Thursday, July 25, 2024  |


Lem’s latest: Golovkin’s trainer breaks down 160-pound division

Fighters Network


Trainer Abel Sanchez said he always knew that Matthew Macklin represented “an easy fight” for WBA middleweight titleholder Gennady Golovkin, who dropped and stopped the English challenger in the third round of their fight in June.

Sanchez said he expects Golovkin (27-0, 24 knockouts) to have an equally simple night during a proposed Nov. 2 bout against Curtis “Showtime” Stevens (25-3, 18 KOs) that could happen at New York’s Madison Square Garden.

“I knew that was going to be a three-to-five round fight. I knew that it was going to be an easy fight, because these people are not on his level,” said Sanchez of Golovkin, who will be after his 15th straight stoppage win against Stevens. “I said before the weigh-in that it was going to be an easy fight within five rounds, after Gennady landed the first jab. I knew that it was a matter of time.”

Sanchez ranks Golovkin, RING champion Sergio Martinez and former titleholder Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. as the top three fighters at 160 pounds, followed by WBO counterpart Peter Quillin. Sanchez said boxers such as the IBF’s  Darren Barker, who dethroned Daniel Geale by split-decision on Aug. 17, are next in line.

Martinez, 38, has had to rise from the canvas during each of his past two unanimous decision victories over Chavez and Martin Murray in September and April, respectively, while also having suffered injuries as a result of those bouts.

Martinez has also scored 11th-round knockouts over Barker and Macklin in October of 2011 and March of last year, respectively, rising from a seventh-round knockdown to defeat Macklin. Geale dethroned Felix Sturm by split-decision in September of last year.

“There are three guys in the middleweight division on one level. There is Chavez, Martinez and Golovkin on one level, and then, there is Quillin at the next level, and then there is the Barkers and the Geales and the Sturms and all of those guys at the next level,” said Sanchez.

“I think that Quillin is developing into a very good fighter. That’s why I place him where he is. As far as Macklin, Macklin hadn’t shown me what it takes to compete at that level, with a Martinez or a Golokin or a Chavez. Curtis Stevens is not on his level either.”

Sanchez said that he continues to be impressed by the humility of Golovkin, despite his success and increasing popularity as THE RING’s No. 1-rated middleweight.

“What has surprised me is that at this level, he has not started to squawk. You know how guys start reading the print and they start believing how great they are? There’s none of that with this guy. He’s so helpful in the gym and wanting to work with the other guys. It surprises me that he doesn’t seem to really want to impress upon everyone else how great he is. It’s just the opposite,” said Sanchez.

“From the beginning, he has been exactly what I thought he would be three and a half years ago, when I put that list on the the chalkboard and told him that he was going to be No. 2 behind Muhammad Ali on the list of the all-time best, because I really thought that he had the tools. It was just a matter of his progression… from fight-to-fight, he doesn’t question anything. He doesn’t argue about anything. He just does exactly what he’s told. There is never too much, there is never too little, I’m the coach, he’s the fighter, and we go at it like that. So nothing has surprised me.”

If Golovkin dispatches Stevens as impressively as he did Macklin, will he do himself more harm than good as far as landing a future opponent?

“I think that Gennady’s in a catch 22. If we do good, then our options are limited. If we do badly, then our options are even worse. So if we don’t look good against Stevens, then it’s, ‘Well, he wasn’t as good as he was supposed to be, but he’s still a threat.’ If he does great against Stevens, then ‘He’s too good, and we don’t want to fight him.’ But I think that the whole key is HBO. I think that if we destroy Stevens, like I know that he’s going to, then he gets on a different level budget-wise. Then there not quite as much risk-reward for the other fights against a lot of the other names,” said Sanchez.

“So Quillin, I’m sure, would be willing to fight Golovkin if the money was right. I think that Peter, most definitely, would take it. Unfortunately, he’s with Showtime, so there’s a potential problem with the networks. But I think that if the money was right, Quillin would jump at the chance, as would Geale or Barker or any of those other guys. But it comes to a point where the options are limited for them too, and they can keep on going and fighting and recycling the same guys. But I that if Golovkin gets big, then, like with Floyd Mayweather, then he’ll become worth taking the chance against.”


The trainer of welterweight Devon Alexander said the southpaw is preparing to score the stoppage in a planned defense of his IBF belt against Amir Khan, which could happen at Barclays Center in Brooklyn on Dec. 7, according to Golden Boy Promotions CEO Richard Schaefer .

A former two-time 140-pound titlewinner who has been knocked out twice, Khan would be looking for his third straight victory in as many fights under new trainer Virgil Hunter and would be in his 147-pound debut if he were to meet Alexander, a former IBF and WBC junior welterweight beltholder.

Meanwhile, Alexander has been training since Monday after having been cleared by doctors to do so in the wake of suffering a broken left hand during his seventh-round technical knockout of Great Britain’s Lee Purdy in May.

“If you’re asking me what the game plan is, the game plan is to knock his ass out. That’s the game plan,” said trainer Kevin Cunningham of a deal that still has yet to finalize the deal between Alexander and Khan.

“That’s what we’re preparing to do, is to knock Amir Khan’s ass out. We would use long, rangy fast sparring partners. That’s pretty much the type of guy that we’re trying to use. The mission is to try to clip this dude.”

Schaefer also would like to match Brooklyn-born former titleholders Paulie Malignaggi and Zab Judah, and have a third bout featuring former beltholder Victor Ortiz on the card.

Ortiz is currently filming the third installment of the action movie series “The Expendables,” as announced last month by actor Sylvester Stallone, and previously reported by




Photos by Naoki Fukuda

Lem Satterfield can be reached at [email protected]