Trainer Abel Sanchez once said that he rates Gennady Golovkin among the top three middleweights of all time behind Sugar Ray Robinson and Bernard Hopkins.
When Golovkin defends his WBA title against former beltholder Daniel Geale on July 26 at New York’s Madison Square Garden, Sanchez expects the Olympic silver medalist to prove himself worthy of that distinction.
“Ranking him behind those two people mentioned, I was hoping that we would get kinds of fights that would showcase in a way to prove that statement that I made,” said Sanchez of Golovkin (29-0, 26 knockouts), who will be after his 17th straight stoppage win against against Geale (30-2, 16 KOs).
“He definitely needs to fight Daniel in a manner that he’s fought some of the past opponents. But Daniel possesses the ability to go 12 rounds and that is going to be the biggest issue – to see if he can control a man and to dominate a man that is used to going 12 rounds and throwing as many punches as Daniel…These are the kinds of fights that will propel him to that level…”
Sanchez spoke during a Thursday conference call in advance of Golovkin-Geale.
Golovkin, 32, fought four times in 2013, stopping Matthew Macklin, Gabriel Rosado, Nobuhiro Ishida and Curtis Stevens. In February, Golovkin scored a seventh-round stoppage of Osumanu Adama, who was knocked out for the first time in his career.
“Against Stevens, we saw a [Marvin] Hagler-type of composure where Gennady was able to maintain himself after Stevens had upset him with some of the things that he said on social media,” said Sanchez, referring to the Stevens stoppage in November.
“He was able to be patient and to punish Curtis Stevens for some of the things that he had been saying. Those are attributes and the pluses that he has in comparing him to Hagler and comparing him to [Sugar Ray] Leonard and Sugar Ray Robinson. Those things will continue to be seen in time as he continues to fight great fighters like he’s fighting on July 26.”
GOLOVKIN DEBUTS IN THE GARDEN’S BIG ROOM WITH NO ‘EASY’ FIGHT
Although Golovkin will be making his third appearance at the Garden, the bout with Geale will be his first in the main arena after having twice fought in its smaller 5,600-seat capacity Theater.
Golovkin debuted at the Theater with a seventh round stoppage of Rosado in January 2013 and stopped Stevens there in the eighth, flooring him once in the second round.
“I’m so happy to be in the big arena this time. I’m excited about the fight with such a great fighter in Daniel,” said Golovkin, who is promoted by Tom Loeffler of K2 Promotions.
“Daniel Geale is a great fighter and I’ve watched tapes of his fights and I have seen that he’s a great fighter. That’s why I do not think that this fight will be that easy for me.”
LOEFFLER SAYS COTTO’S AT THE TOP OF THE LIST
Golovkin is focused on Geale, even as Loeffler has visions of future opportunities. Miguel Cotto, for example, is coming off last month’s 10th-round knockout of Sergio Martinez, whom he dethroned as RING and WBC 160-pound champion to become Puerto Rico’s first four-division titleholder.
Past considerations also have included RING super middleweight champion Andre Ward, WBO middleweight beltholder Peter Quillin and former WBC 160-pound titlist Julio Cesar Chavez Jr., among others.
“It’s my job as Gennady’s promoter to look forward and to plan ahead. Nobody on our team is underestimating what Daniel Geale brings to the table. As I mentioned before, he is clearly the biggest challenge for Gennady but that being said, if everything goes the right way on July 26 for Gennady, it’s still my job to strategize ahead of time if things go the right way. With Cotto’s big win against Sergio Martinez to win the WBC middleweight championship of the world, certainly he moves to the top of our list,” said Loeffler.
“There were some talks about a Chavez fight before but that didn’t come to fruition. Any of those big names. Gennady’s interested in fighting anybody and if it’s compelling fight and a pay-per-view fight, he would move up or he would move down. But right now, he’s focused on Daniel Geale. If he beats Daniel Geale on July 26, then the priority would be to start unifying the middleweight titles. But nobody is underestimating Daniel by any stretch of the imagination.”
GOLOVKIN ADMITS: ‘IT’S HARD TO GET FIGHTS’
Golovkin has gone into the 10th round just once, when he stopped former titleholder Kassim Ouma in June 2011. Beyond that, Golovkin has gone no further than eight rounds.
