SAN DIEGO, May 14, 2015 – Another “tough warrior,” another “shock the world” claim gets tested Saturday when middleweight champion Gennady “Triple G” Golovkin meets 2014 Boxcino tournament champion Willie Monroe Jr. Saturday in Los Angeles.
HBO will televise the bout, starting with the co-main event between Roman “Chocolatito” Gonzalez and Edgar Sosa at 10 p.m. ET.
Golovkin (32-0, 29 KOs) can break Mike Tyson’s knockout streak with a 20th stoppage this Saturday of Monroe (19-1, 7 KOs). Oddsmakers think it’s a sure thing: You’d have to bet $4,500 on Golovkin before you’d win $100.
Boxing fans don’t care. Golovkin and his team at K2 Promotions know how to please a crowd, which is why the Forum in Los Angeles may be a sellout by the time the bell rings Saturday. Last October, GGG’s first Southern California bout set attendance records at the popular StubHub Center in Carson. If you didn’t know better, you’d think you were at a rock concert, not a boxing event.
With some boxing fans still steaming over spending big money on a dull pay-per-view fight two weeks ago, it’s never a worry with the smiling middleweight who always promises a “big drama show.” Trainer Abel Sanchez is on board, telling Ringside Seat he trains all his boxers to entertain as well as win.
“I’m a fan, too,” says Sanchez. “I think that we owe it to the fans to provide entertainment. I’ve said from the beginning that I wanted Gennady to be the kind of guy that you look forward to leaving home/work early on Saturday night, to be able to watch all the pre-stuff in the fight to see more about Gennady.”
“Triple G’s” fan friendly nature extends outside the ring. Golovkin, now a permanent resident of Los Angeles, will wear purple and gold trunks when he walks into the Los Angeles Lakers’ historic longtime home Saturday. He wore Dodgers blue trunks last year in Carson, and threw out the first pitch at a game earlier in the week. GGG fan Adrian Gonzalez caught the ceremonial pitch after asking for the assignment.
Critics pointing to Golovkin’s opponents lacking in quality need to stuff it. While Golovkin works his way toward the fights people are eager to see against Miguel Cotto, Saul “Canelo” Alvarez, or Andre Ward, he takes the opponents available like Monroe Jr. He continues to train hard and practice his skills until those fights get made.
There is a risk versus reward ratio for Golovkin’s opponents; he must reach a tipping point of popularity that translates into a big enough purse to risk being one more knockout victim. No surprise Britain’s Carl Froch and Mexico’s Julio Caesar Chavez Junior declined fights, especially Junior in light of his beating at the hands of Andrzej Fonfara last month.
Credit then to Monroe Jr., an ambitious young boxer who is willing to bet on himself. “I look at it the same way, and you have to,” Monroe told me. “I mean, look what he’s accomplished as a fighter; 19 straight knockouts. He made his American debut in 2012, and he’s knocked out everybody thus far. And I mean like why wouldn’t you want to take that cloak of invincibility from somebody? I’m the one that can do it … Once the bell rings, and on May 16 nobody can get in there and fight for him, nobody can get in there and fight for me, it’s all about what we apply and what we adjust to that night and may the best man win.”
Golovkin will be fighting a southpaw for the first time in three years since he beat Poland’s Grzegorz Proksa in his HBO debut in 2012. Golovkin said, “I want to fight a southpaw because I want to show everybody that I can beat any style, it doesn’t matter. Anybody, strong guy, tall guy, short guy, just anybody. I’m very anxious. This is a big test for me. I remember a lot of fighters, like Canelo, Cotto, and a lot of great champions have have problems with southpaws. So why not test myself?”
This is Golovkin’s way of preparing for two eventual opponents as soon as fall 2015: southpaw Andy Lee, who holds one of the middleweight title belts he wants to unify the title; and to a lesser extent for Cotto, who is a left-handed boxer converted to an orthodox stance.
Monroe’s trainer Tony Morgan says there are lessons to learn from Golovkin’s previous opponents. He told Ringside Seat, “All of them are pretty much all flat-footed and all of them stand in front of Golovkin. Sooner or later, he gets people to stand in front of him. I don’t think he’s going to be able to capitalize on anything that he’s used to doing because he’s never fought anybody the caliber of Willie Monroe,” said Morgan.
The same can be said of Monroe about Golovkin. Watch video at the top and also here of a recent training session by Gennady Golovkin for Saturday’s bout, shot by Ringside Seat at The Summit in Big Bear, California.
Golovkin wants to unify all the belts of the middleweight division, and Miguel Cotto has the WBC title he wants. Cotto has business with Mexican star Alvarez first, and assuming he takes care of Daniel Geale on June 6, Cotto versus Canelo is a good bet for September. With Alvarez proving he’s a major draw for HBO’s audience, the network will want Alvarez to get a few more wins before putting their two marquee names together.
It’s far more likely Golovkin will get the likes of Andy Lee or the winner between Hassan N’Dam and David Lemieux, who will fight for a vacant IBF Middleweight Belt on June 20.
Until then, fans shouldn’t waste time anticipating fights in the future that might not ever get made. As with life in general, enjoy the ride now.
Gayle Lynn Falkenthal, APR, is president/owner of the Falcon Valley Group in San Diego, Calif. She is also a serious boxing fan covering the Sweet Science for Communities. Read more Ringside Seat in Communities Digital News. Follow Gayle on Facebook and on Twitter @PRProSanDiego.
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