Saturday, June 22, 2024  |



Abel Sanchez: ‘We fought a good fighter (in Kell Brook)’

Veteran trainer Abel Sanchez ties the gloves of his prize pupil Gennady Golovkin. Photo / @GGGBoxing
Fighters Network

It was a silly compulsion, I admit, in retrospect, in the days leading up to the Gennady Golovkin-Kell Brook fight, as it had me fixated on a rumor which played out to be just that: a rumor.

“Golovkin is sick,” was the word a couple days before the challenge match against the ballsy Brit Brook, who thought so highly of his skills that he believed he could make the leap from 147 to 160 against the cream of the middleweight crop. He got dusted, yes, but his stock rose after the violent transaction occurred.

The sickness rumor came about exactly where and how, I’m not sure. I read it first mentioned after photos on Thursday had some fans remarking that “GGG” looked drawn. So I looked closer and, yeah, he looked more gaunt than usual at the weigh-in. And where was the easy-going grin, the visage of the smiling assassin? Not present…

His people said no, nothing to see here; move along. Trainer Abel Sanchez said he loved the speculation, the conspiracy, the theories. I duly reported the trainer’s reaction but with the knowledge that, even if GGG were sick, I wouldn’t ask or expect Sanchez to give me the full lowdown. That would not be the wisest move, as it could aid a foe in the confidence department, if he knew his opponent was under the weather. But after the bout, again, the reigning IBF/WBA/WBC middleweight titlist Golovkin told the HBO crew that he had not been ill, that he gave himself a 3 or 4 out of 10 as a performance grade. And just to be (annoyingly) sure, I (again) asked Sanchez if his kid was fighting sick.

“I wish I had that excuse. He just was not the sharpest that night,” said the 2015 BWAA Trainer of the Year.

Got it. So assuming Golovkin’s not suddenly turned into a graybeard mortal at 34, was he possibly overtrained? Because, after all, even the athletic demigods typically find themselves training smarter, not harder, as they get more up in years.

“Overtrained is a cop-out,” Sanchez said. “We fought a good fighter! The NFL Dolphins were the last team to have an undefeated season, yet they were still challenged and had close calls.”

OK, so no aging component to this outing?

“No, here’s a lesson for all: How many fighters in any era, any weight, have dominated their division like GGG is doing right now? We expect to win in the same way every time. It’s impossible. We fans are fickle. We expect perfection every time out but the other guy wants to win also and every fight is a historical event in many peoples’ lives…Think of the greats or the ones you thought were great. How many dominated; how many retired undefeated?”

OK, so part of my takeaway here is that ample credit should be given to Brook?

“Absolutely, ballsy effort. He tried to be great, lost, but it will make him a better fighter.”

I touched on the ending as well. Sanchez, to HBO, said he agreed with the Dominic Ingle move in round five to throw in the towel. “(Brook) was not answering back,” Golovkin’s tutor told me, repeating his assertion that Ingle did right by Brook. (An interesting side-note: Most fight fans, upon reflection, believed Ingle to be on the mark but a minority wondered why Brook then made the 147 to the 160 leap, if he was this “fragile.”)

And so we look toward the future. “Maybe we showed enough vulnerabilities to entice the less-willing before,” mused Sanchez.

We touched on Danny Jacobs’ callout, the announcement by the Brooklyn contender that he wants to fight the best – and that means Golovkin.

Sanchez is hopeful his actions will match his words and that Jacobs is “realistic” about his purse request.

My take: Eyes are on Jacobs and WBO titleholder Billy Joe Saunders, who, today, said he had pen in pocket and, if the price is right, he would fight GGG next month.

Ah, but that “price is right” caveat. “Right” to one is a deal-breaker to another.

Fans, how do you see this playing out?



“Maybe ‘sick,’ in regard to Gennady Golovkin, means ‘awesome.’ I mean, isn’t that what all the kids say these days?” mused Michael Woods, as he fired up some artsy-fartsy tea and a bowl of soup after gobbling up some vitamin C tablets. Hey, you can never be too careful.

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