Expectations for middleweight Gennady Golovkin were bumped up a few notches on a Wednesday conference call to hype a Sept. 1 HBO show, which is topped by Golovkin-Grzegorz Proksa middleweight scrap. The event will run at the Turning Stone Resort, in Verona, NY.
Golovkin was supposed to face Dmitriy Pirog, who had to pull out with an injury. Pirog injured his back in early July, ahead of their Aug. 25 date. Pirog, actually, was initially supposed to fight Daniel Geale, but Geale pulled out of that to instead meet Felix Sturm. They will fight on Sept. 1, as well, in Germany. Golovkin, who is based in Germany, has the WBA world middleweight crown, and comes in with a 23-0 record, with 20 KOs. He comes off a win on May 12 over Makoto Fuchigami (TKO3).
Golovkin, who has been here training for three months, said he's psyched to be fighting for the first time in the US, and trainer Abel Sanchez said he won't be thrown off by delays. Sanchez, who trained Terry Norris, and his brother Orlin, as well as Miguel Gonzalez and Yory Boy Campas, offered high praise of Golovkin. "This one by far is the best I've ever worked with," the trainer said. "I think it's the 350 amateur fights which have made him such a serene, composed fighter. If there's one thing he possesses, it's lethal power in each hand."
Is there perhaps too much pressure on the kid when he is given such high praise? (Note: Terry Norris is a Hall of Famer, elected in 2005, and was a three time junior middleweight champion.)
"Not at all," Sanchez said. The trainer said that he has helped Golovkin understand that American audiences want KOs, and that he "needs to initiate, needs to be the aggressor, not to make it a long, boring fight, make the public want to see him again. One of the things I've made him understand, the quicker the better, you get paid the same for one round or twelve rounds."
Proksa was asked to describe to his style for those who haven't seen him. He didn't offer any specifics on his style, but said, "It's a tough fight for sure. I respect my opponent but I believe in my work." Is Golovkin his toughest foe to this point? "I think one of three toughest guys I've fought," he said. (Here is some YouTube of Proksa.)
Trying to get a sense of the stakes, I asked what would be next for Golovkin if he wins. Tom Loeffler of K2, who handles Golovkin, handled that. "If Gennady is successful on Sept. 1 we're pretty much open. We've made clear to anyone in the middleweight division." The Chavez Jr-Martinez winner, the Sturm-Geale winner or a fight with Pirog are all on the table, he said.
Shaw chimed in. "I would not sell Proksa short, it's going to be a very, very tough fight. This is a very deep division."
Proksa's promoter, Barry Hearn, said he's old now, and is selective about the fights he watches, but wouldn't miss this one for the world. "Proksa has one loss on his record when he lost his European title in a controversial points decision in a fight where he suffered a terrible cut via an accidental clash of heads," Hearn said of the Pole. "That loss has been avenged via a knockout victory to regain his European crown and he does not intend to suffer a loss in this fight. The fight features the two biggest punchers in the middleweight division and I am convinced that fight will not go the distance."
Loeffler, of K2 said he was happy that the Proksa (28-1) crew didn't hesitate when offered the bout, which made him happy.
Leon Margules spoke about Jonathan Gonzalez, who meets middleweight Sergiy Dzinziruk, and said his fighter is the type to look to stop foes. The Puerto Rican hitter, who has a 15-0 mark (13 KOs), said he is thankful to get the opportunity. He comes off a UD10 win over Billy Lyell in February, his second straight decision win after 13 straight KOs. The Ukrainian Dzinziruk, who has a 37-1 record, last fought in March 2011, dropping a TKO8 to Sergio Martinez. Dzinzi was able to weigh in, because he only speaks Russian, and his interpreter wasn't present, initially, but then he showed up.
The fight landed at Turning Stone after being offered to a few locations, and they bid the highest, Loeffler said.
Who will win #HOPKINSKOVALEV