The rematch between unified middleweight world champion Gennady Golovkin and Canelo Alvarez looms as the biggest fight of the year, but the bitter rivals won't meet in person at a traditional news conference to kick off the official promotion of the fight.
In an unusual move, they won't see each other face-to-face until the final prefight news conference during the week of the fight -- and then one more time at the weigh-in -- before they square off on Sept. 15 (HBO PPV, 8 p.m. ET) at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas.
Instead, it was announced on Friday they would instead discuss the rematch via a split-screen satellite conference on Facebook on Tuesday (4 p.m. ET). Neither side was all that interested in the drama or cost of another news conference for a fight that has already received massive publicity.
"There is serious bad blood between these fighters," Golden Boy Promotions CEO Oscar De La Hoya, Alvarez's promoter, said on Friday. "The fight is personal, and the stakes are high. Canelo will, without a doubt, want to shut Golovkin up, and the only way to do it is by knocking him out on Sept. 15. I have no doubts that our champion will walk away with the victory."
The rematch of last September's heavily disputed draw in a fight most thought Golovkin won was initially scheduled to take place on May 5, and they did meet face to face at an elaborate outdoor news conference/fan rally in downtown Los Angeles shortly after the deal for the fight was finalized. But then Alvarez failed two Voluntary Anti-Doping Association administered drug tests for the banned performance-enhancing drug clenbuterol in February. The fight was canceled and Alvarez was suspended for six months by the Nevada State Athletic Commission.
It led to extremely harsh words between the fighters and accusations from Golovkin that Alvarez had also doped before the first fight, despite having no evidence. With the May 5 rematch canceled, Golovkin, a Kazakhstan native now living in Santa Monica, California, instead faced late notice opponent Vanes Martirosyan on that date in Carson, California, for a only about $1 million -- instead of the roughly $25 million he would have made had the rematch taken place as scheduled -- and knocked him out in the second round.
The rancor in putting the rematch back together for the fall was intense, and the fight nearly did not come together until they agreed to terms shortly after the deadline imposed by Golden Boy Promotions. Golovkin had held out for 45 percent of the pie after originally accepting 35 percent but changing his mind because he was still so angry with Alvarez over the failed drug tests and the canceled May 5 fight.
The deal was struck three weeks ago, and Golovkin (38-0-1, 34 KOs), 36, and his team, including promoter Tom Loeffler and trainer Abel Sanchez, met the media at a downtown Los Angeles steakhouse and spoke at length about the rematch deal and their fight expectations.
"I am happy that the deal is done and the rematch is back on," Golovkin said in a statement Friday. "I am ready to get back to work in Big Bear [Lake, California,] with Abel. This is the biggest fight for boxing, the fight everyone wants. It is a fight to see who is best. It is for boxing history.
"I am happy to be defending my titles on Mexican Independence Day, a great stage for true Mexican-style boxing. Canelo can walk to the ring last. Canelo can be introduced last. The important thing is who leaves the ring last, and that will be me, as world champion, the people's champion. See you at the Big Drama Show."
Alvarez (49-1-2, 34 KOs), 27, has been out of sight since the rematch deal was made and he has not been talking to the media other than a couple of statements, including one issued Friday.
"The truth is that this fight means a lot to me because of all that has happened and all that has been said," Alvarez said. "I will prove with my fists that I am the best, and Golovkin will eat all of his words and speculations. I will demonstrate who is the best when I defeat Golovkin soundly on Sept. 15 during [Mexican] Independence Day weekend, and I'll make it clear that Mexican boxing is the best."
Even without a head-to-head news conference before fight week, most expect the bout to generate even more money than the first one. The fight last fall generated 1.3 million pay-per-view buys and a $27 million gate -- the third-biggest in boxing history. The promoters also announced Friday that there will be a pre-sale for tickets ranging from $300 to $5,000 that will run from Saturday through Monday, with details available on the Golden Boy website and the full public sale beginning Tuesday at 1 p.m. ET via AXS and T-Mobile Arena.
They expect the live gate to smash the total raked in for the first fight.
"It's hard to believe that there could be bigger drama than the negotiations we just concluded to make the rematch -- again. The rematch has a much bigger feel to it because of all the controversy and is the biggest fight in boxing," Loeffler said. "It's also the third consecutive time Gennady has taken over a major Mexican holiday to showcase his exciting Mexican style of fighting. This rematch transcends a championship boxing match and has become an international sporting event where it will be shown in over 150 countries worldwide.
"Gennady is bringing his belts and his resolve to prove he is still the best middleweight of his era and boxing's No. 1 pound-for-pound fighter. He won the first fight against Canelo in the eyes of millions of viewers who tuned in last September, and he will do it again on Mexican Independence Day, with his [middleweight division] record-breaking 21st consecutive title defense. It's his destiny."