BIG BEAR LAKE, Ca.-Standing in the middle of the mountaintop boxing gym Gennady “Triple G” Golovkin looks like any other person as reporters gather around for interviews.
One might gather he’s a sales rep from a national drug company or a part-time actor with a side job as a broom sweeper for the facility. If you didn’t know better one would swear he could be a valet in Beverly Hills or caddy for upstart golfers.
But prizefighter, no, it just doesn’t seem possible.
Here was Golovkin surrounded by more than 40 or 50 reporters from all parts of the world including Germany, Great Britain and Australia. The air was heavy with humidity from the closed doors and heat inside The Summit Gym on Tuesday afternoon.
If an intelligent being from outer space were to step inside the gym and try to pick out the middleweight champion of the world, it would be near impossible to do. Golovkin simply does not look menacing, or talk out of the side of his mouth or shove people around.
Triple G, as he’s known, is simply a gentleman; until he steps between the ropes.
Once again the lucky people of Southern California get an opportunity to see Golovkin (34-0, 31 KOs) in action as he defends the numerous world titles he owns against undefeated Dominic Wade (18-0, 12 KOs) on April 23. The Forum in Inglewood is nearly sold out for this return home. HBO will televise.
The amiable Golovkin has a way of putting opponents at ease with his easy-going manners and non-confrontational speaking. It’s almost like he’s ushering them to the electric chair with a smile on his face. There’s not a hint of doom or gloom on his brow.
When he fought a year ago in this same venue the fans saw Golovkin everywhere signing autographs, posing with the Dodgers, lifting small children to eye level as the parents grabbed their phone cameras. If those same parents saw what he did to Willie Monroe Jr. on May 2015 they would be terrified. It was like the nice boy from Kazakhstan suddenly turned into the Wolf Man.
That night Monroe stepped into the boxing ring with only one loss on his resume. He had defeated some pretty tough customers to get the call. He was anxious to accept it. How many times does anyone fight for the middleweight world title?
Once that bell rang an invisible cloud changed Golovkin’s appearance and the normal-looking man transformed into this monster of the middleweights right in front of everyone’s eyes. Who knows if Monroe noticed the change but before the fight began, both looked physically equal. Immediately as soon as the bell clanged Golovkin looked like someone pumped up his biceps, jacked him up to seven feet in height and this scowl crossed his face as if Monroe had insulted Triple G’s mother.
It was scary.
Golovkin chased the fleet-footed Monroe across the ring from corner to corner. But there’s only so far you can scoot and only so long one can run until it’s time to stand and fight. Monroe stood his ground and was pounded by the “Mexican style” fighter. Monroe tried valiantly to stand his ground and was finally stopped. Much of the crowd may have let out a collective sigh of relief. No one wants to see an execution.
Immediately after the stoppage Golovkin changed back to the congenial prizefighter that most of the world recognizes. The smile was back and all was right again in the streets of Inglewood.
On this media day, as I look at the reporters gather around Golovkin I think back to that Monroe fight and remind myself to not be surprised the next time. Outside of the ring Golovkin is St. Peter. Inside the ring he’s Jack the Ripper.
Tom Loeffler arrived at Big Bear toting sneakers from Nike bearing the national colors of Golovkin’s native Kazakhstan. Triple G has been officially endorsed by the sports shoe company Nike Air Jordan. It’s another coup for Golovkin and K-2 Promotions.
“We just finalized the deal with the Nike Jordan brand,” said Loeffler, adding that Golovkin has always been a fan of Michael Jordan and the sports shoe brand.
Golovkin examined the two pairs of shoes carefully.
“For me Air Jordan is the best brand,” said Golovkin. “It’s a big deal.”
Check out the results “Golovkin Blasts Wade, Gonzalez Outpoints Arroyo” at The Boxing Channel.