For a fighter I have seen precious little of, I love Gennady Golovkin. Why? Let's start with the fact that the 30 year-old old Kazakhstani with a 22-0 mark says he will drop down to 154, or go up to 168 to secure the most meaningful fights. In this day and age, of reticent champs, isn't that refreshing to hear?
Sadly, if your appetite has been whetted by that factoid, or the fact that his trainer Abel Sanchez likes the WBA sort-of middleweight champion more than any boxer he's ever worked with, and that includes Terry Norris (!), you'll be unhappy to know that it's still hard to find footage of the German resident. He fights on Saturday, against someone named Makoto Fuchigami (age 28), in the Ukraine. No, HBO or Showtime won't televise, nor will EPIX or anyone else; you'll have to be an enterprising sort who tracks down a stream, or waits for a YouTube post, to see if he can go to 23-0 with 20 stops against the 19-6 Japanese boxer, who is fighting for the first time out of Japan.
By the way, I wrote “sort-of” middleweight champion because the WBA decided awhile ago to elevate Felix Sturm to their super middleweight champion, or so I hear, I don't even want to clarify that issue because it defies common sense to not have one single champion in a weight class. Golovkin has been doing everything short of hiring a plane to taunt Sturm with sky-writing the last couple years; he says that his ex Universum stable-mate knows he's got chops, so he doesn't want to tangle with him. “We knew each other pretty well,” Golovkin said on a conference call yesterday.”We used to see each other in the gym all the time.We trained together but we never sparred together.I believe that the reason why Sturm does not want to fight me is because he knows me well and knows that he can’t beat me.He knows me and I know him and I want the fight.”
He thinks it could happen Sept. 30, but based on Sturm's defensive abilities–he last fought a mandatory in Neveruary, and no recent “name” champion has been allowed to defend a crown against journeymen and B+ level competition like the 33 year-old Sturm has been–we would not be surprised if it doesn't. Golovkin says he'd happily rumble with Dmitriy Pirog, the WBO middleweight champion (age 31; from Russia; 20-0 with 15 KOs).
Golovkin's manager Tom Loeffler said on the call that we could easily see Golovkin back in the ring, provided all goes well Saturday, on July 7, on the Wladimir Klitschko-Tony Thompson card, which EPIX will show. EPIX, he said, would be keen to show Sturm-Golovkin, and HBO told him they think highly of the Kazahk, and so did Showtime, with the right foe. Trainer Sanchez hopes the fighter can get his profile upped with more work. “Felix has dodged him for two years and continues to dodge him,” he said.”Even a credible opponent, 1 thru 9, when we started this training came, would not fight him.This is a high-risk, low-reward fight and hopefully that will change (later) in 2012.”
Golovkin, who spends almost the whole year in Big Bear, CA., has that 'I will fight anyone' mentality, and says he'd sign to fight Sergio Martinez today. He's told me he has an inkling he's the best middleweight, bar none, but knows talk is cheap and that he needs to meet and defeat Martinez to be able to say that with certainty. Chavez Jr. isn't on Sergio's level, Golovkin said on the call, for the record.
Loeffler said Golvkin fighting in NY makes much sense, and that's on the to do list.
Golovkin returns to action following a first round knockout of Philadelphia based contender Lajuan Simon on December 9th in Dusseldorf, Germany. Simon had not been stopped over his eight-year career, including a twelve round war with then world champion Arthur Abraham and going the distance with Sebastian Sylvester, both in 2009. Golovkin won the WBA world middleweight title on December 16, 2010 with a third round stoppage of Nilson Julio Tapia in Astana, Kazakhstan.His first defense came in Panama City, Panama against former champion Kassim Ouma on June 17, 2011 with a tenth round TKO.
I always perk up when someone is out there announcing his willingness to fight the very best. It is a rarer and rarer commodity, with so many boxers having more of a this-is-a-business mentality these days. (Not that that is so bad, of course. The fighters have to look out for themselves and make sure they get what is due them..but I would like a balance, with some of that old-school warrior, you got-to-beat-the-best to be the best attitude on display sometimes.) This is a reason why I pay a bit more attention to PR releases about Golovkin than others. Time to get this kid on HBO or Showtime, and see if his skills match the appetite for top-flight opposition.
Feel free to check out this video on the Golovkin-Fuchigami match.