Gennady Golovkin will defend his middleweight world title belts against welterweight titleholder Kell Brook next Saturday (HBO, 5:30 p.m. ET/PT) at the O2 Arena in London, but one of his three major belts will not be at stake.
Golovkin's WBA title, the first one that he won in 2010 and since has defended 16 times, will not be on the line. His WBC and IBF titles, however, will be.
While the WBA granted Golovkin a special permit to face Brook, the organization declined to sanction it as a world title fight because Brook has never boxed in the 160-pound division and is moving up two weight classes to challenge Golovkin, considered by many the most fearsome puncher in boxing.
"What I most regret is that there are no boxers at 160 pounds who will fight against 'Triple G,' and Brook has to move up two divisions to fight against him," WBA president Gilberto Mendoza Jr. said in making the announcement.
The Golovkin team was disappointed in the ruling.
K2 Promotions managing director Tom Loeffler, Golovkin's promoter, said that while the other organizations agreed to sanction the bout with no issues, "somehow the WBA thought it was too dangerous for a welterweight to move up to middleweight to fight the biggest puncher in boxing. I guess that is a compliment to GGG as they sanctioned [Adrien] Broner moving up two divisions [from lightweight to welterweight] to fight Paulie [Malignaggi in 2013] and Roy Jones moving up two divisions [from light heavyweight to heavyweight] to fight John Ruiz [in 2003] for WBA titles, and Kell Brook is undefeated and considered a top pound-for-pound boxer."
If Brook's size was an issue for the WBA, it appears to have been misplaced. At the WBC-mandated seven-day weight check on Friday, Golovkin (35-0, 32 KOs) weighed 162.9 pounds at his training camp in Big Bear Lake, California, and Brook (36-0, 25 KOs) weighed 167.8 pounds at his training camp in Sheffield, England.
For middleweight world title fights, the WBC rule states that fighters must be no more than 5 percent over the middleweight division limit, meaning not more than 168 pounds.
If Golovkin defeats Brook and secondary titlist Daniel Jacobs (31-1, 28 KOs) retains his belt in a rematch against former junior middleweight titleholder Sergio Mora (28-4-2, 9 KOs) on Friday (Spike, 9 p.m. ET) in Reading, Pennsylvania, Mendoza said the organization will order the mandatory bout between Golovkin and Jacobs next.