Undefeated WBA middleweight titleholder Gennady Golovkin is predicting an early-to-middle rounds knockout over rising Philadelphia junior middleweight standout Gabriel Rosado, whom the Olympic silver medalist from Kazakhstan will face on Jan. 19 at Madison Square Garden on HBO.
Coming off a fifth-round knockout of Grzegorz Proksa last September, Golovkin (24-0, 21 knockouts) will be after his 12th straight stoppage victory against Rosado (21-5, 13 KOs), a winner of seven straight fights, five of those by knockout.
While training at altitude in Big Bear Lake, Calif., Golovkin’s workouts have included sparring sessions with WBO junior middleweight beltholder Zaurbek Baysangurov (28-1, 20 KOs) and cruiserweight prospect Isa Akberbayev, as well as light heavyweight Dhafir Smith, of Upper Darby, Pa., and Philadelphia super middleweight Farah Ennis, according to the boxer’s trainer, Abel Sanchez.
Baysangurov is a 27-year-old winner of nine straight fights, six of them by stoppage, since falling by fifth-round stoppage to Cornelius Bundrage in December of 2008. Akberbayev is 10-0 with seven knockouts, including five straight, and will fight on the undercard at MSG on Jan. 19.
Golovkin-Rosado will be on the undercard of a main event featuring unbeaten featherweight contender Mikey Garcia and WBO beltholder Orlando Salido. The HBO tripleheader will also include a WBO junior lightweight clash between Puerto Rican titleholder Roman “Rocky” Martinez and Mexico’s Juan Carlos Burgos.
Sanchez has his sights on bigger and better opponents for Golovkin, including middleweight titleholders such as RING and WBC champion Sergio Martinez, IBF and WBO counterparts Daniel Geale and Peter Quillin, as well as former beltholders Julio Cesar Chavez Jr., Felix Sturm, Anthony Mundine, or Dmitry Pirog.
RingTV.com spoke to Golovkin about Rosado, as well as his future beyond their fight.
RingTV.com: Do you respect Rosado for taking on such a dangerous fighter such as yourself when it appears that others are passing on you?
Gennady Golovkin: You know, Rosado is a tough fighter. I respect him because he’s fighting with me and there is no fear. He’s not scared of me. He’s a big man.
He’s a warrior and he’s not always fighting as a middleweight. He’s gotten bigger. He’s a little bit taller than me. I think that it will be a good fight and I respect him because he’s not scared.
RTV: Do you think that your styles will make for an exciting fight?
GG: I think that it will be a good fight because he’s not too much of a mover. I think that it will be a good fight because he wants to fight. It’s a good fight and not an ugly fight because of our styles.
I come to fight and he’s a warrior. He’s a strong man and he’s not too much moving and doesn’t have a crazy style. He wants a knockout and I want a knockout, so there will be drama about who is going to win.
It’s not going to be who has the better style or who is the better dancer. It’s just who can fight and who can get the knockout and who is the best.
RTV: How has your sparring with Baysangurov and Akberbayev been beneficial?
GG: Baysangurov helps me and I help him. He’s a good man. He has good strength. Akberbayev is bigger. It’s a good deal.
Baysangurov has good speed and he’s fast and helps me concentrate. He’s good for my reactions. Akberbayev is big, and he’s a cruiserweight. He’s a big guy with a good punch. He’s good for me also.
RTV: What about Smith and Ennis?
GG: It’s good sparring for me, the two guys from Philadelphia. It’s good for me. They have an American style and they’re good boxers with good speed.
They’re a little bigger than me, which is good for me. They make it difficult for me because they’re smart and have good speed and they move.
They’re very smart, and this is the American style. I like the work. I like it a lot. This is very important for me. It’s perfect.
RTV: If you could, would you like to face Ward, Froch, Kessler, Bute, Pavlik or any of the 168 pounders?
GG: Look, right now, for me, it’s Gabriel Rosado. But in the future, yeah, I would like to fight any of them. I would like Andre Ward. I respect him, he is a great super middleweight.
Mikkel Kessler, he’s a good man, just a good guy. Strong guy. Good boxer. They will be there in the next division. Why not? I like those fights.
I don’t care who it is. I think Andre Ward is better, because he’s a very good boxer. So in the future, yeah, I want those fights.
RTV: How many fights are you away from rising to 168 and taking on one of those big-named guys?
GG: You know, this is my weight class right now, middleweight. A couple of more fights at middleweight, and then I’m going to super middleweight.
I don’t know how many fights, maybe two or three fights and I’ll be ready for a big name at the super middleweight division. So I think two, three fights.
RTV: How do you see your fight with Rosado going?
GG: Good question. I think that it will be a knockout. So I don’t see this fight going very long. This is boxing, so maybe not in the first round.
So first round, hard work, hard fight. Second round, hard work. I’ll start to wear him down. I think maybe in the fifth round, it’ll be a knockout. By the fifth round, I will knock him out.
Video / Daniel Morales and Dominic Verdin
Photos / Scott Kilbride
Lem Satterfield can be reached at email@example.com