Declaring that he was ending talks for a Sept. 15 rematch between Canelo Alvarez and unified middleweight world champion Gennady Golovkin on Tuesday night, Golden Boy Promotions CEO Oscar De La Hoya declared that "the Canelo train has left the station."
But might that train soon return to the station?
Tom Loeffler, Golovkin's promoter, told ESPN on Wednesday night that Golovkin had a change of heart and was willing to come off his insistence on parity for a rematch most believe would easily outperform the 1.3 million pay-per-view buys and $27 million gate their controversial draw generated in September.
"Gennady has agreed to come off his 50-50 demand," Loeffler said, shortly after Golovkin had been stripped of his IBF belt for not facing Sergiy Derevyanchenko, the organization's mandatory challenger. "Gennady wants the rematch with Canelo regardless of what Oscar says. He always wanted the fight with Canelo.
"He will come down to 55-45, which makes Canelo the A side. It will be Canelo making 55 percent in a rematch against GGG, which will be much bigger than the first fight was for sure. The rematch with GGG is his biggest fight by far and Gennady's biggest fight. That's the fight we want."
For the fight in September, Alvarez got the lion's share of a 70-30 split. When Alvarez (49-1-2, 34 KOs) failed two drug tests in February for the performance-enhancing drug clenbuterol and was suspended for six months by the Nevada State Athletic Commission, the rematch, scheduled for May 5 at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, was canceled and the fighters traded harsh words.
Golovkin faced short-notice replacement Vanes Martirosyan in Carson, California, instead and blew him out in two rounds. Then the sides turned their attention toward trying to put the rematch back together for the fall.
They cleared a major obstacle when Alvarez signed up for year-round Voluntary Anti-Doping Association testing and then eventually agreed on a 65-35 split in Alvarez's favor.
Golden Boy sent out the contract, but weeks later, Golovkin (38-0-1, 34 KOs) still had not signed. He ultimately refused to sign and insisted on redoing the deal on a 50-50 split.
De La Hoya eventually increased Golovkin's share to 40 percent, but GGG continued to stand firm on parity.
Finally, on Tuesday, De La Hoya had had enough and told ESPN they were moving on, even making a formal contract offer to top contender and former secondary titlist Daniel Jacobs (34-2, 29 KOs), who had given GGG a very tough fight in a close decision loss in March 2017.
"He's stubborn and wanting 50-50 and it's not going to happen," De La Hoya said Tuesday. "The Canelo train has left the station. So there's a deal on the table for Daniel Jacobs to fight Sept. 15 against Canelo. ... So we're just moving forward and making sure that Canelo has the toughest dance partner possible for Sept. 15."
Even though Golovkin is now willing to come down on his asking price, what about De La Hoya's declaration that they were moving on?
"I'm not negotiating with Oscar. I'm negotiating with Eric Gomez," Loeffler said of the Golden Boy Promotions president, who has been the company's point person in the discussions. "I spoke to Eric [on Wednesday] and he's going to go to Oscar and Canelo and see if they can get something done."
Gomez was traveling Wednesday from Los Angeles to Verona, New York, for Golden Boy's ESPN2-televised card on Friday night, but when reached during his layover in Chicago, he said he had spoken to Loeffler but did not know whether De La Hoya and Alvarez would be willing to return to the bargaining table.
"I just spoke to Tom a little bit ago," Gomez said. "I told him I am going to be speaking to Oscar about it, and then we will talk to Canelo. We'll see what happens."