Gennady Golovkin vs. Steve Rolls: Odds, TV Schedule, Live Stream and Predictions

Nate Loop@Nate_LoopFeatured ColumnistJune 6, 2019

Gennady Golovkin, of Kazakhstan, boxes during a workout Tuesday, June 4, 2019,  in New York. Golovkin faces Steve Rolls, of Canada, in a middleweight bout on Saturday. (AP Photo/Mark Lennihan)
Mark Lennihan/Associated Press

Just one week after Andy Ruiz Jr.'s incredible upset over Anthony Joshua at Madison Square Garden, New York, Steve Rolls will be looking to pull off an upset of his own in the historic venue when he takes on Gennady Golovkin in a 164-pound catchweight bout. 

The stakes aren't quite as high this time around at MSG. Unlike Joshua, Golovkin (38-1-1, 34 KOs) isn't defending any titles, nor is his record perfect. Golovkin has Saul "Canelo" Alvarez to thank for that. After fighting to a draw in late 2017 in a world middleweight title clash, the two met in the ring again in September 2018. That time, Alvarez eked out a majority decision in a thrilling contest. 

Alvarez has fought twice since then, his star (and his bank account) continuing to rise. Golovkin, 37, has the unenviable task of trying to regroup while his prime athletic years are well behind him. He's looking for another shot at Alvarez in September, per the Los Angeles Times' Arash Markazki, creating boxing's latest great trilogy. 

Rolls (19-0, 10 KOs) is a tune-up opponent, but he can't be overlooked. He will be looking to capture the same magic as Ruiz, with his promoter Lou DiBella, even going so far as making sure he has the same locker room as the new heavyweight champ, per ESPN.com's Dan Rafael. If Golovkin somehow falters here, his six-fight contract with DAZN might end up being filler for the ascendant streaming service.


Golovkin vs. Rolls Fight Info

When: Saturday, Jun. 8 at 9 p.m. ET (main card)

Where: Madison Square Garden in New York City

TV: Sky Sports Action (UK)

Live Stream: DAZN (subscription required)

Odds: Golovkin -3300 (bet $3,300 to win $100), Rolls +1400 (bet $100 to win $1,400)

Odds courtesy of OddsChecker.com and updated as of Thursday, Jun. 6 at 7 a.m. ET.


Golovkin is at the age where a long break from the ring—nine months, in this case—can either rejuvenate him or give ample time for his natural gifts to erode. The Kazakhstani fighter's calling card has always been his punching power. He looks like any other guy at his weight, but he's made of different stuff. Whatever it is, when his punch is straight and true, it shuts down the power grid. At least it used to. 

At one point, Golovkin stopped 23 guys in a row. In his last four fights, he has just one knockout, against Vanes Martirosyan. The fighter who could pulverize anyone couldn't do it to Alvarez or Daniel Jacobs, although they are two of the toughest boxers out there and far more talented than the majority of Golovkin's victims during his stoppage streak. Golovkin's destruction of Martirosyan was his typical bloody, brutal work.

Golovkin is ready to get back in the ring after a nice break and a new team to work with, but he's not taking anything for granted.

"I had a long break, but I feel right now I'm still smart, and am coming back more strong," said Golovkin, per Rafael. "Of course, Steve Rolls, my opponent—he's an undefeated guy. This is serious business, very dangerous sport. I believe he's ready for Saturday night. This is real life, real fight."

So how dangerous is Rolls? He has an undefeated record, but he's 35 years old and has fought just 19 times as a professional (he fought for several years as an amateur, compiling an 83-14 record). None of his opponents are notable names, and he hasn't exactly torn them apart, with just 10 knockouts in his career.

What the Canadian does have on his side is hunger. For Rolls, who pays the bills as a personal trainer, per ESPN.com's Steve Kim, this is his shot at making a name for himself. He's been patiently waiting for this very moment.

"After my last fight a couple of months ago, I was saying, 'I love doing this, but I've got to make a living. When am I going to break out? When am I going to get that breakout fight that's going to get my name out there?'" Rolls said, per Kim.

Mark Lennihan/Associated Press

If Rolls is to pull off the upset, or even last the full 12 rounds, he's going to have to box very carefully. Golovkin might have some rust to shake off and could be in the mood to bank some rounds. Rolls has a slightly longer reach than Golovkin, so he can try to stay on the outside and pick his spots.

Unfortunately, Rolls doesn't appear to have the power to deter Golovkin, who may have a chin as strong as his fists, considering the hellacious shots he walked through in his fights with Alvarez. Rolls better hope he is made of the same material. 

This fight could start off slow, but expect Golovkin to turn the screws as the fight progresses and finish off Rolls in the middle rounds. Madison Square Garden just saw one upset that blindsided the boxing world, but two in a row seems very unlikely. 

Prediction: Golovkin by TKO in 7th round