LOS ANGELES, Calif., March 11, 2019 – News had broken early on boxing’s big announcement Monday. Nevertheless, DAZN executive chairman John Skipper made it official at a Los Angeles news conference. Middleweight star Gennady Golovkin of Kazakhstan is now under contract for a three-year, six fight deal. In addition, and the linchpin for Golovkin’s future, DAZN will work with GGG Promotions on two fight cards in 2020, and two more in 2021 guaranteed.
Golovkin, who will turn 37 next month, said it was the right move for him. “I thought DAZN gave me the best platform, the best opportunity to extend my own ideas. I think DAZN will be the best hope for all boxers in the future.
“I had some other offers from other companies. But right now, I have the best partner, we have a great partnership which will let me promote my own Triple G Promotions and myself as a fighter.”
Skipper: ‘A signing we needed to make’
Skipper said DAZN’s agenda is to make the best fights for fans at an affordable subscription price. “We’re not going to be able to bring fans the best fights without Gennady Golovkin. So he was a key element of our plan to be what he just said we’re going to be, which is the premier destination for fight fans. There’s very little question in my mind this was a signing we needed to make.”
Observers may assume Golovkin’s deal with DAZN revolves around the opportunity to make a third fight with his rival Canelo Alvarez, whose deal in the ring dwarfs Golovkin’s deal in scope and length. But it plays a minor role. Golovkin just signed an insurance policy with DAZN at the top. As a promoter, he can have many years, even decades as an active participant in the sport of boxing, with unlimited potential should he remain ambitious and savvy enough. As father to a son and new baby, providing for your family takes on more importance.
Many fans want to avoid talking about the business of boxing, but it is the fuel for the sport’s engine. Golovkin alluded to his expectations when asked what he learned from the first two fights with Alvarez. “I’ve gained a lot of experience the last year or so of my career. What I want to do is share this experience with boys, with fighters who are working with me on GGG Promotions. With DAZN we’ve found the right platform to bring the most interesting fights which are in boxing right now.”
Golovkin has learned plenty of hard lessons outside the ring, having watched his early career stall through empty promises by his German promoter, who let him languish in favor of his popular stablemate Felix Sturm. This came after being denied a gold medal in the 2004 Athens Olympics most people believe he earned.
Fans are happy to hear the news Golovkin hopes to fight at least three more years, but his long-term goals will give Golovkin new energy. Trainer Abel Sanchez is likely to play his own role in Golovkin’s plans, training young talent Golovkin recruits from Kazakhstan and other Eastern European nations where he will have a significant advantage over many other promoters. Sanchez pointed to the upcoming Tokyo Olympic Games as a possible recruiting opportunity, but said the focus would be on even younger talents who show early promise.
June return to the ring anticipated for GGG
In the meantime, Golovkin will return to camp at Sanchez’s Big Bear based gym, The Summit, to train for a tentative June bout. It will be a showcase type bout, though Golovkin declined to name any possible opponents before he talked with promoter Tom Loeffler and Sanchez. Expect an unknown paper tiger who has a clean enough record but who hasn’t faced top opposition.
Canelo Alvarez may come into play later in 2019 or possibly 2020, depending on the outcome of his May 4 bout against Daniel Jacobs. All three middleweights are DAZN fighters. Another name in play among the DAZN stable is newly signed young Mexican star Jaime Munguia “I always like to fight good boxers. It’s not just because he’s a Mexican fighter it will be interesting for all fans around the world to watch,” said Golovkin of the current WBO super welterweight champion. Golovkin would have the size and experience advantage over Munguia.
But Golovkin has started talking more openly about the potential of match ups at super middleweight. Don’t think for a moment it’s a coincidence WBA light heavyweight champion Dmitry Bivol has also spoken more openly about moving down to super middleweight to face top opponents. Bivol is the smallest light heavyweight champion and can make 168 with ease. Bivol has also said he’d rather not fight a Russian. Two of the other three belt holders are Russians; Alex Gvozdyk is Ukrainian but also the most fearsome possible foe. But Golovkin is Kazakh with Korean roots like Bivol. It’s an intriguing matchup. Keep your eye on this one.
Another super middleweight candidate is World Boxing Super Series winner Callum Smith. “We’ve discussed that before,” said Sanchez. “Until Tom (Loeffler), Gennady and I sit down and discuss opponents, it’s really premature to say. But we would have no problem fighting one of those guys, especially Callum who just won that WBSS tournament. That would be a great fight.”
The unknown factor is how quickly Golovkin ages. At 37, 38, and 39, it’s a legitimate concern. Sanchez says until someone dominates GGG in the ring or in the gym, he’s not concerned about his condition. He pointed to Golovkin’s professionalism and discipline in staying in good condition near his fighting weight as a key factor in staying at the top level for the foreseeable future.
The bottom line: boxing is better in 2019 with Gennady Golovkin in it, active, and drawing fans who may have been reluctant until now to try one of the sport’s new streaming platforms. DAZN and its competitors ESPN+, UFC Fight Pass, and other free streaming services will help keep boxing healthy and relevant.
Gayle Lynn Falkenthal is an award-winning boxing journalist covering the Sweet Science for Communities and for boxing fans worldwide. Read more Ringside Seat in Communities Digital News.
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