GGG: From Kazakhstan to the StubHub

Most followers of boxing in the U.S. only know what they see on television.

Gennady “GGG” Golovkin used to fall into the category of a nondescript Eastern European fighter who could knock other fighters out. But for years we in the U.S. didn’t know anything about him unless we happened to catch a glimpse of him on Youtube.

That’s over now. Golovkin (30-0, 27 Kos) blazed a string of sizzling knockouts to grab a spot on HBO and now he faces Mexico’s knockout artist Marco Antonio Rubio (59-6-1, 51 Kos) on Saturday, Oct. 18 at the StubHub Center in Carson. America knows WBA and IBO middleweight champ GGG now.

It’s taken Golovkin several years to get to this point, but in reality, it’s really been a quick journey.

K2 Promotions and director of operations Tom Loeffler recognized they might have another Mike Tyson and brought him to America where Golovkin’s power could be re-fashioned into a crowd pleasing fireball of destruction. A trainer was sought that could mold GGG into not just a winner, but a destroyer.

“We looked around and found Abel Sanchez,” said Loeffler, who lives in California. “He’s done a great job with Gennady these past years.”

Golovkin has been around for about five years in Southern California and for the first two years, only other boxers knew about him. Those who sparred with the heavy-handed fighter from Kazakhstan quickly discovered he was dangerous to their health. Golovkin emptied out gyms wherever he went.

“We had Gennady sparring with cruiserweights because the middleweights couldn’t keep up,” said Sanchez, who previously guided Terry Norris, Lupe Aquino and Mexico’s Miguel Angel Gonzalez to world titles.

Ironically, Golovkin’s style has been likened to the Mexican style and now he faces his first actual Mexican stylist.

“We’ve made Gennady into a Mexican assassin,” said Sanchez. “He’s not going to try and out-box somebody because you don’t want to leave it to the judges.”

Several marquee prizefighters including Miguel Cotto and Saul “Canelo” Alvarez stayed at Sanchez’s training center, the Summit in Big Bear. Only Alvarez sparred with Golovkin at the mountain resort.

“He’s a good boy,” was all that Golovkin would say about their sparring.

Is it any surprise that Alvarez wants no part of Golovkin?

Cotto did not spar with Golovkin because he was preparing to fight southpaw Austin Trout. But now that the Puerto Rican has the WBC middleweight title it seems proper that they meet to unify the world titles.

Friendship aside, Golovkin and Sanchez agree.

“We’ve worked hard to get Gennady to this point,” said Loeffler, who performed some incredible and actual promotion to make Golovkin a recognized name in the boxing world.

Like a laser-pointed pen, Golovkin has only one target: “I want to put on a great show.”

Good enough.