The WBC issued new ratings, and Gennadiy Golovkin (pictured) is now the organization's #1 ranked middleweight, putting him in line for a potentially huge challenge against WBC champion Jermall Charlo. Golovkin (42-2-1) recently vacated the IBF and WBA titles when faced with mandatory defenses, while Charlo (32-0) has been inactive since June of 2021.
PRIOR BOXINGTALK COVERAGE: MARCH 15, 2023: As expected, the WBA Championships Committee ordered a bout between middleweight titleholder Erislandy Lara and Michael Zerafa. The sanctioning organization sent the communication to the parties on March 13th with a thirty-day negotiation period starting on March 14th and ending on April 13th. Lara became the WBA champion when he was notified that Gennady Golovkin gave up the belt rather than defend vs. Lara. Now, after an analysis of the WBA committee, it was determined that Lara must negotiate a fight against the Australian challenger. In case they do not reach an agreement in the established time or any of the parties refuses to sign the contract, the WBA may send the bout to a purse bid.
MARCH 14, 2023: The IBF has cancelled a purse bid for its vacant middleweight title. The two boxers slated to compete were Esquiva Falcao and Michael Zerafa, but late last night, Zerafa’s manager, Elvis Grant Phillips, sent an e-mail pulling his man out of both the purse bid and the fight. With former champion Gennadiy Golovkin recently vacating both the IBF and WBA middleweight titles, it is expected that Zerafa will challenge Erislandy Lara for the WBA version of 160-pound supremacy. Lara was upgraded to the WBA championship after Golovkin vacated rather than fight him.
Falcao, from Brazil, is promoted by Top Rank. Phillips blamed Top Rank for reneging on an agreement to postpone the IBF purse bid. Phillips wrote to the IBF saying, “given these unfortunate circumstances… I must inform you that Mr. Zerafa has decided to pursue other options and will no longer fight for the IBF middleweight title against Mr. Falcao.” With Zerafa out of the IBF picture, Falcao will likely fight either Vincenzo Gaultieri or Denis Radovan (both from Germany) for what would be considered an easy path to a world title.
MARCH 10, 2023: The WBA posted the following to its Twitter account: "Gennadiy Golovkin formally resigned his world champion position and will not face the mandatory fight ordered by the WBA championships committee. The middleweight division now has only one champion by the WBA, which is the Cuban Erislandy Lara."
MARCH 2, 2023: On February 9th, the IBF ordered Esquiva Falcao of Brazil and Michael Zerafa of Australia to begin negotiations for the IBF middleweight championship that was vacated by Gennadiy Golovkin. An agreement between the teams of Falcao and Zerafa to stage the fight has not yet been reached, and on March 1st, Top Rank's Carl Moretti (who represents Falcao) requested an immediate purse bid. Therefore, the IBF has scheduled a purse bid for Tuesday, March 14th at 12:00 PM EST.
FEB. 9, 2023: Golovkin has vacated the IBF middleweight championship, but still remains the WBA super champion in the weight division. In the wake of Golovkin's decision to vacate the IBF, the WBA has aggressively ordered Golovkin to defend against the WBA regular champion, Lara. Golovkin's last fight at middleweight came in April, when he defeated Ryota Murata to add the WBA belt to the IBF one he previously owned. After that, Golovkin stepped up to 168 pounds, where he lost to world champion Saul "Canelo" Alvarez. It is unclear if Golovkin will actually fight or Lara or will vacate the WBA title as well, but the WBA Championships Committee granted only a 15-day negotiation period to both fighters, which began on February 8th and will end on February 23rd.
Lara (29-3-3) is a former 154-pound champion, but has been marking time, fighting only once per year since 2019 against non-championship level opposition.
The WBA wrote: "Originally, Golovkin was supposed to face the IBF mandatory challenger due to the mandatory rotation of fighters between organizations, but the Kazakh relinquished that title today and for that reason the WBA has decided to order the fight against Lara. Golovkin received special permission to move up to super middleweight and face Saul Alvarez last September. That ruling specified that he was to defend his middleweight crown in his next bout against Lara [...] WBA Championship rule C.11 states that the champion must defend the title against the mandatory challenger within 120 days from the date he became champion. In the case of “GGG”, he won it last April 9, so the period expired on August 8, 2022. In case no agreement is reached or any of the parties refuses to negotiate, the WBA Championships Committee may submit the fight to bidding with a split of 75% for Golovkin and 25% for Lara."