Gennady “Triple G” Golovkin Defends Title Saturday Vs. Nobuhiro Ishida

GGG-and-Ishida25-3-2013Gennady “GGG” Golovkin is one of the three top middleweights in the world who makes Southern California his base of operations.

Big Bear Lake is Golovkin’s training center, high in the San Bernardino Mountains.

The other two middleweights are Sergio “Maravilla” Martinez, who trains in Oxnard, and Julio Cesar Chavez Jr., who can usually be found in nearby Riverside.

Golovkin, Martinez and Chavez are the most famous and talented of the middleweights, according to various sources.

WBA and IBO middleweight titleholder Golovkin (25-0, 22 Kos) seeks to distance himself from the others beginning with a defense against Japan’s Nobuhiro Ishida (24-8-2, 9 Kos) next Saturday March 30. It’s part of a middleweight tournament taking place in Monaco. It will be televised via pay-per-view television.

Last week in Manhattan Beach, Golovkin and Ishida met for a luncheon press conference at the Marriott Hotel. Unlike previous media affairs, this one was well-attended as Golovkin’s accomplishments continue to grow.

“I respect all fighters,” says Golovkin, whose meteoric rise can be attributed mostly to television networks finally showing his fights. “He’s a good fighter with a lot of experience.”

Whenever someone new speaks to Golovkin they ask about his possibly entertaining a match with Floyd Mayweather or maybe even super middleweight Andre Ward. They’re not bad questions but few realize that the Kazakhstani is actually a natural 154-pounder.

“Nobody would fight him at 154 so he moved up,” said Abel Sanchez, who trains Golovkin at the Summit in Big Bear Lake.

It’s easy to surmise that Golovkin can drop down to 154. He stands about 5-10” in height and his natural easy-going personality makes him seem like one of those dancers on Dancing With The Stars, not one of the most feared 160-pounders in the world.

Ishida is another middleweight who can fool with his appearance. At 6-2” in height and with his pop icon hair-do, Ishida looks about as menacing as a comical anime character.

“I have a lot of respect for Gennady and his power,” said Ishida through a translator. “I consider him to be one of the best middleweights in the world.”

Ishida recently brawled with WBO middleweight titleholder Dmitry Pirog and lost by decision in the Russian’s home country. He also surprisingly knocked out James Kirkland then celebrated by running up and down the MGM Garden Arena stairs with a Japanese flag.

“Ishida is taller than me and that does present different challenges,” said Golovkin, 30. “I saw his fight with Pirog and I know how tough he is.”

Pirog was supposed to fight Golovkin but suffered a hand injury that scuttled that potential fight.

Golovkin doesn’t worry about it. During the press conference reporters asked about other possible match ups and scenarios and he quietly and politely defused the questions and returned the focus to Ishida, who sat close by.

“I saw what he did to James Kirkland,” said Golovkin.

Promoter Tom Loeffler of K-2 Promotions says that Golovkin is ready to fight any of the other world champions but is focused on this fight.

“He doesn’t mind fighting in any country against any champion,” said Loeffler of Golovkin.

The other two elite middleweights Martinez and Chavez have some unfinished business to attend. Once the suspension is lifted from Mexico’s Chavez they will probably meet in a rematch. But what happens after?

“Right now my focus is Ishida,” repeats Golovkin. “It’s a great fight.”

Ishida’s trainer Daisuke Okabe only had these words to say about Ishida: “He’s like a samurai warrior and will do everything possible to win.”

Next Saturday, one of the middleweight triumvirate will battle.

Comment on this article


-Radam G :

My prediction -- I mean my hope -- is that GGG will finally get EXPOSED! Are we in the era of the SUPER HYPES? I believe that in the last six or seven years, I have heard of the most amount of SUPER HYPES in my life. Three-G may be a third-of-a G when it comes to whup@ss, but he ain't all dat and a bag of chips. Ishida is weak, but the game is "The Threatre of the unexpected." Just ask the Mandingo Cowboy -- I mean "Mandingo Warrior" James Kirkland? Hehehe! You can even ask Da Manny. Holla!

