Monday, September 25, 2023  |



No glitz, no glamour, all Golovkin

Fighters Network
Photo by Naoki Fukuda

Photo by Naoki Fukuda


Time ticks down to a most anticipated clash between the baby-faced assassin from Kazakhstan, WBA middleweight titlist Gennady Golovkin, he of a kind grin and sinfully vicious fists, and the confident kid from Canada, IBF beltholder David Lemieux, who believes the thunder contained in his mitts will be what it takes to hand Triple G his first pro loss.

They will scrap for 12 rounds or less – emphasis on the LESS – in a sold-out Madison Square Garden, which will be pulsating with that special feeling that is not replicable; all eyes will be trained on two men who will be seeking to master one another, and do so by scientific yet savage means. Two men, equally fit and confident, and only one will remain fully conscious; the other will be forced to reckon with a public diminishment…Who couldn’t be transfixed by the immensity of that severe test of skill and courage?

I checked in with Golovkin’s tutor, Abel Sanchez, who told interested parties two, three, four years ago, that this one is special and is on a track to reach legend status. Now, more has to be done for that to be proven; political squabbles and turf wars have kept Golovkin from getting a couple of the tests he’ll need to pass, beyond-flying colors, to get to where we can start mentioning him and Marvelous Marvin Hagler in the same sentence. But this Oct. 17 tangle with Lemieux is being seen by most as a legit test because perception is that Lemieux’s pop is of a variety “GGG” hasn’t tasted as a pro.

So, Abel, is camp going smoothly?

“Of course,” he said, “we are looking forward to a great night!”

It’s going to be a hell of an an atmosphere…Electric surges of anticipatory joy will be vibrating the joint, from the foundation to the rafters…What compares?

“The best part is you will be there,” said Sanchez, clearly a valedictorian from charm school (LOL). “I imagine it will be rocking but I really don’t hear much. I’m focused on my job.”

That focus, his kid has it, the trainer says. He will and sometimes does take time to promote the fight, up his visibility, as when he attended the Emmy Awards in LA on Monday night. A-listers like Foo Fighters’ Dave Grohl enthused in shaking hands with the smiling stalker Golovkin, the fighting pride of Kazakhstan.

I always check with Sanchez. Has his kid gone Hollywood; is he attaching riders to his contract, only green M&Ms backstage, etc.?

“Gennady just wants to fight,” the trainer said. “And the only way he would have gone was if I went with him. I’m not much into those things but that’s the only way he would go. He is not ‘Hollywood’ and he would rather stay in camp. The drive is too long!”

Ah, but it’s part of the process, the plan, the wise route to building an attraction. Not to be a critic but we can think of one or two guys who haven’t been mindful of this sort of element in building themselves up as an attraction. Maybe they are shy or look down on such events, would rather do a Netflix-and-chill night than hobnob with snobs and slobs and such…But anyway, there are reasons why Golovkin is headlining a pay-per-view which could do better numbers than the one in which the sport’s ex-“A-guy,” Floyd Mayweather Jr., took part on Sept. 12.

To the ring portion of things…Triple G goes running at 7 a.m., boxes at 3 p.m. on Monday, Wednesday and Friday, does strength training on Tuesdays and Thursday and takes Saturday and Sunday off (maybe those are Netflix-and-chill nights?).

Giving the kid work in camp is: savvy vet Darnell Boone, who holds an amateur win over Andre Ward before Ward became Ward; Derrick Findley, a rugged, durable, muscled pro, and Cedric Bellais, an 18-6 light heavy lefty unknown to US fight fans, having never fought in America. “One more comes in October 4th,” Sanchez said. “I have used Bellais several times; he is a solid 185 now, so he is my size guy. The other guys are experienced, well-traveled guys that work very hard.”

You might wonder how much GGG wears guys out in camp. Abel? “”GGG is not abusive,” he told me.

And back to outside the ring and the realm of the mind…Is Gennady mindful that Floyd’s retirement leaves a hole to fill, that there is an opening to be the lead dog pulling the sled of the sport? “He is not; he just wants to fight and have his drama show,” Sanchez said. “And what comes next, he will deal with then.”

Gotcha; so, c’mon, really, was there any star trippin’ at the Emmys? Do you see any changes in the kid, having moved to LA last year? I mean, doesn’t mega-success change ALL of ’em?

“Michael, I have been saying,” finished Sanchez, “everything about this kid is NOT boxing normal!”

My take: I confess, I enjoy Golovkin as a human being and I support his manner of acting as being the proper sort to be one of, if not THE leader of the sport. While Mayweather’s persona preached a gospel of wealth acquisition and promotion, Golovkin features none of that nonsense, that soul-sapping yearning which prizes objects over beings and equates net worth almost totally with one’s worth as a human being. I don’t pretend otherwise; I don’t feign a mastery of non-bias toward much of the Mayweather out-of-the-ring message…and while I absolutely acknowledge Mayweather’s in-ring mastery, I will publicly state my preference of a Golovkin-sort of being to lead our sport. And I’m looking forward to what I think could be an abbreviated exercise in structured violence which might translate into the Fight of the Year.


Hollywood? Nope. Michael Woods. And you can follow his Brooklyn Boogie right here.