Thank The Klitschkos For Paving the Way For Golovkin

Gennady Golovkin took America by storm in 2014 and is fast becoming one of boxing’s biggest superstars. In less than three years, the hard-hitting middleweight titleholder from Kazakhstan has gone from virtual unknown to one of HBO’s primary boxing assets.

Golovkin is the WBA middleweight champion. While other titlists include lineal and WBC champion Miguel Cotto, WBA belt holder Jermain Taylor, IBF crown wearer Felix Sturm and WBO titleholder Andy Lee, Golovkin is almost universally accepted as the best and most exciting middleweight in the world today.

K2 Promotion’s Tom Loeffler, Golovkin’s promoter since 2010, told TSS his fighter could probably thank Vitali and Wladimir Klitschko for helping open the doors Golovkin is now strutting through with authority.

“The first trailblazers [for Eastern European fighters] were the Klitschkos,” said Loeffler.

Loeffler established K2 promotions in 2003 and promoted both Klitschko brothers throughout their storied careers. Vitali Klitschko retired in December 2013 after holding the WBC heavyweight title from 2003 to 2004 and again from 2008 to 2012. Wladimir Klitschko is the current Transnational Rankings, Ring Magazine, WBA, WBO and IBF heavyweight champion. He has held at least one version of the heavyweight championship since 2006.

“When Vitali fought Lennox Lewis at the Staples Center, that was one of the most exciting heavyweight fights that had happened in a long time. Then with Wladimir and his domination and being able to headline at venues like Madison Square Garden—Vitali fought at Staples Center three times and Wlad fought at Madison Square Garden three times—the Klitschkos were able to fight in some of the biggest venues in America.”

Golovkin has since done the same, drawing big crowds in both New York and Los Angeles at the same venues.

“They really opened the door, and then when they gravitated to fighting more in Europe because of the economic situation, Golovkin came in five years later.”

Loeffler said the Klitschkos might have enjoyed similar success as Golovkin had economics and the absence of a marketable American heavyweight contender not kept the brothers fighting across the ocean for most of their careers instead.

But the Klitschkos lucrative television deal in Germany and their ability to attract 30,000 to 40,000 fight fans for any given fight were enough reasons to keep the brothers away from the United States.

Wladimir Klitschko is scheduled to make his first appearance back on American soil since 2008 on April 25 at Barclays in Brooklyn against an opponent to be named later, most likely American heavyweight contender Bryant Jennings.

Still, Loeffler said it was challenging at first to garner Golovkin opportunities to appear on HBO, but that once his fighter displayed his limitless potential, via Round 5 destruction of Grzegorz Proksa in 2012, new doors for both Golovkin and other Easter European fighters were opened.

In fact, Sergey Kovalev’s promoter, Kathy Duva, told me that Golovkin had already paid the Klitschkos’ door opening forward.

“I think the guy who opened the door for [Sergey Kovalev at HBO] was Gennady Golovkin. Once Golovkin proved that an Eastern European can, in fact, be embraced by the whole world…the wall came down. Thank heavens for that.”

As 2015 approaches, it’s interesting to see how the Klitschkos’ trailblazing efforts have changed the boxing landscape over at HBO. While traditional powerhouse demographic-supported fighters such as Mexico’s Canelo Alvarez and the United States’ Terence Crawford maintain their stronghold in 2015, Easter European fighters such as Golovkin, Kovalev, Vasyl Lomachenko and even Klitschko are now poised to snag more high-profile American TV dates than ever.

And if you value Loeffler’s opinion, you can thank the Klitschkos for that.

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COMMENTS

-deepwater2 :

Don't forget about Oleksandr Usyk. He just might be the best of the bunch. Imagine a 6 ft 3 southpaw Lomachenko. He might fight for a title very soon. 6-0 with 6 KO's his first 6 =opponents had a record of : 19-6-0 24-5-1 21-8-0 15-9-2 34-15-1 16-7-1 Not too shabby
->http://youtu.be/EoksGHgp6-U?t=44m53s


-stormcentre :

Oh, so . . .. . "“The first trailblazers [for Eastern European fighters] were the Klitschkos,” said Loeffler."" Were they? Vlad Warton, Bill Mordey and Kostya Tszyu may have something to say about that. And they both, were not the first and came before the Klitschkos. Please. Where is Dino with that accuracy-axe of his to grind? :)