-McHomer :

If GGG is a hype job and is going to get exposed, it won't be against Ishida.

-bigstinkybug :

-amayseng :

come on radam, ggg has the tools, its up to him to learn and master his craft to apply them...

-Radam G :

McHomer, you are right. Amayseng, you are right too. An ounce of a G does have tools. But he doesn't know how to put 'em to use properly. Sooner before later somebody is gonna break him off ______ and some. He should easily whup I-Man, but I-Man is going to get some vicious shots in. Da ??? guy is vulnerable to straights and dropcuts. Holla!

-brownsugar :

Ishida fought Pirog recently.. You'd be surprised how game he was... Stood within arms reach for most of the fight. He also gave Paul Williams a competitive fight. Ishida is the guy who fights the fighters all the other fighters run from. Good work for Triple G. Good stay busy fight. While GGG is waiting for anybody who is somebody willing to come up out of hiding to put their title on the line from 155 TO 168... And 175 if your name is Bhop. I already paid for the fight. GGG is the Most interesting boxer of 2013.

-ali :

3G is so overrated it's ridiculous!! I don't think Ishida is the guy that will expose him but there r plenty of guys out there that will trust &believe that.

-brownsugar :

Ali we'll be laughing about that comment a year from now. If he's able to take out Ishida,.. it'll be a great litmus test to judge how he will be able to compete with the big name boxers.

-Radam G :

If iota of a G does not take out the feather-fisted I-Man, he's worse than I give him credit for. Holla!

-ali :

B-sug im pretty sure I will be the one getting the last laugh fam lol

-StormCentre :

