RingTV.com contributor Francisco Salazar provides some news on fight cards, press events and fighters making moves in Southern California, including notes from the recent Gennady Golovkin media workout in Santa Monica.
Golovkin, the unbeaten WBA middleweight titleholder from Kazakhstan, has made quite a name for himself in the last 18 months here in the United States.
His fan base has increased, he fights on a premium network (HBO), and is mentioned as one of the best, if not the best, fighters in his division.
Golovkin will fight Daniel Geale at Madison Square Garden in New York City next Saturday (July 26). The fight, along with a heavyweight showdown between Bryant Jennings and Mike Perez, will be televised live on HBO.
Golovkin met with media on Wednesday at the Box N Burn in Santa Monica, Calif., before heading to the ESPY awards later in the day in Los Angeles.
While there are those who believe Golovkin may prevail over Geale next Saturday, the Kazakh fighter is not overlooking his Australian opponent.
“I respect him and he’s an ex-champion,” said Golovkin, who is promoted by K2 Promotions. “I think that it will not be an easy fight for me. It will be a great fight for me, my team, and for television.
“I have great sparring. I have a lot of sparring partners. It’s been a great camp.”
While Golovkin is focused on Geale, something he was adamant about with media on Wednesday, fight fans and reporters have played matchmakers of sorts as to whom Golovkin should face next.
There has been talk of Golovkin fighting super middleweight champ Andre Ward in a battle of unbeaten fighters. That remains to be seen, considering Ward has had legal problems with his promoter, Dan Goossen.
Golovkin was scheduled to fight Julio Cesar Chavez jr. this Saturday at The Forum in the Los Angeles suburb of Inglewood. The fight was scrapped when Chavez reportedly turned down a written contract and a $5-million payday.
Life moves on and so is Golovkin. While Geale presents a formidable challenge and the attractive fights against Ward and Chavez await, Golovkin is eager to fight the best in the middleweight.
“It’s very important for me to be the best at middleweight. There’s (WBC champion) Miguel Cotto, Peter Quillin (WBO champion), and (IBF champion) Sam Soliman. I need unification fights to prove who is the best middleweight,” Golovkin said.
Also fighting on the July 26 card in New York City will be Ola Afolabi.
The longtime cruiserweight contender is scheduled to fight Anthony Caputo Smith in a 10-round bout that will be on the non-televised undercard of the K2 Promotions/ Gary Shaw Productions card.
Afolabi (20-3-4, 9 KOs), who resides in the Los Angeles-area, won a 12-round majority decision over Lukasz Janik on Nov. 2 in New York City.
Afolabi is best known for being a two-time interim WBO beltholder and for his three fights against Marco Huck. Afolabi lost twice and fought to a controversial draw against Huck, a fight most thought Afolabi won.
A win could possibly set up a bout with IBF cruiserweight champion Yoan Pablo Hernandez. Afolabi is ranked number three in the governing body.
After winning his first 13 bouts, Smith (15-3, 10 KOs) has lost three of his last five. In his last bout on June 27, Smith lost an eight round unanimous decision to BJ Flores.
Boxing makes its long-awaited return to the Antelope Valley on Saturday night as Rodriguez Promotions presents a seven-bout card.
Junior featherweight Erik Ruiz will fight Jonathan Alcantara in a six round bout at the Pioneer Events Center (PEC) in Lancaster.
Ruiz (12-1, 6 KOs) stopped Brandon Gushiken in the second round of his last fight on April 26 in Port Hueneme. Ruiz, who trains at the Robert Garcia Boxing Academy in Oxnard, has won his last three bouts in a row since losing a six round majority decision to Isaac Zarate on August 24.
Alcantara (6-10-2, 1 KO) has lost seven of his last nine bouts.
Six four-round bouts will round out the “Rumble in the Desert” card, including hometown fighter Johnny Reyes (3-0, 1 KO) fighting Alejandro Ochoa (3-8-2, 1 KO).
Tickets start at $35 and could be purchased at the door or by calling (661) 726-1911, extension 101.
Doors to the venue open at 6:00 p.m., with first bell scheduled for 7:00 p.m.
The Pioneer Events Center is located at 45000 Valley Central Way in Lancaster.
Francisco A. Salazar has written for RingTV since October of 2013 and has covered boxing in Southern California and abroad since 2000. He also covers boxing in Southern California for the Ventura County (CA) Star newspaper, Boxingscene.com, and Knockout Nation. He can be reached by email at [email protected] or on Twitter at FSalazarBoxing