Speaking through a translator, Golovkin acknowledged the notion that rivals fear him.
“I think so, I understand my situation…I don’t think much about that but I do hear about that,” said Golovkin. “I do hear from my team that when they’re trying to make fights against top fighters that it’s hard to get fights. That’s just what I have heard but I don’t think much about that.”
Golovkin was asked where his exceptional power comes from.
“I think that it’s a natural power. It’s hard work every day,” said Golovkin. “My speed, my timing, all of that together, that’s my natural power. Just my timing is very important. It’s original.”
GEALE HAS IMPRESSIVE CREDENTIALS
Ranked number two by THE RING at middleweight behind champion Cotto and Golovkin, Geale, 33, is coming off February’s sixth round stoppage of Garth Wood that following a split decision loss to Darren Barker in August 2013.
Geale originally won the IBF’s belt by split decision over Sebastian Sylvester in May 2011 and later unified it with the WBA via split decision over Felix Sturm in September 2012.
But when Geale elected to avenge his lone defeat at the time – with a unanimous decision over Anthony Mundine in January 2013 – he was forced to give up the WBA belt rather than face Golovkin. Geale then lost the IBF title to Barker.
“He’s a two-time world champion and he won two world championships over in Germany, which is not the easiest thing to do. He beat two great fighters in Sturm and Sylvester,” said Loeffler.
“So the credentials that he brings to the ring are impressive. Gennady Golovkin has been characterized as the fastest rising star in boxing and he brings excitement every time that he gets into the ring. That’s why we’re excited about this event.”
Sanchez agreed with Loeffler regarding Geale.
“For Daniel to go to Germany and to beat Sylvester and to beat Sturm, that says a lot about Daniel,” said Sanchez. “So we have a fight on our hands.”
Losses to Mundine and Barker aside, Geale believes Golovkin’s skills and the event’s magnitude will bring the best out of him.
“To be honest, Gennady’s got titles and I want titles and that’s my main goal here. I want to fight the best fighters and I want to win titles, and there’s only one way to do that. Whether he has a great record or not, you have to get in there and test yourself against the best fighters in the world,” said Geale.
“Gennady’s got a powerful punch as everybody knows but the guy’s got great footwork and skills as well to back that up. So you can’t be one-dimensional in any way because he’ll find a hole. So, for me, that makes it good. That means that I have to improve and I have to step up and I have to fight at my best as well. Normally when I do fight great fighters, I step up and I fight better as well. In this case, I’m going to make that happen.”
SAKIO BIKA, SAM SOLIMAN ARE PICKING GEALE OVER GOLOVKIN
Geale has sparred with WBC super middleweight titleholder Sakio Bika as well as IBF 160-pound beltholder Sam Soliman, each of whom favor him against Golovkin for the upset.
In May, Soliman dethroned Sturm by unanimous decision, defeating the German fighter in their second meeting. Sturm had retired Barker by second-round knockout in December after Barker had vanquished Geale.
“Without giving too much away, if Daniel Geale fights his absolute best, then I believe that beats Gennady’s best,” said Graham Shaw, Geale’s trainer. “We’ll have to see on that night but so far, he’s looked the best he’s ever looked.”
That’s fine with Sanchez.
“We’re extremely happy that we’re in the last week of training and I’m sure that Gennady and Daniel can’t wait to get into the ring. I’m sure that Daniel will be well-prepared,” said Sanchez.
“It’s the first time that Gennady will have been out of action for so long but he’s champing at the bit to get back into the ring. We’re looking forward to Madison Square Garden and putting on a great fight for the fans.”
KEANDRE GIBSON-JOSE HERNANDEZ ON JERRY BELMONTES-ABNER COTTO CARD
Rising junior welterweight Keandre Gibson will take on Jose Hernandez in a televised support bout on August 7 at the American Bank Center in Corpus Christi, Texas.
Gibson-Hernandez will be featured FOX Sports 1 and FOX Deportes’ “Golden Boy Live!” show whose main event features junior lightweight Jerry Belmontes against Abner Cotto.