By David A. Avila
BIG BEAR, CA.-Standing in the middle of the boxing ring at the Summit, Gennady “Triple G” Golovkin and Roman “Chocolatito” Gonzalez stood side by side. As they shook hands it made me wonder who could beat who if they were the same size?
The three-division world champion Gonzalez, and Golovkin, the owner of a 22-consecutive knockout streak, both have fight dates on Sept. 10, one in Los Angeles and the other in London. Both face undefeated opponents. HBO will televise.
Does it get better than that?
Now they train together in Big Bear. Can the mountain top hold these two titans of boxing? Throw in Sergey Kovalev and it truly is crowded up in the mountaintop.
“It’s an honor to train here with Triple G,” said Gonzalez adding that he felt stronger in recent sparring in Indio because of the Big Bear altitude training.
Who would have imagined that two non-English speaking prizefighters from different parts of the world would be among the most popular boxers today?
It’s hard to fathom that four years ago both were hardly household names. Now after sharing three prior fight cards they are synonymous with excellence in prizefighting.
“This is the fourth time they have fought together. We don’t know how much longer we can do it, but as long as we can do it it’s the best combination in boxing. I think it really gives value to the boxing fan,” said K2’s Tom Loeffler, perhaps the best promoter in boxing.
Gonzalez (45-0, 38 KOs) heads to the Inglewood Forum to face Mexico’s Carlos Cuadras (35-0-1, 27 KOs), the holder of the WBC super flyweight world title. It’s an important date for the Nicaraguan who seeks to win a world title in a fourth weight division like his idol and fellow countryman Alexis Arguello.
“His mentor was Alexis Arguello who was able to win three world championships, it means a lot because he tried in 1982, 34 years ago which is my age, he tried to fight for a fourth world title and he came up short,” said Carlos Blandon the manager of Chocolatito. “He dedicates this to God and also to Alexis Arguello because he wants to give it to him.”
Blandon said the Forum has special meaning to Gonzalez because it is where the late Arguello captured his first world title in 1974 against Mexican great Ruben Olivares.
Olivares was one of the hardest punching Mexican fighters of all time. Arguello could hit too. Now we have Gonzalez reigning as the best of the little guys today. He faces Cuadras who also packs a punch. Boxing has no guarantees. A single punch can end any fight.
GGG and Brook
Golovkin (35-0, 32 KOs) travels to England to face the reigning IBF welterweight champion Kell Brook (36-0, 25 KOs) at the O2 Arena in London. Two other British fighters proclaimed loudly they would fight the Kazakhstan fighter and his “Mexican Style” but when it came to sign, they were nowhere to be found. Brook stepped up.
Brook has never been defeated. Those are the most dangerous.
Golovkin has never been defeated. He is considered the most dangerous fighter in the world.
Boxing fans in England sold out the spacious O2 Arena in one day. I guess they are curious to see “Triple G” perform in person against one of their own.
The middleweight world champion Golovkin has proven in his four years fighting in the U.S. to be the one of the most talented prizefighters of his era. He doesn’t run, he doesn’t hide, he simply destroys the opposition.
Ben Lira, who assists head trainer Abel Sanchez, has been in boxing for more than 60 years and says he has never seen a fighter of Golovkin’s caliber. This comes from one of the master trainers in the sport.
“He does things in the ring that you can’t teach, it comes from his 300 amateur fights and fights as a pro,” said Lira, who has a gym named after him in South El Monte. “Gennady has this way of making an opponent do something he wants them to do so he can land this punch or that punch. And once he hits you it’s a feeling you never forget. I see it all the time here when he spars.”
Trainer Sanchez says the middleweight champion says little but has this way of showing the others in the gym how to prepare. They all follow him. Now Chocolatito has become one of the Golovkin disciples.
“I’ve gotten a chance to be friends with Triple G a lot more,” said Gonzalez. “I get to train here. I run with him and spend a lot of time with Triple G. I feel truly blessed and I would like to repeat this in the future.”
Now there truly is Triple G camp with Golovkin, Gonzalez and hard-hitting cruiserweight Murat Gassiev.
“It’s truly a blessing to train here with Triple G,” Gonzalez said.