Disclaimer; when I wrote this I didn't refresh this page so all comments that followed RG's at 5.04 ""McHomer, you are right. Amayseng, you are right too. An ounce of a G does have tools . .. . "" were not seen or included in my post/response. My 10c worth . . . . RG to some extent is right. So also is Homer, BSB and Amayseng IMO here's why . . . GGG is currently fighting guys that will not really challenge him. His last serious fight that involved a decent risk was a bit of a scare (for those backing him) and it exposed some obvious difficulties Gennady and his style has. I am of course talking about Kassim Ouma. Take a look on YT and see how GGG's fundamentals became sloppy when they couldn't achieve their immediate objectives. GGG was and is seriously open for counters, particularly if the one he is expecting to land and deliver power falls short (in all senses of the term). The situation is not made any better by the fact that GGG’s KO style is quite dependent upon delivering power via counters and/or when his opponent’s opportunities to retaliate are minimized. What I mean is whilst that approach is effective, it is also seriously vulnerable to traps. But you have to be a well-rounded fighter to pull that off. Ouma, to some extent, certainly worked out Gennady’s style, set traps and pulled them off. Only thing was, Golovkin ploughed through and used his strength to offset that advantage. It wouldn’t have been so, had Kassim had serious power. Furthermore, (and I am being championship-level critical here) Gennady’s style is predictable. Particularly for someone that can move and punch on the run; like Kassim. When you watch the Ouma V GGG fight it becomes quite clear that that fight was a signpost in his professional career from which his entire team sat back, took a deep breath and considered their investments and what they all wanted to achieve. Not in the least as when confronted with someone that; a) Not only undid the puzzle that Golovkin usually preoccupies his opponents with whilst pounding them and running away with the points. b) But also gave Gennady something to think about. What happened was that Golovkin was more than a little exposed. It wasn’t Foreman V Cotto, but Golovkin showed that he didn't really change up against Kassim, and for someone of his amateur and professional background that was very interesting to see. What Gennady did do, was to, crudely, just apply more pressure. And he did this face first. And whilst GGG still won – after the fight it showed on his face how raw his response to what Ouma presented really was as much as it revealed what may happen if GGG had fought someone that night called Kassim Ouma that possessed, say, Carl Froch’s, Saiko Bika’s or better, power. I don't think Golovkin or his team expected such a tough and clever fight from Ouma. As whilst he had just come off of a win against a troubled Gilbert, Kassim had also lost a few fights prior to that and seemed to have been given – although not accepted – the status of gatekeeper. For me that example shows how Kostya Tszyu's fundamentals (whilst not without their holes too; as DP has previously pointed out) were a better example of the Russian or Eastern Blok boxing program, than GGGs. Look at Tszyu at the same stage of his pro career (around ~ 20 fights) - he had already fought some very big names and (aside from his controversial left hand) Kostya seemed to remain relatively composed style-wise throughout. Recap; Tsyu fought Hector Lopez in his 10th fight, and pulled some lovely moves. Lopez was a man and Kostya was still a boy. I refer to Tszyu, as he is a good gauge style, promotion and performance wise for GGG. Another big difference between Kostya Tszyu and Gennady Golovkin as professional fighters, is how the former sought out top competition almost before he was ready. This, particularly when Golovkin is considered in isolation implicitly lends traction to the claims that Gennady is a hype machine; whether it is true or not. Fact is, I see nothing in Ishida that will seriously trouble GGG; particularly after round 8. So I am not convinced Ishida is really a danger, although to some extent he is a step up in challenges from the usual GGG opponent of late. So I will leave it to the posters of this forum as to whether that is a good thing or not. Another trend that implicitly lends traction to the claims that Gennady is a hype machine as much as it serves Gennady’s record is the way his power and weight is handled when matchmaking. Back in the wild-west American cowboy days a popular axiom and adage for fast-drawing and hot-shot gunslingers was; there are many a slip between a cup and a lip. So too, much happens and many tricks when it comes to weight. Particularly if, like Gennady Golovkin, you can move up and down easy, and you carry the big guns. I’ll get to the slips between a cup and a lip in relation to weight a little later. But for now; yes, in my opinion, GGG is a hype job - to some extent. But, and this is the thing, to a large extent the hype is also well placed because the guy has that rare ability that allows you to dominate, turn fights around and sell tickets in both amateur and professional aspects of this sport; power. Or, the big guns. The guy knows how to set up knockouts - on guys that not only know that he knows how to set up knockouts, but are also trying to prevent it. Considering that boxing is a tough sport if you're not dominating; that’s not a bad skill to have. So, Gennady knows how to deliver power. He also knows that that is also easier