- Dan Rafael, ESPN Senior Writer
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Perhaps the contracts aren't signed just yet, but take this to the bank: Middleweight titleholder Gennady Golovkin's next defense, scheduled for Nov. 2 on HBO from the Theater at Madison Square Garden in New York, is going to be against contender Curtis Stevens of Brooklyn. Expect an announcement soon.
This is exactly as many anticipated, despite the tough talk and rhetoric that came from both sides as they haggled over the money. In the end, they both are realizing what was obvious: They need each other.
Golovkin (27-0, 24 KOs) wants to fight in New York, so when there was no other legitimate opponent to face on that date besides Stevens (25-3, 18 KOs), who happens to be from New York, it made all the sense in the world. Stevens, who has been calling out Golovkin, wants a title shot -- and this one was sitting right in front of him. Besides, the fighters' camps told me days ago that they weren't that far apart on the money.
So sanity seems to have prevailed (not always the case in boxing) and I'm told they have reached a deal. Main Events, Stevens' promoter, is waiting for the contracts to sign from K2 Promotions, Golovkin's promoter. But, as the two sides should, they are holding off making any formal announcement.
Here is what the sides are saying publicly:
"It looks good, but it's not signed yet, so we can't officially announce anything until we have a signed deal," said Tom Loeffler of K2 Promotions.
"We are close and are working on the contracts," Main Events' Kathy Duva said. "Until something is signed, we will not make any announcements."
Golovkin-Stevens is an interesting fight between two big punchers in one of boxing's hottest divisions, which produced a tremendous fight on Saturday night when England's Darren Barker took a split decision against Daniel Geale to win a belt in Atlantic City, N.J.