Golovkin’s Mexican Style
The words came out of his mouth as they only can from Gennady Golovkin, who, after his knockout victory over Daniel Geale on July 26, told HBO’s Max Kellerman that his ring identity and style could best be described as being “Mexican style.” It became another insta-meme/malapropism from boxing’s Yogi Berra, who says stuff that in a way that isn’t always perfect but makes perfect sense.
Now, in other sports, such political incorrectness would be frowned upon and condemned. In boxing – still the red-light district of sports – such statements are used as marketing ploys. As his fight against Marco Antonio Rubio (who is from south of the border) was secured during the summer, this promotion was quickly dubbed “Mexican Style” with nary a protest.
There is no more passionate boxing fan-base than the Mexicans (although the Puerto Ricans may strongly disagree) and nobody is more loyal to their own then they are. One thing was noticeable over the past year or so when you’d see Golovkin, usually flanked by Tom Loeffler of K2 Promotions and his trainer, Abel Sanchez: at various boxing events at the StubHub Center – where this weekend’s event is taking place – or the Fabulous Forum, he was mobbed by the Mexican masses. Many other times, you’ll see world-class boxers appear at an event and quite frankly, the Mexicans don’t really care if they’re not one of their own. However, it seems they have given Golovkin an honorary citizenship.
Golovkin could easily be a “Garcia” or “Gonzalez.”
When asked about the popularity he has within this culture, Golovkin answered, “First, thank you very much to my coach, Abel Sanchez; he’s from California. I have a lot of practice with great Mexican champions. I have a lot of fans from Mexico. It’s my style; it’s my life. “It’s my second home.”
Of the fans who will be in attendance on Saturday night, like any other card in the Los Angeles area, the predominant number of the patrons will be Mexican-American. I posed this question on Twitter: Just how many of those particular fans would be there specifically because of “GGG” and beyond that, would they dare root for him against a fellow Mexican? Sounds downright blasphemous but here are some of the answers I received that seemed to echo the consensus opinion:
@LAGuns: “@steveucnlive bought 20 tickets to see GGG. Sorry Rubio.”
@Aflores619: “@steveucnlive From T Gwynn land for GGG. But lucked out and was given Walters Donaire. So also routing for the Jamaican Mon”
@nuts2fat: “@steveucnlive got tickets cuz of him & will be cheering him on, I was prepared to buy tickets when he was rumored to fight chavez @ the forum”
@julyflowerscpa: “@steveucnlive from San Diego; floor seats with @freerix strictly because of GGG”
@Santi0831: “@steveucnlive Mexicano , got my Mexican Style Tix n will b rooting for GGG but won’t be disappointed if Rubio pulls if Hail Mary”
@le9547: “@steveucnlive raises hand”
@caxcan89: “@steveucnlive I will be there with my black salvadorian friend cheering for GGG.”
Ironically, Rubio is the first Mexican Golovkin has faced in his professional career. Of the experienced Rubio, who has a mark of 59-6-1 (51) with losses to Kelly Pavlik and Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. and a victory over David Lemieux to his credit, Golovkin says, “He’s a great fighter. I saw a lot fights; Marco Antonio, I respect him. Right now he’s the best opponent for me. He’s a great champion; he’s the WBC interim champion. This is a unification fight. He’s the best of the Mexican fighters in the middleweight division. Why not? First step, first fight in California, why not?
What really would have tested the loyalty of Mexican fans is if the proposed bout with Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. would have come to fruition. Yes, while Golovkin fights a lot like “JC Superstar” thus his popularity with this particular demographic, this is the latter’s son. Alas, that fight never materialized as Chavez Jr. could not come to terms with Top Rank Promotions. That could’ve been the fight to catapult Golovkin into a marquee name.
“Right now, the focus is for my fight,” he said, when asked about the disappointment of the Chavez assignment not becoming a reality. “In the future, yeah, I hope the fight with Chavez Jr. [happens and I want] unification fights. I want big fights because I’m ready.”
One of the most appealing facets of Golovkin is he’s one of the very few modern-day fighters to stay as active as possible. While most boxers at the 12-round level are more than content to box twice a year at the most, Golovkin gave a clear directive to his handlers to keep him busy. If it wasn’t for the untimely death of his father earlier this year, the Rubio fight would have been his fourth of 2014. To put this into perspective, the lonesome foursome of Andre Ward, Chavez Jr., Mikey Garcia and James Kirkland combined have fought twice as they have been bogged down with business disputes. Next year, the plan is for Golovkin to fight four times (as he did in 2013).
Yeah, boxing is a business but to Golovkin, there still has to be some respect for the purity of boxing. He’s either incredibly naive or perhaps honorable. Regarding Peter Quillin’s recent decision to bypass a career-high payday of $1.4 million to take on his WBO mandatory, Matt Korobov and drop his title, “I like sport; I like boxing. I like fighters; I don’t like business. For me, boxing is first sport – not business.” He added, “Right now it’s a good deal for him, for Peter…yeah, I don’t understand. I understand my work in the ring. Outside? I don’t know.”
In lieu of getting the likes of Saul Alvarez or Miguel Cotto (who currently holds the WBC middleweight trinket but quite frankly doesn’t really need it), what Golovkin aims to do in the near future is trap the other titleholders so they eventually have to face him or abdicate their belts. The winner of Golovkin-Rubio will eventually become the mandatory challenger to Cotto. But it’s clear: Golovkin wants to clean out this division in the same way Bernard Hopkins was allowed to during his long and storied reign as the middleweight ruler.
“Yes, of course,” he says. “For me, it’s very important unification fights. Not just unification, just who is who. Who’s the best in the middleweight division? I want; I want.”
For the time being, Golovkin will have to settle for a being a boxer whose Q-rating is on the rise. That in itself makes him grateful.
“Just thank you very much to my team. Thank you very much to my promotion. Just two years, very brief, just busy all the time. I’m just very happy.”
MEXICAN STYLE BEATS
This is a music video dubbed “Mexican Style,” by Mario Ruiz and Omar Cruz. Is it possible that this saying has caught on so much that even Mexican MCs are now putting it to lyrics? Hey, don’t rule it out.
Some really bad news, Emanuel Augustus, a fan-favorite during his days as a highly skilled entertainer in the ring, was recently shot in the head and is currently on life-support:
Here’s hoping he can pull through.
Here’s Episode 501 of “The Next Round” with Gabe Montoya and Yours Truly. This week I bring out my world famous Emanuel Steward impersonation (warning: graphic language is involved as it’s a given if you want to do a proper impersonation of Mr. Kronk):
Brandon Rios tweeted (then quickly deleted) that he would be facing Mike Alvarado for the third time on December 20 but manager Cameron Dunkin told UCNLive.com that nothing is finalized and many details still have to be ironed out…Gary Gittlesohn notes that Brian Viloria will now return on a card on December 6 which is supposed to take place in Glendale before appearing on a card in Macao in February…Felix “The Future” Verdejo will end his 2014 campaign on Dec. 13 in Philadelphia at the 2300 Arena. No word as to whether Taz (ECW! ECW!) will walk out to the ring with him…Provided Jameis Winston plays, I expect FSU to have already put Notre Dame away before the HBO broadcast on Saturday night kicks off…RIP Chalky White…I can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org and I tweet (a lot) at http://twitter.com/steveucnlive. I also share photos of stuff at http://instagram.com/steveucnlive.