Gennady Golovkin likely to face Geale

Updated: May 17, 2014, 9:01 PM ET
By Dan Rafael | ESPN.com

LOS ANGELES -- Middleweight titleholder Gennady Golovkin had hoped that on July 19 he would move up to super middleweight to face Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. in an HBO PPV main event at the Forum in Inglewood, California, but that was before the fight fell apart earlier this month when Chavez and his promoter, Top Rank, could not make a deal.

So Golovkin instead is making other plans. He will defend his title on July 26 (HBO) at Madison Square Garden in New York, probably against former titleholder Daniel Geale (30-2, 16 KOs) of Australia.

Golovkin, trainer Abel Sanchez and promoter Tom Loeffler of K2 Promotions made the announcement at a press lunch on Saturday afternoon.

Loeffler said he is negotiating the fight with Geale promoter Gary Shaw. But the fight will only happen if Golovkin can get an exception to his mandatory defense against unknown Jarrod Fletcher (18-1, 10 KOs), also of Australia.

Loeffler said they have applied for the exception with the WBA and expects it to be approved next week. If not, Loeffler said Golovkin would honor the mandatory, even though Fletcher is unknown and unaccomplished.

"We feel Geale would be the biggest name available, and that's why we've asked for an exception," Loeffler said. "We're not ruling Chavez out, but it's definitely not going to happen in July, and Gennady can't wait. Hopefully, the fight can happen later in the year."

Added Golovkin: "It doesn't matter who I fight, but I'm always looking forward to the future."

Golovkin had been scheduled to defend his title April 26 at the smaller Theater at Madison Square Garden against Ireland's Andy Lee, but the fight was canceled when Golovkin's father unexpectedly died and he returned to his native Kazakhstan to be with his family for an extended mourning period.

Then the fight with Chavez was supposed to happen. Golovkin had agreed to terms but was waiting on Chavez, who could not finalize a deal with his promoter.

While Golovkin (29-0, 26 KOs) said he hoped to face Chavez later this year, he will move forward without him and make his 11th title defense.

A Golovkin-Geale bout has been discussed a couple of times in the past few years. In 2012, after Geale unified belts against Felix Sturm, Golovkin was his mandatory challenger. But Geale gave up one of his belts to take a more lucrative fight against Australian countryman Anthony Mundine. And then the fight was discussed again for the April date, but Geale declined to make a deal because he could not secure the date for an Australian pay-per-view and the assignment went to Lee instead.

Golovkin expressed interest in unifying middleweight belts against the winner of the June 7 bout between champion Sergio Martinez and Miguel Cotto or titleholder Peter Quillin. He also said that for the right fight he would go to super middleweight, be it to face Chavez, the winner of the May 31 rematch between titleholder Carl Froch and George Groves, champion Andre Ward or former titleholder Mikkel Kessler.

A fight with Ward, Loeffler said, was probably the least likely because of Ward's legal issues with his promoter, Dan Goossen, and the fact that the other bouts generate a lot more money.

After mourning his father, Golovkin returned to Germany, where he lives, for a few weeks and arrived in Los Angeles this week. He will open training for the July fight with Sanchez in Big Bear Lake, California, next week.

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