Gennady “Triple G” Golovkin is set to make his 2016 debut on April 23rd, and it was scheduled to take place on the east coast at Madison Square Garden in New York, but that is no longer a guarantee. In a story published by Mookie Alexander, it seems like both K2 (Golovkin’s promoter) and the UFC both have the venue reserved for the same date.
Alexander, in the story published on Bloodyelbow.com, says that the UFC has first dibs, which would force Golovkin to find another venue. However, MMA is still illegal in the state of New York. Although, the UFC is hoping that the ban will be repealed when the legislative session begins in January. But that possibility is a big “if” considering the repeal would have to take place before the scheduled April event UFC198.
Even though the UFC has reserved the famous MSG arena in the past, they have never gone through with an actual event after multiple failed attempts to get past lawmakers against sanctioning MMA in New York. That said, Golovkin still shouldn’t bank on the odds stacked against the UFC.
MMA journalist Jim Genia reports that the UFC is working with World Kickboxing Association, a promotional entity that is exempt from the New York ban, to help get past the ban to hold the event at MSG. This move by the UFC appeared to be a backup plan, at first, but now it seems like the UFC will promote their card through WKA.
There are plenty potential roadblocks that could prevent the UFC from staging UFC198 at Madison Square Garden, and they do have the Honda Center in Anaheim, CA as part of a contingency plan for UFC198, but the UFC is promoting the event as if it will without a doubt be held in New York. Their confidence may shake K2 into an anticipatory move before knowing for sure whether or not the UFC will be able to move forward with their MSG event.
In fact, there are reports suggesting K2 and Golovkin are considering Texas and California as backup plans for the April 23rd card scheduled for regular HBO.
As ESPN’s Dan Rafael has reported, there is a possibility of Tureano Johnson being Golovkin’s opponent, but speculation is growing that Golovkin could end up getting the coveted unification fight with Billy Joe Saunders, although those hopes have started to dwindle just a bit.
Regardless, Golovkin’s team has a lot of work to do before their fighter’s next weigh-in. With so many unknown factors, it is possible that this is all a prelude to Golovkin’s possible showdown with Saul “Canelo” Alvarez. That fight may take some finesse and a great deal of maneuvering, but either way, it is likely that Canelo and his promoter Golden Boy end up posturing before making a decision. It could be a power move, similar to what we saw with Mayweather-Pacquiao and Cotto-Canelo, or Canelo and Golden Boy could decide not to take the Golovkin fight this year.