-stormcentre :

Oh, so . . .. . "?The first trailblazers [for Eastern European fighters] were the Klitschkos,? said Loeffler."" Were they? Vlad Warton, Bill Mordey and Kostya Tszyu may have something to say about that. And they both, were not the first and came before the Klitschkos. Please. Where is Dino with that accuracy-axe of his to grind? :)


-brownsugar :

We'll no doubt see more excellent boxers migrating from the eastern bloc nations to ply their enviable skills internationally. They set a goal more than 65 years ago to dominate the sport of boxing and are well on the way to doing so. (At least in the higher weight classes) But they had the support and infrastructure.... Where all we had was budget cuts. No excuses just truth Somewhere along the line boxing got a bad name and got pushed into the shadows like an ugly girlfriend. Not fit to be seen in public until late at night....after the politically correct have all gone to bed. I'd love to see the home team regain their spark, innovation and financial backing. We need less soccer moms lobbying against the sports and an increase in the number of promoters and benefactors like Oscar DLH who are willing to toss more than a bone to the amateur program. Warren Buffer this could be your legacy.


-brownsugar :

We'll no doubt see more excellent boxers migrating from the eastern bloc nations to ply their enviable skills internationally. They set a goal more than 65 years ago to dominate the sport of boxing and are well on the way to doing so. (At least in the higher weight classes) But they had the support and infrastructure.... Where all we had was budget cuts. No excuses just truth Somewhere along the line boxing became a bad name and got pushed into the shadows like an ugly girlfriend. Not fit to be seen in public until late at night....after the politically correct have all gone to bed. I'd love to see the home team regain their spark, innovation and financial backing. We need less soccer moms lobbying against the sports and an increase in the number of promoters and benefactors like Oscar DLH who are willing to toss more than a bone to the amateur program. Warren Buffer this could be your legacy.


-thegreyman :

I dislike all this 'x paved the way for x' nonsense. You're telling me that, without Wladimir and Vitali Klitschko of Ukraine, Gennady Golovkin of Khazakstan would not be the figher he is today? Fighter's paths are forged by their performances in the ring. Who did what before them has little bearing on that. If I went back in time and prevented the Klitschkos from ever existing, would GGG wake up tomorrow suddenly unable to box, like Samson with his hair cut off?


-thegreyman :

I dislike all this 'x paved the way for x' nonsense. You're telling me that, without Wladimir and Vitali Klitschko of Ukraine, Gennady Golovkin of Khazakstan would not be the figher he is today? Fighter's paths are forged by their performances in the ring. Who did what before them has little bearing on that. If I went back in time and prevented the Klitschkos from ever existing, would GGG wake up tomorrow suddenly unable to box, like Samson with his hair cut off?


-thegreyman :

The only way that Golovkin needs paved, the only thing that needs to be in place for him before he shows up, is the damn ring and its ropes. The rest he'll take care of.


-Froggy :

Good article and good points made by all posters ! The doors were opened for all these boxers decades ago by Mikail Gorbachov, excuse my spelling, who began the ending of the former Soviet Union which of course meant all the hungry boxers on the wrong side of the iron curtain could have something to work for and they are doing a pretty good job ! Look at all the great boxers who have come from Cuba, I expect that to change now that Cuba will have more trade with the U.S. and therefore more chances to make a good life for the average Cuban !


-amayseng :

I dislike all this 'x paved the way for x' nonsense. You're telling me that, without Wladimir and Vitali Klitschko of Ukraine, Gennady Golovkin of Khazakstan would not be the figher he is today? Fighter's paths are forged by their performances in the ring. Who did what before them has little bearing on that. If I went back in time and prevented the Klitschkos from ever existing, would GGG wake up tomorrow suddenly unable to box, like Samson with his hair cut off?
I understand your point, I guess the K brother's dominance and duration of it are a staple of fighters from that part of the world to dream and achieve those dreams of being a main stay in the USA.. Meaning they can have a viable and successful life and career here in America if they can meet the proper standards. It is not like the K brother's are so entertaining the USA accepts any Russian or eastern bloc fighters without question. In fact they have been boring for HW standards.