Gennady Golovkin’s trainer: ‘We have the best fighter in the world’
While the trainer of WBA middleweight titleholder Gennady Golovkin agrees with RING and WBA super middleweight champion Andre Ward that a bout between the two would be "a great fight for boxing," Abel Sanchez said there is a good reason that Ward is receiving more pressure than Golovkin from media members to rise in weight.
Sanchez was responding to an interview with RingTV.com during which Ward (27-0, 14 knockouts) said that he is under more pressure to rise in weight for potential light heavyweight bouts opposite division champion Adonis Stevenson, or titleholders Bernard Hopkins and Sergey Kovalev, than Golovkin (28-0, 25 KOs) is to do so for a possible 168-pound matchup against Ward.
"There has been the press about me, and this pressure for me to go up to 175 all of a sudden when I'm not a full-fledged 175-pounder," said Ward. "But there's no pressure on Golovkin, like, it's okay for him to say, 'Wait, not right now.' But it's not okay for me to say it. So those are the things that I sometimes scratch my head about."
Sanchez argues that the sentiment is more valid in the case of Ward, who is THE RING's No. 2-rated fighter, pound-for-pound, behind RING 147- and 154-pound champion Floyd Mayweather Jr.
"I agree with him, to a point, but remember that Andre has already eclipsed or beaten everybody that's credible for him to fight in his division. Okay? We have not. When he's talking about the media putting pressure on him to move up, it's obvious to me why that is.
"If we had destroyed everybody in our division, and beaten everybody that was capable, credible or considered a threat, then I could see the same kind of pressure and the same kinds of standards being applied. But we haven't."
Golovkin is coming off November's eighth-round technical knockout over challenger Curtis Stevens that followed his third-round knockout of three-time title challenger Matthew Macklin, whom Golovkin floored with a body shot in June. Golovkin also scored stoppages in the seventh and third rounds over Gabriel Rosado and Nobuhiro Ishida in January and March of last year.
"Hey, when that fight happens, it's going to be a great fight for boxing. A lot of people say that he's gotten a lot of unnecessary hype," said Ward of Golovkin, who will pursue his 16th consecutive stoppage victory when he meets Osumanu Adama on Feb. 1. "But I've got a lot of respect for Gennady Golovkin. The thing is that against the guys that he's fighting, he's doing the things that he's supposed to do against those guys. I mean, he's getting them out of there."
Still, Golovkin has yet to face others such as RING and WBC middleweight champion Sergio Martinez, unbeaten WBO beltholder Peter Quillin, or IBF titleholder Felix Sturm.
Ward was last in the ring in November when he ended a 14-month absence with a unanimous decision over previously unbeaten Edwin Rodriguez. That followed a 10th-round knockout of then-RING and WBC light heavyweight champ Chad Dawson in September of 2012.
Before facing Dawson, Ward unified the RING, WBA and WBC titles with a unanimous decision over current IBF belholder Carl "The Cobra" Froch in December of 2011.
Ward has said that he would consider making his next fight against previously unbeaten 168-pounder George "Saint" Groves (19-1, 15 KOs) who scored a first-round knockdown during November's disputed ninth-round stoppage loss to Froch (32-2, 23 KOs) in an all-British brawl. Froch earned his fourth straight win and his third knockout during that run since falling to Ward.
In the past, Sanchez has ranked Golokin behind Sugar Ray Robinson and Bernard Hopkins, having said, "Gennady is the best middleweight ever besides Sugar Ray Robinson and maybe Bernard Hopkins."
Robinson is considered by many the greatest boxer of all time, having gone unbeaten for 91 bouts from 1943 to 1951, dominated the welterweight and middleweight divisions. As a result, the term "pound-for-pound" was invented in order to compare fighters regardless of weight.
Hopkins, 48, is a former middleweight and light heavyweight champion who most recently defeated Tavoris Cloud to extend his own record as the oldest man to win a significant crown, which he originally set by outpointing Jean Pascal for THE RING/WBC 175-pound belts in 2011.
So would Sanchez be willing to put Golovkin in the ring with Ward if he is successful against Adama?
"Physically and technically and mentally? Yes," said Sanchez. "But this is a business, and because this is a business, then, financially, no, we're not ready for that. I would like for Golovkin to be on a par with Andre Ward as far as what he has done in his division so that when it comes to a fight, we're not [negotiating] as an opponent. We want to be move up after destroying every fighter who wants to fight us at 160 so that we can be on a par with Andre Ward, but we haven't done that yet. I think that that would be a little unfair for Golovkin to take a secondary position to a guy that we feel that our fighter is just as good as.
"But Golovkin has to prove it against his peers in the 160-pound division, and we haven't been allowed to do that yet. We're not going to take a second seat to Andre Ward. We have the best fighter in the world, at least we think that we do … [Ward is] not going to dictate terms to the Golovkin team. That's why I think that it's unfair for Golovkin to be asked to move up at this point, not because he's not ready physically, mentally or technically, because I think that he beats Andre anyway. But I don't want to be at a point where we're not on a par, business-wise."
Photos by Naoki Fukuda
Lem Satterfield can be reached at [email protected]