LAS VEGAS — There was one particularly interested observer inside the Encore Theater at the Wynn Las Vegas during the final news conference for the Sergio Martinez-Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. middleweight championship fight on Wednesday: Daniel Geale.
Geale, of Australia, flew in to attend Saturday night’s fight at the Thomas & Mack Center and also to meet with his promoter, Gary Shaw, and HBO executives.
Geale became a major player in the red-hot middleweight division when he went to Felix Sturm’s turf in Germany on Sept. 1 and won a split decision to unify two of the major middleweight titles.
Of course, he would like to fight the Martinez-Chavez winner but he is also anxious to fight in America and to be on HBO.
“It was a big risk going over there [to Germany], but the rewards were better and it sets up big things,” Geale said. “I’ve said for awhile I want to come and fight in the U.S. I want the American people to know about me. Boxing is so huge over here. It’s disappointing that it’s not as big in Australia, so I want to come over here.
Joern Pollex/Bongarts/Getty ImagesDaniel Geale, right, will be watching closely during Saturday’s Sergio Martinez-Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. middleweight title bout after unifying two titles in a Sept. 1 upset of Felix Sturm.
“We’re talking to those [HBO] guys and they’re very interested. Hopefully, we can set something up. It would be great to fight the winner of this [Martinez-Chavez] fight. I’ll leave that up to my management.”
One of Geale’s belts is the WBA’s so-called “super” title. Gennady Golovkin owns the organization’s “regular” title, which he defended with a very impressive fifth-round destruction of European champion Grzegorz Proksa on HBO, hours after Geale beat Sturm.
The sanctioning organization nonsense drives me crazy, but the reason their belts are worth noting is because the WBA has mandated that Geale and Golovkin fight each other.
Geale (28-1, 15 KOs) and Shaw said they are willing but, naturally, would prefer the greater exposure and money a fight with Martinez or Chavez would bring.
“It’s not as big of a fight [against Golovkin], obviously, but if we’ve got to do it, I’m more than happy as long as my management says that’s the way to go,” Geale said. “We’ve got big decisions and a lot of people knocking on the door. It’s just a matter that we get the right fights and not rush into any stupid decisions.”
Shaw said his first priority is trying to line Geale up against Saturday’s winner. He did not sound too interested in Golovkin, but he said he will talk to HBO and see what it wants to do.
“They know where we stand,” Shaw said. “They’re very interested in Daniel and they want him on HBO. Daniel is a great boxer but he’s willing to stand in the pocket and trade. He’s a very fan-friendly fighter. He’s a great looking guy, speaks well. I think he’s the entire package. He’ll be a fan favorite here in the U.S.”
HBO’s Kery Davis confirmed that they planned to meet this week.
“We’re interested in the middleweight division, so we’re interested in talking about potential next steps, whether it’s a fight [for Geale] with Golovkin, the winner of Saturday’s fight or maybe even the potential of moving up to fight Andre Ward at 168,” Davis said. “It’s not a specific agenda meeting. It’s a meeting to talk about what they want to do and to take a look at the landscape.”
Meetings and business aside, Geale said he keeps going back and forth on his pick for Martinez-Chavez.
“I think Sergio will win but I believe it will be a very interesting fight,” Gale said. “If Chavez Jr. can make the fight and press forward and put a lot of pressure on Sergio, then the fight changes, especially late in the fight.”