done with competition that is less skilled/experienced that Kassim Ouma; because sometimes GGG doesn’t have a workable plan if the big guns are not working as expected and he finds that out midstream of a shootout. I’m not suggesting they do, but anyone that thinks that this imperfection was not noticed and responded to after Gennady’s fight with Kassim Ouma may need to brush up on the fundamentals of the fight game. The address of this minor but nevertheless exploitable flaw in Gennady Golovkin’s repertoire set forth yet another trend that both implicitly and explicitly lends traction to the claims that Gennady is a hype machine. As to address it required feasting on much less skilled opposition and avoiding those capable of exploiting the weaknesses Ouma revealed. Still, there’s no shame in having a few weaknesses is there? This is boxing after all. But it also didn’t help to dispel the possibility that shrewd boxing observers, matchmakers, promoters and fighters would know and/or claim that the hype wasn’t being backed up. You see, when you're as good as GGG is, you can fight guys that are on the same level (or thereabouts); just as Kostya Tszyu did. And not only do people know when you don’t; they also ask questions. GGG is good enough to do fight guys better than he has been, as his gym and amateur efforts clearly substantiate. But, for all the reasons we know about and hear time and time again in boxing; GGG is being managed at a level that means his competition is trailing in the wake of his skills somewhat. The above discussion provides some insight why, and that below provides some of that remaining. Rosado would have fallen even if he didn't move up in weight to fight GGG. The fact he did move up and take the risk for money was one of the final elements of the deal that guaranteed Abel Sanchez could speak so confidently of GGG's ability to win, and also the hiding that was about to take place. Not in the least as with GGG’s advantages in; experience, training regime and location, sparring, punch resistance, power and style; Rosado chance of success were already grim even if he was naturally campaigning at the weight that the fight was held at. Little wonder Abel was brimming with confidence after Rosado agreed to move up. But then, understandably, Rosado was a warrior and he needed the money. In boxing it’s good to have the financial backing that enables you to buy out the other guy’s sensible hesitation associated with risks. It’s also one way to stack the deck in your favor without making it too obvious. None of this means Gennady isn’t a great fighter, and/or that he won’t go on to become a HOF great. It just means he expects his opponents to take risks that he may not. Proska was a step up from the usual GGG opponent, but Gennady and his team knew that Grzegorz Proksa's style was made for the outcome that eventuated. And with a guy as experienced in boxing (in general; amateur included) as GGG is, you can make those calculated decisions quite easily. And it was an easy decision. Proksa’s style was familiar to GGG and he had dealt with it successfully before on several occasions. Furthermore, Proksa’s love of shooting it out was well known. And those guys, guys like Proksa, that provide lots of openings and chances as they throw usually get KO'd against GGG for 3 main reasons; 1) GGG doesn't have to go looking for them. 2) There is les chance GGG will walk into the traps; like those that Ouma set. 3) GGG usually has more power and a way to deliver it that not only minimizes risk, but also converts their style into a weakness (for them). Prior to Grzegorz Proksa (and considering GGG's ability) there were a few guys that were basically money earners for GGG (so I wont detail them) and before them Gennady fought Kassim Ouma. By the time GGG got to Ouma; Kostya Tsyu had already been a world champion for ~ 7 fights. It's the competition's skills and their deficit to Golovkin's skills, combined with Gennady's unrefined (professional) style, that mostly emphasises and (to some extent) validates the theory that GGG is a hype job. Tszyu received the same ridicule in 1993 when, after he beat Livingstone Bramble, he was to penned in to fight Hector Lopez in order to get a shot at Jake Rodriguez for the world title. At the time Hector Lopez said words to the effect that he was embarrassed to have to fight a boy with 10 fights under his belt whose reputation was mostly hype. After the Lopez fight no-one (Lopez included) called Kostya a hype job anymore. What’s more, if they did it all ceased after Jake Rodriguez got blown away (with one of the best examples I have seen how to deal with a southpaw by power-hitting) and lost his title to Kostya Tszyu. Particularly when, after the Jake Rodriguez V Kostya Tszyu fight, Rodriguez openly claimed that nobody had ever hit him that hard in his life - Felix Trinidad included. At the same stage of GGG's professional career he was fighting guys like; Sid, Gardener and Amari and others far, far less than the standard that not only Kostya Tszyu was - but also far less than what GGG was really capable of. This also lends itself to the rumours about GGG being a hype job. Still, we must consider that Kostya may have had more financial backing behind him earlier, and at that time. Nevertheless the contrast is clear, as is the difference between what GGG can do, or should do; and does. So, am I negative about GGG? Nope. I think the guy is exciting. He's just being managed very carefully and his handlers are being - or have been - relatively