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Nation, World Sports

Last-ditch efforts revive Gennady Golovkin-Canelo Alvarez II rematch

| Wednesday, June 13, 2018, 10:24 p.m.
Canelo Alvarez (left) fights Gennady Golovkin during a middleweight title fight Sunday, Sept. 17, 2017, in Las Vegas.
Canelo Alvarez (left) fights Gennady Golovkin during a middleweight title fight Sunday, Sept. 17, 2017, in Las Vegas.

In boxing, threats, promises and deadlines are but grains in a giant salt shaker, so the boxing world didn't exactly lose its collective mind when Oscar De La Hoya declared Wednesday afternoon the most anticipated fight of the year was dead. The Golden Boy chief executive told ESPN that “100 percent there is no fight.”

Less than two hours after saying Gennady Golovkin-Canelo Alvarez II was off the table, Alvarez's promoter reversed course and said a last-ditch effort to stage the rematch worked. After months of bickering, the two prize fighters agreed to terms and will finally square off Sept. 15.

The rematch is scheduled to come nearly a year to the day of their first meeting, a draw at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, the planned site for the rematch.

De La Hoya's announcement late Wednesday capped an afternoon of suspense — real, imagined, perhaps both. Golden Boy had given Golovkin a 3 p.m. deadline to accept what the promoter called its final offer.

“No fight. There is no fight,” De La Hoya told ESPN shortly after the deadline passed.

About the same time, Tom Loeffler, Golovkin's promoter, told the Los Angeles Times the two fighters “haven't come to a deal.”

Despite the tough talk from Alvarez's camp, the two sides did not break off communication, and two hours later, the fighters apparently ironed out their differences. Terms of the deal were not immediately disclosed, but both likely stand to earn comfortable eight-figure purses when all the tickets are sold and pay-per-view buys counted.

“It's finally on,” Loeffler said in a text to The Post. “Finally.”

Loeffler said the fight did, in fact, appear to be dead when Golden Boy's deadline passed without a deal. But about an hour later, talks started up again and the two sides came to terms. Loeffler couldn't confirm details, but after weeks of arguing over the purse breakdown, he said “GGG is happy with the final deal.”

The two middleweights were supposed to face each other May 5, but that bout was scuttled after Alvarez (49-1-2, 34 KOs) failed a pair of drug tests in February for the performance-enhancing drug clenbuterol. The Nevada State Athletic Commission suspended him for six months, and the two fighters' camps immediately began targeting September for the rematch. The bout will no doubt be lucrative. The first meeting between the pair produced a live gate of $27 million and generated 1.3 million pay-per-view buys.

After the May rematch was canceled, the two sides reached a tentative agreement on a 65-35 split in favor of Alvarez. The contract was never signed, and after Golovkin (38-0-1, 34 KOs) had second thoughts, he walked away from the deal, according to media reports.

De La Hoya indicated at the time he'd consider 60-40 split but called 50-50 “ludicrous.”

“The Canelo train has left the station,” he told ESPN last week.

Golovkin reportedly countered the 60-40 offer by asking for a 55-45 split. Even after the bout appeared to be off the table, ESPN reported Tuesday that Golden Boy issued a final proposal to Golovkin's camp, offering a split of 57½ percent of revenue for Alvarez and 42½ for Golovkin.

“This is final,” Golden Boy president Eric Gomez told ESPN on Tuesday, issuing the deadline. “We've been through everything. We've been through the hoops, the monkey bars, the slides. No more playing games. He has until noon (Pacific Time) to accept or walk away. If he walks away, good luck to him.”

Shortly after the deadline passed, De La Hoya spoke to ESPN, offering a bit of posturing even though the deal apparently wasn't totally dead.

“We want the fight. Tom Loeffler wants the fight,” De La Hoya said. “Clearly the only person here who doesn't want the fight is GGG. The fans want the fight. We bent over backward. We've come up and there's no budge from him so there's no fight.”

Despite De La Hoya's public statements, talks between the camps did not break off. The deadline wasn't really a deadline but it did spur movement. Nothing has ever been simple between the two fighters, but on Wednesday they appeared to clear the biggest hurdle for a rematch fight fans have been itching to see.

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