This past Saturday night, WBA “regular” middleweight champion Gennady Golovkin (24-0 21KOs) put the boxing world on notice that a new star had arrived.
Golovkin, in his U.S. television debut on HBO, scored a fifth-round TKO over European champion Grzegorz Proksa, who was 28-1 with 21 KOs coming into the fight.
Since the win, Golovkin has shot up four spots in the Ring Magazine rankings and is now ranked No. 4 in the world.
On Wednesday, September 5, Bleacher Report spoke with Gennady Golovkin’s trainer Abel Sanchez, who has worked with fighters such as Samuel Peter, Miguel Angel Gonzales and Hall of Fame fighter Terry Norris in the past.
B/R: First off, congratulations on the win this weekend. How impressed were you with Gennady’s performance?
You know, I was satisfied but I am not going to say I was completely satisfied. Because the first couple of rounds he was a little tight and he wanted to knock this guy’s head off, instead of just working like he did in the third, fourth and finally the fifth.
I am very satisfied with the win obviously and it was a great performance on HBO in his U.S. debut, but we are just scratching the surface with this guy. There is a lot more to go.
B/R: Do you think that the pressure of fighting on HBO and in the U.S. for the first time caused him to fight tight as you said?
Yes, I think it did. I think he was uh, I am not going to say nervous, but he was just tight. You know he was trying to make sure everything he did had knockout written all over it.
All fighters, all big knockout punchers, even one punch knockout artists [know] the knockout doesn’t come if you’re looking for a shot, it usually comes if you’re putting some kind of work behind it. A combination or a feint, and he wasn’t doing any of that.
B/R: How big of a star do you believe Gennady can become?
You know what, by next September you are going to be talking about him being the pound-for-pound best fighter in the world. I think we need about three fights.
He will make the guys that he fights like (WBA and IBF champion Daniel) Geale, or even (Julio Cesar) Chavez or any of the 168 pounders, (Andre) Ward will probably be the one that gives him the most difficulty and only because of his grab style, you know the clinching style, but he’s going to make very good fighters look ordinary.
I have been saying this for a year; his strength and power will make these guys fight a different fight.
B/R: You’ve worked with guys like Hall of Famer Terry Norris in the past, how good can Gennady be?
Right now he’s better than anything I have ever worked with at this point. Like I said, we are just scratching the surface. What makes him special is that he has all the qualities that Terry had, but the difference is he’s got power in both hands and that makes for such a different fight for whoever is in front of him.
B/R: Where does Gennady go from here?
Well, we are going to go to the September 15 (Sergio) Martinez- (Julio Cesar) Chavez fight and I was just reading a little while ago that (Daniel) Geale is going to go there, too. Obviously Geale has been ordered to face Gennady for the mandatory but Geale is going to give up the belt. There is no way the Gary Shaw is going to put him in with Golovkin.
I would say the winner of the Chavez-Martinez fight, but I am hoping that Martinez wins, because if that happens we have a better chance (to get the fight). If Chavez wins I know that Top Rank is not going to allow him to have that difficult a fight, they are going to milk it for as long as they can.
So the winner of that fight would be ideal for us. If it’s not going to happen, HBO and K2 are going to have to go to work and try to find us a suitable opponent for December.
B/R: Will Gennady be fighting exclusively here in the U.S. or will he bouncing back and forth between here and Europe?
He wants to fight here, but it’s not really up to us. It’s up to economics, it’s up to who wants to step up in the ring with him, it’s up to the demand for the best fighting the best. One fight is not going to, he’s not going to command that kind of demand yet. I think that by the second fight when people see him beat down another good opponent, then the demand will be there.
B/R: I doubt Martinez or Chavez would want to take such a dangerous fight so soon, so who do you think Gennady will actually fight in December?
You know we can go up to 168 and fight a top-10 opponent if nobody wants to fight us at 160. He can do a catch weight down to 155 or 156 and fight Kirkland. There are many, many guys but again it’s up to K2 and it’s up to the brass at HBO to see how much and what kinds of funds are available to lure some of these guys out.
B/R: You keep mentioning HBO, is Gennady an HBO fighter now?
No, not necessarily yet. We haven’t signed any kind of agreement but HBO is the one who took a chance on him so Gennady is thinking he’s got to be loyal to the company that did take a chance. I am sure if that if they (HBO) puts something together I am sure that Tom (Loeffler, promoter) and the management will make sure that they give HBO the first opportunity to make the guy a superstar.
B/R: Thank you for your time, Abel.
Thank you, Mike, have a good day.
Michael Walters is a Correspondent for Bleacher Report. Unless otherwise noted, all quotes were obtained first-hand.
You can follow Michael Walters on twitter @MWalters202