safe with their matchmaking as Gennady and his style take time to mature to the professional game and also that lovely American slick, slip and slide style that - when perfected properly - can cause GGG (or anybody) problems. Particularly if it is wrapped up in speed and power. Like, say, that of Andre Ward. Ishida, in my opinion, is a refreshing challenge for Golovkin. He contended for the WBO middleweight title last year. He works off the jab and has reasonably good fundamentals. And Ishida, whilst losing, also fought "OK" against Paul Williams and in that fight he probably showed that he might belong, at least, in contention or the top 10. He doesn't have a lot of knockouts though; so it seems that the Golovkin team believe there shouldn't be a danger or problem there if GGG slips up, or if Ishida gets lucky. After all GGG’s management team don’t want another exposing experience like that Kassim Ouma presented at this stage of Gennady Golovkin’s career. However whilst Ishida’s jab is fluent and a good foundation for his other punches and combinations, he does seem to be subconsciously reliant upon it to. It’s out there doing its thing quite often; even if there is nothing coming from it, or behind it. This habit may be a legacy from the amateurs, where we were all taught to keep your opponent thinking and busy with the jab, even if you're not meaningfully attacking. The methodology doesn’t always work in the pros. Particularly if you're not the quickest. Furthermore, Ishida’s jab is also reasonably predictable and as such in my opinion it will probably be successfully hurdled countless times by GGG’s right hand during their fight; possibly leaving Ishida’s left eye looking like Arthur Abraham recently did. Ishida’s KO of Kirkland is a bit of a wildcard or joker consideration when calculating the risks too. What I mean is that it is probably safe to say that the combination of James' break from boxing and recent prison release, and his overly-wreckless style; contributed to his own KO - as much as any plan on Ishida's part. It’s also telling that Ishida selectively fought Kirkland upon his release, and then went straight onto Espinoza, who was debuting, 6 months later; as Ishida’s first 2 fights above 154 for quite some time. Clearly Ishida was not supremely confident moving up in weight to that region where he will be fighting GGG. A view GGG’s camp will no doubt have also considered. Particularly since Ishida went back down to ~ 154 for the Paul Williams fight (that immediately followed Espinoza); no doubt with the knowledge that Williams may not be a walk in the park. However, looking at the way Ishida has selected opponents provides an insight as to why Golovkin and his team probably wont be too bothered about fighting him. As Kirkland was Ishida’s first foray above 154 for about 8 fights, he had a very raw style that was extremely reliant upon stamina, and he had just been released from jail and was being pushed along too quickly by GBP. Following that fight which Ishida won in 1 round Ishida then fought at above 154 again. This time with a guy (Espinoza) that had never had a professional fight before. Clearly Kirkland made Ishida think about his career even though he went out in a blaze of fire; unless you believe that a professional fighter just coming off of a 1st round KO win with approximately 15 fights under his belt should be fighting guys making their debut. Ishida then dropped back down to where he is most comfortable and fought Williams to a unanimous decision loss. From there he then moved back up to around 157 to fight Dmitry Pirog for a wide margined unanimous decision loss. So Ishida has lost twice in his 2 most recent fights, is not his best above 154, and is clearly not the most self-confident boxer above 154. He also has several losses on his record and is without KO power that he can reliably turn the switch on. All more information than GGG and his camp undoubtedly know. Additionally, its perplexing and hard to understand how a guy that had Kirkland down 3 times and then KO’d him, all in round 1; justified to himself going from that win/fight - to fighting Espinoza; whom had no fights. Surely Ishida didn’t do that because he felt he belonged above 154. IMO one of the main reason the Golovkin team believe in this opponent is not just because of his last 2 losses, lack of "at will" KO power, and sparring partner mentality that sometimes reveals itself in the later rounds with fights that require another gear or plan "B"; that Ishida doesn't yet have at the championship level. No, the main, or most solid reason is because of Ishida’s performance with Dmitry Pirog. Dmitry Pirog is Russian and since Golovkin is from Kazakhstan; for most related purposes to this discussion Golovkin may as well be considered Russian too. There is virtually no difference between the Kazakhstan and Russian amateur styles; both are as brutally efficient as the boxing competition and the combined countries it spans, are large. For reasons - some of which I wont go into here - Gennady Golovkin knows from Ishida's loss and fight with Dmitry Pirog that there will be very little Ishida will bring to the table that he can't deal with better than Pirog. Not in the least as when he watches Dmitry Pirog fight, Gennady's understanding of Dmitry Pirog's style means he can almost read the fight and those tactics that Ishida struggled with, like a book. Not to mention any connections across the Golovkin and Pirog camps. What it all means is that Golovkin can closely translate Pirog’s