Some Southern California heat is coming your way.
For three consecutive weeks prizefighters from the heat infected Southern California region will participate in high profile fights or perform in that area, specifically the Inland Empire.
Big Bear Lakes’ Gennady “GGG” Golovkin (27-0, 24 Kos) starts the fuse when he faces New York City’s Curtis Stevens (25-3, 18 Kos; the two are seen above in Times Sq., in photo by Will Hart/K2) in that fighter’s city on Saturday Nov. 2, at Madison Square Garden. The middleweight kicks off the action and will be followed in subsequent weekends by Riverside’s Mikey Garcia and Oakland’s Andre Ward. More on that later.
Big punching Golovkin left his Big Bear Lake training base and headed to New York City to face an equally big puncher in Stevens. HBO will televise.
Golovkin has punched his way through criticism with each and every fight. Little by little the doubters have come to realize that maybe the cat from Kazakhstan has some real talent. Fans already like his penchant for not allowing judges to decide who wins or loses.
“I think it’s my style,” said Golovkin about why fans have grown in support.
Waiting for the WBA and IBO middleweight champ is the underdog Stevens, who promises to snap Golovkin like two-week old pizza.
“I’m going to crush him,” said Stevens, 28, who goes by the nickname “Kryptonite.” “I’m going to wreck him.”
Before leaving from Big Bear, trainer Abel Sanchez said that most opponents have the faintest idea of what awaits them until they feel Golovkin’s power.
“Curtis is just talking and doesn’t understand the situation that he’s put himself into,” said Sanchez. “We respect the fact that he has a lot of knockouts. But those knockouts came at a different level.”
Fans are already pushing for Golovkin to fight WBC middleweight titlist Sergio Martinez or WBA super middleweight titlist Andre Ward. But he’s “Cool Hand Luke” when it comes to deciding the future.
“Curtis Stevens is a good fighter, a strong fighter,” said Golovkin. “I have to be ready for him.”
Two other fighters training in Big Bear Lake will also be on the same fight card. Ola Afolabi fights for the IBO cruiserweight world title against Lukasz Janik. And Cuba’s undefeated Mike Perez is in a heavyweight scrap against undefeated Magomed Abdusalamov. Both Afolabi and Perez live and train in the same mountain training camp as Golovkin.
Moreno Valley’s Garcia (32-0, 27 Kos) travels to Corpus Christi, Texas on Nov. 9, to face WBO junior lightweight titlist Roman Martinez (27-1-2, 16 Kos) of Puerto Rico. If Garcia wins, it will be his second world title and a new weight division. Though Garcia now lives in the Inland Empire, he moved training camp from Riverside to Oxnard for this fight. He has been working with his brother Robert and father Eduardo in the same gym as Brandon Rios who is preparing for Manny Pacquiao.
Andre Ward (26-0, 14 Kos) arrives in Ontario, Calif. on Nov. 16, to defend his WBA super middleweight world title against New England’s Edwin “La Bomba” Rodriguez (24-0, 16 Kos). The Oakland-based prizefighter is making his first appearance in the I.E. since 2009 when he knocked out Shelby Pudwill in Temecula.
Ward is now widely recognized as one of the top boxers pound for pound in the world. Fans in the Inland Empire are very familiar with Ward.