo over Golovkin can be forgiven, too. Cotto vs. Canelo was the biggest pay-per-view option in the sport, in the wake of Floyd Mayweather vs. Manny Pacquiao.
But now that Alvarez has defeated Cotto, there’s no excuse for him fighting anybody but Golovkin. Alvarez is a champion in his prime. He’s just as big as Golovkin. A fight between him and Golovkin is bigger than any other possible fight in the sport right now.
Instead, Golovkin will face Dominic Wade this weekend.
It’s unfortunate that Wade’s unwelcome spot in this bout leaves him unfairly dismissed in some corners. Wade is a legitimately skilled boxer. He had a very good amateur career and has a pair of very good wins, over former champion Sam Soliman and Nick Brinson, a tough and talented fringe contender. Wade definitely belongs in the division’s top 10 and you can make a great case for the top 15.
But he’s exactly the sort of fighter GGG has feasted upon, in episode after episode of his Big Drama Show.