SAN DIEGO, Calif., June 7, 2019 – A lot has happened since boing fans last saw middleweight star Gennadiy “Triple G” Golovkin in the ring.
What hasn’t changed is fan enthusiasm for the hard-hitting, offensive minded Kazakh veteran, and his desire to deliver entertaining fights in “Big Drama Show” style. Golovkin returns in the main event Saturday night against Canadian Steve Rolls at Madison Square Garden in the first of his DAZN cards starting at 9 p.m. ET/6 p.m PT. Golovkin weighed in at 163 pounds, Rolls at 163.8 in this 164-pound catchweight contest.
“Hey guys, seriously I am really happy to be here again,” said Golovkin at the final news conference this week. “Don’t miss my fight. I promise to bring amazing show, amazing atmosphere.”
Golovkin (38-1-1, 34 KOs) suffered his first professional loss in a disputed razor thin decision to Canelo Alvarez last September. It was the end of his undisputed reign, and the end of a record stream of 20 consecutive title defenses, 18 by knockout.
In the months that followed, Golovkin landed with a new media platform in DAZN, and split from his longtime trainer Abel Sanchez to work with Johnathan Banks. He also finally corrected people on the proper spelling of his first name when converted from the Cyrillic to the Latin alphabet.
He has a tailor made opponent for his return, undefeated Rolls (19-0, 10 KOs) of Toronto. In his eight-year career, the 35-year old has fought limited opposition. His promoter, Lou DiBella, says it’s not for lack of trying. “Despite what some might say, (Rolls) has absolutely earned this opportunity. These guys have been begging for a fight.”
Rolls hopes to seize his opportunity
“I’m more than ready to take on this huge task and opponent presented in front of me,” said Rolls. “This isn’t a tune up fight. On June 8 I look forward to solidifying myself as one of the best in the division.”
What makes this fight slightly more intriguing are several intangible factors. First, Golovkin’s return to the ring with new trainer Johnathan Banks. Second, every B-side and underdog now sees himself or herself as the next Andy Ruiz, Jr. The recent upset by new heavyweight champion Ruiz Jr. over Anthony Joshua at the Garden last week adds some spice and intrigue to a bout where Golovkin is the heavy favorite.
“I’ve always been motivated even before last weekend, but it’s great to see that,” said Rolls. “I’m going to be part of the Big Drama Show.”
Mr. Rolls, you’re no Andy Ruiz Jr.
Neither Golovkin nor Rolls are trash talkers. Both promise a fun fight for fans. Golovkin’s fresh enthusiasm seems to have re-energized him. It’s good news for everyone except Rolls. He’s been given a terrific opportunity to perform on a big stage. But we’ve seen Andy Ruiz Jr., and Mr. Rolls, you’re no Andy Ruiz. Promoter DiBella is wisely keeping Rolls away from fellow Toronto native Drake just in case the “Drake Curse” is real. “After he pulls off the upset, Steve can go to a Drake concert. But between now and Saturday, he better stay the f*** away,” laughed DiBella.
Rolls presents the perfect type of forward facing opponent for Golovkin to warm himself up for an impending third fight with Canelo Alvzrez, or perhaps another title opportunity for the vacation IBO title or for the WBO strap following the scheduled June 29 fight between current champion Demetrius Andrade and Maciej Sulecki.
Don’t expect Golovkin to demonstrate any radical changes in fight style. He has only worked with Banks for a few weeks, and he is 37 years old. The changes will stem from Golovkin’s mindset, attitude, and enthusiasm. His work ethic has never been in question. But as he admitted in a recent interview with Ringside Seat, “I’m having fun … I’m enjoying myself again.”
In many cases, losses make boxers better than they were before. Golovkin’s newly enthusiastic attitude telegraphs positive changes are taking place. The bottom line: boxing is better in 2019 with a re-energized Gennadiy Golovkin in it, finding joy again in his sport and in his reasons for being in the squared circle. Giving fans this experience will win them over. Nobody is asking Andy Ruiz Jr. about his single controversial defeat anymore.
Hot prospects featured on Golovkin vs Rolls undercard
The undercard fights feature a lineup of promising prospects and potential rising stars. Among the highlights:
In the opening bout on the DAZN stream, Brooklyn based middleweight Nikita “White Chocolate” Ababiy (4-0, 4 KOs) faces XX in a six round bout. Ababiy hasn’t needed more than four minutes to wipe out his first four opponents.
Two more undefeated Brooklyn welterweights promise a fun show in front of local fans. Brian Ceballo (8-0, 4 KOs) and Bakhtiyar Eyubov (14-0-1, 12 KOs) should deliver plenty of action in eight rounds or less, possibly much less. This is Ceballo’s third fight in 2019 and he’s gaining serious momentum and buzz.
Uzbekistan native Israil “The Dream” Madrimov (2-0, 2 KOs) is already rated among the top ten junior middleweights and stepped right into 10 round fights from his professional debut last November on the Bivol vs. Pascal undercard. He fights Norberto Gonzalez of Monterrey, Mexico (23-12, 13 KOs) in another ten round fight.
U.S Olympic team member Charles Conwell of Cleveland (9-0, 7 KOs) steps up in opposition to fight Courtney Pennington of Brooklyn (12-3-3, 5 KOs). The ten round fight is for the vacant USBA junior middleweight title. Expect Conwell to come forward against Pennington, who doesn’t have enough power to intimidate the boxer puncher Conwell.
Ali Akmedov of Kazahkstan (14-0, 10 KOs) and Marcus McDaniel of New Orleans (15-0, 2 KOs) risk their records in a 10-round super middleweight fight. Admedov is relocated to Henderson, Nevada, and is also training with Johnathan Banks. The 23-year-old has cruised through three regional fights in Southern California and is ready to make a big splash on a big stage.
Gayle Lynn Falkenthal, APR, is President/Owner of the Falcon Valley Group in San Diego, California. She is a veteran boxing observer covering the Sweet Science for Communities. Read more Ringside Seat in Communities Digital News. Follow Gayle on Facebook and on Twitter @PRProSanDiego.
Please credit “Gayle Falkenthal for Communities Digital News” when quoting from or linking to this story.
Copyright © 2019 by Falcon Valley Group