Saul 'Canelo' Alvarez has accused rival Gennady Golovkin of ducking a lucrative offer to fight. The popular Mexican was speaking on Saturday night (17 September) after winning the WBO light-middleweight belt with a powerful ninth-round knockout of Liverpool's Liam Smith at AT&T Stadium in Texas.
A high-profile battle between the world's most dominant and marketable middleweights has long been sought after by fans, yet the usual boxing politics thus far seems to have prevented that dream from becoming a viable reality.
Formidable KO specialist Golovkin, who recently demonstrated his formidable prowess to a UK audience with a fifth-round stoppage of plucky IBF welterweight title-holder Kell Brook in London, was the long-time challenger for the WBC strap after becoming interim champion with a win over Marco Antonio Rubio in October 2014.
Canelo won that belt against Miguel Cotto last year and retained it with a brutal defeat of Amir Khan before vacating in May before the deadline to organise a bout with 'GGG' passed. The 26-year-old claimed that he still wanted to fight Golovkin but would "not be forced into the ring by artificial deadlines".
That decision led to accusations that Canelo was avoiding the fight, but, after making the unpopular decision to return to 154lbs to take on the previously unbeaten Smith, he insists that it is actually unified WBA (Super), WBC, IBF and IBO champion Golovkin who is stalling on a handsome offer of round $10m (£7.6m, €8.9m) to step into the ring.
"I fear nobody," he told HBO, as reported by Sky Sports. "I was born for this and even though many people may not like it, I'm the best fighter right now.
"About a month ago, we offered him twice or three times as much to make the fight. I didn't want to say anything because I respect my rivals. He didn't want to accept. We're a team. I'm not going to blame my promoter or anyone else. I fear nobody. I'm 26 years old, I've fought the best in history and as I've already said, I'm the best at this moment in time."
After watching a dominant Canelo drop Smith to the canvas for the second and final time with a crippling body shot, Golovkin took to Instagram and accused the Guadalajara-born fighter of talking "nonsense".
Meanwhile, Golden Boy chief Oscar De La Hoya confirmed after the bout that he had made a "significant" eight-figure offer to the Kazakh and his promoters, but was yet to hear anything back. He subsequently suggested that the plan was for Canelo to finally meet GGG in September 2017, possibly at the same 80,000-capacity venue in Arlington.
In other boxing news, ambitious British middleweight champion Chris Eubank Jr, who himself failed to land a fight with Golovkin earlier this summer, has withdrawn from his upcoming second title defence against Tommy Langford in Cardiff on 22 October and also vacated the belt due to a severe, recurring elbow injury.