After a long saga, ‘The Nightmare’ was eventually confirmed as Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez’s May 5th replacement and will fight the IBF, WBA and WBC champ Golovkin [37(33)-0-1] at the StubHub Center in Carson California.
The bout has been moved across the Nevada border and will now play-out on regular HBO rather than pay-per-view, with an opening press conference taking place yesterday.
Cork’s Gary O’Sullivan [27(19)-2(1)] was in the running and at one stage was the favourite to step in and fight the feared Asian – and, admittedly, was also a much-criticised potential choice from certain sections.
However, after the ‘goalposts were moved’ financially, the Mahon man pulled out of the race last minute favouring a more lucrative longer-term offer from Golden Boy which may lead to the winner of the GGG-Canelo rematch – if and when that fight eventually takes place.
There, however, seems to be a ‘didn’t like you anyway’ narrative coming through, with Team Golovkin arguing that Martirosyan is a better opponent for next weekend’s Cinco de Mayo clash.
The Armenian-American comes into the clash as a huge underdog – he moves up in weight to meet a noted puncher and has lost three of his last six fights. Not to mention he last fought in May 2016 when he lost a twelve round decision to Erislandy Lara.
However, Loeffler argues the two-time light middleweight title challenger brings more to the table than O’Sullivan – who reverts to his original plan of fighting on May 4th on ESPN and faces Puerto Rican welterweight Berlin Abreu [14(11)-1(1)].
In fairness to the promoter, it is his job to sell the fight and he makes the claim based on Martirosyan’s experience and recognisability from televised cards as well as his potential to sell tickets in the Los Angeles area.
“We believe that Vanes has better credentials than Spike. No offense to him, he’s fighting on Friday night in a great opportunity on ESPN. But naturally the financials change when you’re going from pay-per-view and a big arena in Las Vegas to regular HBO and a venue like StubHub,” Loeffler said yesterday.
“We weren’t able to work out a deal with Spike, but we feel that Vanes, especially being rated number one by the WBC, and you can the popularity with his fans from Glendale – he has a very strong fan base here – it just made sense all the way around when Don King mentioned that he was interested.”
“Nobody can underestimate Vanes, with his experience, his amateur experience. He will not be intimidated walking into that ring.”
O’Sullivan starts off a revised three-fight deal with Golden Boy the night previous at the same venue versus Abreu. The U.S. promoter then intends to sync the Leesider with the mooted Golovkin-Canelo rematch on September 15th. 33-year-old O’Sullivan and his team believe, should he win his next two bouts, that he will be in a position to fight for the middleweight title afterward, preferably versus the more lucrative Canelo on Cinco de Mayo 2019.