I was a tiny bit stunned at the level of buzz, and interest in middleweight Gennady Golvkin the night he beat down Gregorz Proksa, and in the days after, on the Twittersphere. Boxing fans played out fantasy fights for the Kazakh, who fights out of Germany and spends ample time in California, training with Abel Sanchez.
I suppose I should not have been stunned that Golovkin, age 30, the Beiber-faced bomber, got pulses racing, as fight fans are never not enthralled with a guy who can crack viciously with both hands.
On Tuesday, I reached out to Tom Loeffler, of K2, the promotional outfit which works with Golovkin, who scored a TKO5 on HBO on September 1.
Loeffler too noted the avalanche of interest in Golovkin from the Proksa win, he said.
“It definitely was the biggest publicity response I've seen for a guy who had never fought in the US or on US TV,” he said.
So, when do we see Golovkin again, and against whom?
Loeffler said that the WBA had decided that the winner of the Sept. 1 Daniel Geale-Felix Sturm fight would meet Golovkin. Geale, a 31-year-old Aussie who entered with the IBF strap, scored a split decision win over WBA titlist Felix Sturm on Sturm turf, in Germany, so Loeffler believes we will see a Golovkin-Geale faceoff.
The promoter said HBO, which showed the Golovkin-Proksa bout, told him that a date for GGG might be open in March 2013. I expressed a desire to see him earlier, and Loeffler said he would to. That's why he's setting up a Golovkin fight, against TBD, in December, likely in Europe, and hashing out a US TV slot for that tussle.
Amid that post-Proksa Twitter flurry, Golovkin boosters tossed around names, and one of those was 168 pound ace Andre Ward. Golovkin has said for awhile now that he simply wants meaningful fights, and will campaign anywhere from 154-168 to make that happen. Loeffler said 160 is where it's at for GGG for the time being, understandable since there are top names and no-brainer matches to make there. “A fight with Ward I think would be a tremendous fight, but I think maybe that's premature,” the promoter said.
So…Geale is priority one, but we all know this strange business can feed you a curveball in the blink of an eye, so Loeffler wisely considers a range of possibilities. He will have his eye on the Oct. 20 Barclays card, at which WBO champ Hassan N'Dam N'Jikam puts his belt on the line against Peter Quillin. Quillin is a charisma-heavy New Yorker. “Quillin has been on our radar screen,” Loeffler said. “If he beats Hassan and gets a title, he becomes even more interesting. We do feel Golovkin is the middleweight with the most excitement attached to him after Sergio Martinez.”
Readers, please offer your thoughts on the path for Golovkin.
Loeffler also offered some tidbits on the Klitschko brothers, the “Ks” in K2.
Wladimir fights Nov. 10, against Mariusz Wach. No, the Jersey-based Pole isn't seen as a heavy threat to Wlad, but he's 27-0, and at 6-7 1/2, will be the first guy to have a height edge on Wlad, who is 6-6, so we shall see if he could use that to his advantage.
For the record, Wlad is in constant contact with his trainer, Emanuel Steward, who is battling a serious illness currently. Loeffler said that Wlad's camp, in the Australia Alps, starts the first week of October, so in the next week or so, Wlad and company will assesss Steward's situation, and if need be, plot a trainer Plan B. “Whatever transpires in camp, it will be under the guidance of Emanuel,” Loeffler said. (Emanuel has always been beyond gracious, quick with a callback, compliments of my work and copious laughter at my jokes; I say without reservation that I root hard for him to get back to 100%, whatever he is suffering from.)
As for big brother Vitali, he is in campaign mode, with the election for a seat in the Ukraine parliament taking place at the end of October. Loeffler said his party, UDAR (Ukrainian Democratic Alliance for Reform), is in second place, and his chances of winning a seat are good. That would not be good news for fight fans who want to see big brother do his thing in the ring, and maybe shut David Haye's mouth up in violent fashion. Vitali has said that he will hang up the gloves if he wins, as there is talk of him running for President in 2015 if the Parliament gig is secured.