As boxing fans, we want to see the best fight the best, every single time. But the business does not work that way. As professional prizefighters have every right to treat their careers as a business.
Not only is it a business, but it is a dangerous one. Careers are short. Even a payday that looks big on paper can get chomped down by expenses. The risks, of course, are enormous. Indeed, it is no exaggeration to state that prizefighters risk everything.
So there are very good reasons that fights sometimes go unmade. Sometimes these reasons are complicated, grounded in the intricacies of the business.
But sometimes they are simple. Sometimes a one fighter simply avoids another because he knows he has little chance to defeat him, and he is not willing to risk his health for less than enough to take care of himself and his family for life.
That is hardly an unreasonable position for a fighter to take. But at a certain point, this sort of caution can backfire. A prizefighter who is reckoned over-cautious can eventually find it difficult to earn any sort of payday at all.
Gennady Golovkin has been the most avoided fighter of the past five years. The only fighter to show any real interest in facing the Kazakhstan native has been Andre Ward, a pound-for-pound star now getting set to compete two full weight classes above Golovkin’s 160-pound, middleweight limit.
A lot of fans have naturally wanted to see GGG paired with Saul Alvarez, especially since Alvarez captured the lineal middleweight title from Miguel Cotto last year. But Alvarez has shown no sign of wanting anything to do with GGG.
For serious boxing fans, the real interesting fight for Golovkin has been Daniel Jacobs. Jacobs knocked out Peter Quillin in sensational fashion last year. After Golokvin stopped Kell Brook this year, the WBA ordered a mandatory fight between Jacobs and Golovkin.
It should take place this December. Jacobs and his team held out for a better purse split than the customary 75-25. They did not get it.
It will still be the best possible payday Jacobs can get right now. And the upside for defeating Golovkin is that Jacob would become one of the sport’s new major stars. The risk of fighting Golovkin is substantial for any 160-pound man. But the potential reward is also enormous.
But Jacob would have to win the fight, to claim that reward. It is beginning to look like he might doubt his chances. After the drawn-out purse bid was settled, the fight has ow been pushed back to next year, since December 10 has been viewed as too soon for an adequate training camp for Jacobs.
It is tough to buy this as a credible excuse. Golovkin has been the monster of the division for a few years now. There is no excuse for any fighter not preparing for him well in advance of a date finally getting set.
Jacobs is clearly the No. 2 man in the division, behind Golovkin. But if he is not willing to face the No. 1 man, his own status is ultimately meaningless.