Gennady Golovkin is fighting on Cinco de Mayo after all. The reigning unified middleweight champion of the world announced on Wednesday that he will square off with Vanes Martirosyan on May 5 at the StubHub Center in Carson, California, as a part of an HBO Boxing event. Golovkin was left searching for a last-minute foe after Canelo Alvarez was forced to withdraw with a pending complaint from the Nevada State Athletic Commission against him after testing positive for a banned substance.
Golovkin (37-0-1, 33 KOs) went through a bevy of options for the bout and was close to dropping his IBF title after declining the organization's mandatory challenger Sergiy Derevyanchenko, but the organization has changed its tune in light of Golovkin and promoter Tom Loeffler's announcement on Wednesday. However, they will not sanction this bout with Martirosyan, so only two of Golovkin's belts will be on the line.
"Vanes hasn't been active, but he had been looking for a fight," Loeffler said in an interview with Yahoo Sports. "He's been training and he's interested in fighting GGG. We all would rather be getting ready for the fight with Canelo, but there is nothing we could do about that. Vanes dropped [Demetrius] Andrade; he lost a close decision to [Jermell] Charlo that a lot of people thought he won and he lost a competitive fight with Lara."
Alvarez will have his hearing with NSAC on Wednesday with the hope being that he will be cleared and able to return to action this fall with the rematch against Golovkin still the fight to make at 154 pounds.
"Vanes Martirosyan is now the most important fight of my career. He has my respect and I am training hard to defend my titles against him," Golovkin said in a press release. "I am happy to be back on HBO and fighting at StubHub Center because they have great boxing fans. I will give my fans another big drama show."
"Gennady has had such a terrific training camp in Big Bear. It wouldn't be fair to him to let it go to waste just because Canelo was being punished," Golovkin's trainer Abel Sanchez said. "Gennady is going to light up Cinco De Mayo as only a true Mexican-style fighter can. I can't wait to unleash him."