actions from the Ishida fight, and Ishida’s responses; into Gennady’s own style and plan with a degree of almost unmatched accuracy that allows a close approximation of the real thing. In short Golovkin will understand at depth most of Pirog’s moves, and why they were made. Put with the above, for Gennady; the chances of being unfamiliar with something Ishida does and not being able to dominate him, are perhaps equaled only by those odds related to the likelihood that Golovkin will not win and Ishida will find a newfound comfort fighting above 154 when facing not only the hardest punching opponent yet; but also someone significantly better than his last opponent whom Ishida lost to. And so the flames that say Golovkin is hype are fanned. Or are they? I mean Ishida did just contend for a WBO middleweight title didn’t he? Oh, did I mention that (in a way not dissimilar to the Rosado fight) that for the Golovkin V Ishida fight, Ishida will be fighting at or around 157; which is typical of the weight Gennady has fought at with his last 7 or so fights. Prior to that GGG was fighting at (or as) a heavier weight; meaning he is probably more dangerous fighting around 157. Ishida on the other hand has fought only three times above 154 in his last 10 fights. One of those times was in 2011 in an 8 round above-mentioned fight against Kirkland whom he KO'd in round 1. The other was his loss against Dmitry Pirog in 2012; also mentioned above. And Ishida's other fight (at 156) was against Edson Espinoza in 2011 - that was Ishida's first fight after Kirkland, and it was Espinoza's 1st professional fight in his life - it all ended in a 1st round KO loss for Edson Espinoza. There is more to this than Ishida just moving up to a weight where he may not be his best. Gennady, a guy with a lot of KO wins that's capable of both fighting at 154 without any loss of power and also knocking out guys that fight around 162; will probably fight Ishida at around 157. That’s significant! As alluded to above: Ishida has not enjoyed many knockout wins resulting from forced errors that he himself has created in his opponents. Furthermore, Ishida has had the majority of his success at 154 and clearly prefers that weight. Yet he will probably fight Gennady Golovkin at around 157. Or risk coming in lighter at a weight he (and Golovkin) may feel better about. The way Golovkin trains and is, means he can bring even more power - than would otherwise be the case - down to the weight that the Golovkin V Ishida fight is held at. Yet, Ishida will move up and lose power from a supply that appears to have already not been in surplus. Gee, I wonder what will happen when that takes place? I have a motorcycle, but I try not to ride it into oncoming traffic. Particularly trucks. For the most part, to me, it seems as if GGG knows that Ishida has very few chances of riding home with success. Particularly when it is clear that Ishida; 1) Can't comfortably perform above 154 in 12 round fights. 2) Doesn't possess many uncontroversial KO wins. 3) Has already demonstrated that even if he does understand what aspects of the Russian fighting style he struggled with when in against Dmitry Pirog (which is unlikely in my opinion) he simply hasn't had enough time and experience to meaningfully incorporate the required adjustments into his repertoire and successfully take on guys at Pirog’s level again; let alone step up and tackle KO artists like GGG. So, based on the above, the chances Ishida will be able to successfully perform under the increased (from Dmitry Pirog) pressure that Gennady will bring; seem as if they're slim to none. And you know who just left town. Slim. The question then may be; is it fair to label a fighter as “hyped up” when he is extremely competent (as GGG is), even though he sometimes chooses to fight opponents that not only present less risk than claimed - but are also opponents that accommodate unannounced and unnecessary disadvantages. For what it is worth, I think Gennady Golovkin has the goods but in some ways is also professionally unrefined – a circumstance that seems to be getting carefully remedied by both him and his handlers that appear to believe that (no matter what we say) there is plenty of time. And with guys out there like Ward, Froch, Bika, Kessler and a few others that would certainly hit GGG hard, make him struggle, and potentially drop his earning/star power, even if he didn’t lose; perhaps they're right. I do hope he steps up the competition soon and stops taking on fighters that are accepting an unnecessary amount of calculated risks or disadvantages for the sake of a payday.

-spit bucket :

3G is getting far more press and buzz than any other middleweight/154 pounder, which makes him a very lucrative foe. If he were a hype job trainers & promoters would be lining their fighters up for a high profile opportunity to expose this man everyone is avoiding. So far the only fighter who dares speak his name is Ward.

-amayseng :

storm makes some good points... but a fighter like ggg continues to use his style and plan A because with power in both hands, thats a game changer.. when he was presented with a slick and tough rosado he endured, and then he stepped on the gas, then he endured and then stepped on the gas.. he did not waiver, he did not weaken.. i think his mind is right, it is not weak, it wont be broken.... as for pirog, pirog is the real deal, good boxing ability, good skills and some good power... where the hell has pirog been? im gonna check out the ouma ggg fight, thanks storm