The smiling assassin, Gennady Golovkin, greeted media as they walked into a banquet room at Uncle Jack's in NYC, near Madison Square Garden.
It was a small shock, and my tongue was tied as I said hello.
“Thanks for coming, thanks for having me,” I said.
The pride of Kazahk, who is incidentally the most famous person in that whole region, which includes the 'Stans, Korea, Mongolia, sat down and answered queries from the press.
His promoter, Tom Loeffler, started off the proceedings, meant to hype Triple G's May 16 clash against Willie Monroe Jr, in LA at the Forum.
G comes off a win over Martin Murray, in Monaco, and the next clash will be screened on HBO.
He said he respects Monroe and said that while he lacks KOs, he has pop, everyone at this level has some pop.
Loeffler said the plan was to introduce GGG in NYC, the media capital of the planet, and it's worked; he fought in the MSG Theater and has built up his renown from the ground up. His power, which is indisputable, entrances, especially when paired with a humble persona which has to be seen to be believed. It's impossible, frankly, to picture him frazzled or irked or impatient. He seems on such a perpetually even keel, and I do wonder if he's ever so much as dropped an eff bomb.
Word is the Garden would like to have GGG fight in the big room, and Loeffler said if Miguel Cotto steps to the line, he'd adore that proposition.
His trainer, Abel Sanchez, said that he is happy to be back in NYC. They've been training for 4 1/2 weeks and said May 16 will be a “another great night.”
Loeffler said Monroe was chosen because Cotto didn't want the gig. Loeffler said Monroe “made the most sense,” having been on ESPN four times int he last 12 months.
GGG said Monroe is a good fighter, will be difficult because he's a southpaw. Canelo had a problem with Erislandy Lara, he noted.
Does he ever get frustrated that the big guns, the Cottos, etc, haven't stepped to the line against him? No, he said, “I have a great life, I know I have time.” Could he ever see himself snapping and calling someone out? “This is my life, I like my life,” he said, not a hint of edge in his voice.
Those catch-phrases, Mexican style, good boy, good drama show, those are unplanned, said Loeffler. “It's off the top of his head,” the promoter stated.
Loeffler said demand for merchandise is taking off, and the plan is to make him an international star.
He's a good dude, all in all, but a killer in the ring, in the ring he's Triple G, which means, no, he's not a killer, but, he said, “a sportsman.”
The boxer was asked if he would maybe fight the Mayweather-Pacquiao winner. Yes, but he knows he's 160 and they are 147s, so, basically, he's not banking on it.
Loeffler mentioned Andy Lee, or maybe Carl Froch, overseas, down the line. What about fighting in Germany? He's open to anyone, but it would be better for, say, Felix Sturm, to come to the US, because US is THE PLACE for boxing. Loeffler said that GGG's star is brighter than Sturms, Robert Stieglitz and Arthur Abraham, so that must be noted and factored in. “I think he's above where those fighters are,” Loeffler said.
Cotto, or the winner of the NDam-Lemieux is interesting…and Cotto is the topmost target. What about Julio Cesar Chavez Jr…he is coming off a crossroads loss, so he's not high on the list.
Sanchez said that Mayweather, at 154, is GGG's dream fight. Froch in England would be most compelling, the trainer said. He was asked about the Andy Lee-Peter Quillin fight, and basically, GGG said it was boring. Too much waiting…Sanchez said the same, that it was not a thriller, and neither man was busy enough. He said a fight in Ireland vs. Lee could be fun, but again, those guys didn't prime the pump with a flat outing.
Canelo would be on the to do list, too, Loeffler said.
GGG was asked for the Klitschko-Jennings fight. Wlad is great and Jennings has a “chance,” he said.
The ex German resident was asked about moving to the US, to CA. He doesn't have any ideas as to what he misses from Kazahkstan, and said he is relaxed and happy here. He said the school is good for his son, and the family is happy. The son likes to watch dad train, but doesn't love watching the fighting.
The dean of fightwriters Tom Hauser asked about a possible Cotto-Canelo bout, and wondered if GGG would still target Cotto, if Cotto's title were not up for grabs. It's complicated and still needs to be worked out, Loeffler said.
Team Golovkin has been approached by Roc Nation to do Cotto-Golovkin, and that is on the table, said Loeffler. The promoter said that they have always tried to get the A grade guys to fight GGG but they take what they can get. Team Ward has approached GGG, said Loeffler, but Ward wants warmup fights first, he said. GGG said to this point Ward hasn't brought enough money to the table but he's hopeful that Ward and Roc will build to that. Loeffler said they are cordial with Roc, and he's known Dave Itskowitch for many moons.
Joel Fisher of MSG “joked” that he wanted a guarantee that GGG-Cotto would be at MSG.
Now, Loeffler said, GGG draws a great gate, so the pot to pay people is getting bigger. Soon PPV will be on the radar.
Loeffler drew laughs when Sanchez was asked what G needs to improve on. “His English,” Loeffler cracked.
My take: Nobody doesn't love Triple G. He is the best rep for boxing int he game today, in my book. The best. genial person, no history of criminal missteps, no ego run amuk. I admit, I'm a fan. Sue me…