Gennady Golovkin comes out swinging
Regardless of where he’s fighting next, just about every time he is two weeks away from his next date, unified IBF/WBA/WBC middleweight champion Gennady “GGG” Golovkin descends from his training camp in Big Bear, California, to take part in a Los Angeles media workout.
At Madison Square Garden in New York City on March 18, Golovkin faces Daniel “The Miracle Man” Jacobs in the main event of an HBO Pay-Per-View broadcast and, this past Tuesday afternoon, Golovkin met with the boxing media in an upstairs room at the Wild Card West Gym before working out for the cameras down below.
Tom Loeffler, managing director of K2 Promotions, kicked off the session, as he typically does, and GGG’s promoter laid out the latest deal he made to further Golovkin’s popularity.
“We just closed a big deal with German television, MDR.” said Loeffler. “It’s a open network television. That’s a testament to (Golovkin’s) international marketability and his recognition as a world champion. Gennady is willing to fight anyone, anywhere, and, with his fights broadcast in so many different countries, it really builds on his career.”
Also announced was the new episode of HBO’s “24/7: Golovkin/Jacobs,” which airs this Saturday night on March 4 (HBO, 10:30 p.m ET/7:30 p.m. PT), as well as a new edition of HBO’s documentary series “2 Days,” which will feature Roman “Chocolatito” Gonzalez, who looks to defend his WBC super flyweight title for the first time on the HBO PPV undercard.
Golovkin, 36-0 (33), was more gregarious than usual when talking about his fight with Jacobs, and much of that has to do with the challenge he presents.
“Daniel, he has good boxing style and good boxing IQ,” Golovkin told reporters. “He has power. I know Daniel; I think, for me, he’s the best amateur from Brooklyn, from East Coast. He’s a very good boxer. Right now is very serious and very interesting for us. Not just for me, for us.”
Jacobs, 32-1 (29), who’s from Brooklyn, New York, will seemingly have a hometown advantage in their fight but Golovkin maintained that is not exactly the case.
“First of all, this is New York,” clarified Golovkin. “Daniel, he’s from Brooklyn. I feel very comfortable because I’ve had fights at Madison Square Garden. I feel this is my home. Madison is my home. Brooklyn, maybe he has Barclays Center. This is Madison – a little different, different people, different atmosphere. Of course, this is a huge fight for us, very serious fight. Right now, more interest because this is true. Both champions, maybe same boxing IQ. Not easy. Both respect. Best place. Best HBO pay-per-view. A lot of ‘best.’ I love this. This is my motivation. More interest.”
It will be the second world title shot for Jacobs, who was knocked out by Dmitry Pirog almost seven years ago. While Jacobs managed to obtain a version of the WBA middleweight title in 2014, Golovkin possesses the “Super Champion” status within the WBA’s corps of belts.
“Right now, Daniel, he’s much better. Seriously. I know Pirog. I met with him in Germany maybe about seven years ago and I think, Daniel, he had problems,” Golovkin said, referring to the death of Jacobs’ grandmother, the week prior to his sole defeat. “Right now, he’s more smarter, more stronger, much better.”
Not only was it a crushing defeat for Jacobs but a cancerous tumor was found wrapped around his spine less than six months later, and it, of course, put a halt to his young career as he underwent treatment.
“He has stronger mentality and body; he looks good,” Golovkin said about Jacobs’ life threatening fight outside the ring years ago. “He looks big, you know – strong. I think, yes. I think he understands 100 percent that it’s biggest chance for him. For me too, of course.”
Both men go into March 18 with impressive knockout streaks. Golovkin has 23 straight dating back to the summer of 2008 while Jacobs has 12 straight KOs – a streak that started after his loss to Pirog in 2010. Jacobs has had a knack for stopping opponents early in fights. His best win, over Peter Quillin in December of 2015, marked the 14th time he has achieved a knockout within the first three minutes.
“Not surprised. I understand his power,” Golovkin said about Jacobs’ knack for starting off hot, “his boxing IQ. He’s a very good fighter. I’m ready. I’m ready for first round – last round.”
Jacobs, who just turned 30, early last month, also carries a distinct size advantage when the two are face-to-face. One reporter asked Golovkin if Jacobs will be the tallest man he’s faced and, with the help of his trainer Abel Sanchez, who was sitting next to him, Golovkin replied, “(Nobuhiro) Ishida, yeah, he’s the tallest. Yeah, Japanese guy. Daniel, he has power. He’s a true champion. He’s not, like, fake, you know, easy fighter.”
Easy wins aren’t seldom in Golovkin’s career. Much of that has had to do with his inability to attract an elite opponent and his skills have been far superior to anyone else already put in front of him. The Golovkin team was close to getting a mandatory shot at then-WBC titlist Saul “Canelo” Alvarez last year but the Mexican superstar vacated the belt and Golovkin was left hanging out to dry. It’s why he only fought twice in 2016, and, for that reason alone, Golovkin hopes 2017 will be much better.
“I hope,” said Golovkin, who was compelled to say his focus is on Jacobs. “Last year – just too much talking, like Chris Eubank, Carl Froch, Canelo, (WBO titleholder Billy Joe) Saunders. Canelo give me belt. Seriously? Too much talking. Too much bad talking…I believe, for this year, is much better. Golden Boy (Promotions) (referring to Canelo’s promoter), he said he’s ready for me in September. Saunders, he’s ready for unification, for all the belts. I think this year is much better.”
Of course, it didn’t take long for a reporter to ask Golovkin about Canelo’s upcoming fight with Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. on May 6 (HBO PPV). With Canelo citing his reluctance to fight at middleweight as an excuse to face GGG last year, the Chavez fight is at a catchweight of 164.5 pounds. When asked his thoughts on that fight, Golovkin replied:
“I don’t know; ask him. I know boxing is 154, 160, 168, and this is not boxing. This is very bad for boxing, for sport. It’s good for business, bad for boxing. I respect boxing – sport. Classic. If you’re champion at 160, please, (fight at) 160. If you’re champion at 168, please (fight at) ’68. Not like ’52 or a new category.”
There was definitely a sense of contempt from Golovkin once Canelo entered the conversation. After all, Canelo asked Golovkin to get into the ring just after the Mexican knocked out Amir Khan last May. In the moment, the clash seemed all but signed as Canelo said, through an interpreter, that “Mexican’s don’t fuck around.” Weeks later, Canelo did just that by vacating the WBC middleweight title and avoiding his mandatory obligation.
Not only did Golovkin say he won’t be attending Canelo-Chavez but, when asked if the situation, in which Canelo invited him to the ring post-fight, presented itself again, Golovkin emphatically said, “No. For what?”
With a very good opponent ahead of him on March 18, Golovkin seemed happy that the fight with Jacobs was made.
“First fight this year. New season. There’s more interest. I’m very excited,” he stated.
For the time being, all the posturing, the bickering and the banter has been put aside. Golovkin has been clearly content during this particular camp; however, it would be remiss for him to not expect all of the above to continue, should he defeat Jacobs.