The hunt for the next “Triple G” continues.
Russia’s undefeated cruiserweight Murat Gassiev has been touted as equally dangerous as middleweight world champion Gennady “GGG” Golovkin. But it’s not an easy path to follow.
Gassiev (21-0, 15 Kos) moves forward when he faces sturdy Rodney Moore (17-9-2, 7 Kos) on Saturday, June 13, at Florentine Gardens in Hollywood, Calif. The fight card also features Mexico’s Jose Felix Jr.
UniMas will televise.
Only recently has Gassiev fought in the U.S. and it’s been a tougher road for the Russian cruiserweight looking to go heavyweight. Moore fits right in that category as a boxer who can withstand big blows and test the Russian. Big guys like Andrey Fedosov, Danny Batchelder, and Quantis Gravis have been unable to knockout Moore. Can Gassiev?
Physically Gassiev looks perfect for the cruiserweight division, but the big money lies with the heavyweights. His management moved him to Big Bear Lake to work under Abel Sanchez. This will be the 21-year-old Gassiev’s third fight in the U.S.
“He hits real hard,” said Sanchez. “We’re having a tough time getting sparring for him.”
In Gassiev’s last ring encounter Felix Cora Jr. put up stiff resistance and a gallant effort against the Russian pile driver. After nine rounds of battering Cora was finally stopped and Gassiev seemed thankful that he was tested to the maximum. In January, a match held in Montebello, Calif. saw an opponent literally hold the entire fight with a grip like a Boa constrictor until a referee stopped the fight ruled it a technical knockout. But not Cora, he tried to win.
Gassiev’s journey is currently in the baby steps mode as he tests the cruiserweight waters. But the goal is to move the Russian power hitter into the heavyweight realm.
Tom Loeffler, who heads K-2 Promotions, which promotes Golovkin, said he’s been able to observe Gassiev’s progress at Big Bear while the Russian fighter trains with Abel Sanchez.
“He has a tremendous upside,” said Loeffler, whose company does not promote Gassiev. “He’s a perfect fit for the style that Abel Sanchez uses.”
That style has been called many things, including the popular “Mexican style” that Golovkin likes to call it. Gassiev has a bead on it too.
Can Gassiev make the jump into the heavyweight division?
Step three takes place on Saturday in Hollywood.
Both Loeffler and Golovkin were present at Miguel Cotto’s destruction of former middleweight champion Daniel Geale of Australia.
“I thought Miguel Cotto performed well and looked good against Daniel Geale,” said Loeffler. “I don’t want to take anything away from Cotto’s victory, but how much of that was from the weight restrictions? Geale did not look good days before the fight.”
It’s a big question raised once again.
For fight after fight Manny Pacquiao has enjoyed handicaps such as Cotto’s handicap. Is it fair to request these weight restrictions on opponents and still call it a world title fight?
Because of the money that a fighter like Pacquiao or Cotto can bring to a fight, opponents are forced to allow themselves to be starved and weakened. Is this fair?
Safety should be the most important factor and when a fighter is weakened to the state Geale exhibited on Saturday; with his tepid punches and slowed reflexes, it’s obvious that the Australian was not at optimal strength.
The same thing happened when Oscar De La Hoya weighed 143 when he fought Pacquiao in 2008. Once the fight began De La Hoya’s punches were limp and slowed by the forced weight handicap.
Boxing is too dangerous a sport to force a fighter to risk his life for the sake of money. Every year pro boxers die in the ring. How would Cotto or Pacquiao feel if one of these opponents they forced to fight below their regular weight should perish because of weakness?
Winning is not everything.