Gennady Golovkin looks to hit it big in the Garden versus Geale.
On July 26, 2014 Gennady Golovkin (29-0, 26KOs) is poised to take a huge step up when he enters the ring for the first time in the big arena at Madison Square Garden to take on former two time World Champion and Australian threat Daniel Geale (30-2, 16KOs) for the IBO Middleweight and the WBA Super World Middleweight Titles. Scheduled to be broadcast on HBO, Golovkin and Geale are each other’s perfect game changers with regard to their respective careers. Golovkin would appear to have that mythical unicorn Tysonesque aura of a metal fisted middleweight that just can’t be stopped. But is he the real deal? Was it his previous opponents’ imagined fear of the KO that helped Golovkin win all of those wars or was it Golovkin’s actual power and prowess that catapulted him to that 89.65% knockout percentage – the highest in middleweight championship history ever? A win against a competitor like Geale in the Garden on Saturday night would have the power to make boxing fans and power brokers alike true believers in the man versus the myth. And the question on the other side of the ring is exactly who is Daniel Geale? Despite an enviable professional record and pedigree, repeatedly he has traversed the doldrums of obscurity, curiously relegated to the thankless role of the bridesmaid versus the bride when it comes recognition and due. A former two time World Champion who fights non stop for a full twelve rounds, he has made a practice of winning title belts from not one but two serious champions of the likes of Felix Sturm and Sebastian Sylvester in their fortress like venue of Germany. For Geale, beating a rising star with the blinding new money neon sheen of Golovkin might at last put the limelight that he has been seeking firmly in his corner once and for all. So both men have a lot to gain and something precious to lose at this coming out party set to occur in the historic big arena at Madison Square Garden.
By any account, despite the increasingly frenetic furor that Gennady Golovkin is able to generate within boxing circles, he has come a long way professionally, personally, and geographically. Coming from Karaganda, Kazakhstan, Gennady was a top-level amateur and former Olympian. Upon turning professional he made the sound decision of signing with German promoter Universum Box Promotion only to be left inconceivably to languish behind fellow Universum favorite son middleweights Felix Sturm and Sebastien Zbik. After wisely breaking from that dysfunctional professional relationship in 2010, Golovkin was able to find the right promoter and trainer in the form of K2 and Abel Sanchez respectively. In the next couple of years, inch by inch with a concoction of dogged persistence, careful planning and a blistering streak of bread and butter TKO wins, Gennady and his team executed a near text book turn around of his career putting Golovkin back on the path towards world wide professional and popular appeal. Nevertheless, there have been some brutal twists to team Golovkin’s hard won spoils and best laid plans. Earlier this year on February 18, 2014 Golovkin’s father unexpectedly passed away from a sudden and fatal heart attack. In keeping with family custom, Golovkin returned to Kazakhstan for forty days to mourn. Sadder still, this was not Gennady’s first brush with untimely death in his immediate family. In 1990 and 1994 Golovkin’s older brothers, Sergey and Vadim, both of whom were instrumental in encouraging a healthy competitive streak in Gennady as early as kindergarten, died four years apart while in service to the Russian army. Both fell in action without funerals or details from the government concerning their demise. It follows as such that in the large strokes that can define a life, Golovkin has experienced a considerable share of bittersweet irony alongside incredible professional victory. However, in a present so full of opportunity, it would seem that Gennady has chosen to honor his father and brothers by letting their memory serve as his inspiration and focus to seize the day rather than see them drown his ambitions in a quagmire of distraction and pain. In keeping with this, Golovkin’s feet are firmly planted forward, concentrated on the future of his business in boxing and accomplishing the serious job of capturing the big arena audience, the big HBO numbers and the big win available to him with a resounding defeat of Geale at Madison Square Garden on July 26th:
GOLOVKIN: “The big arena is very important for me because it’s a big test for me. My opponent, Daniel he is from Australia. He’s not from the United States. It’s very important how many people are coming to Madison Square Garden and how many people watch TV. This is not just good for me but for everybody. I understand it is my job. Abel Sanchez, my team - it is very important for me because every day is hard work. I understand my situation. I understand my boxing business. I am ready for my fight now. I’m happy I come back to my boxing career.”
Golovkin’s trainer, veteran coach Abel Sanchez would seem to be of exactly the same ilk as Golovkin in how he regards the task ahead and the raw assessment of what he and a focused and prepared Gennady can do come Saturday night. Certainly Sanchez knows greatness when he sees it, having been the man behind former junior middleweight champion and current Hall of Famer Terry Norris:
SANCHEZ: “From the first time I met him our approach to what we wanted to do was similar. I like to work hard as hard as he does but yes I think that he understands my agenda is his agenda and it’s so important. I have nothing else in my life that I want to do more than I want to be in the gym with him. He is probably the easiest fighter that I’ve ever worked with and probably the most talented.”
The dollars and sense wager of fostering the special talent and career that is Gennady Golovkin has been a heady and brisk business leading up to Saturday’s contest. In light of the various financial risks that team Golovkin has taken as a matter of course with the gamble of the bigger arena along with the increased class of opponent in Geale, other actions taken by the Gennady brain trust suggest that Golovkin’s early return numbers as a big arena and HBO headliner are in keeping with said changes. Where in previous battles in Madison Square’s smaller theater Golovkin’s media events were centered in New York, this time the media splash was bicoastal with two press events in California, where Golovkin trains with trainer Sanchez in Big Bear. Gennady’s promoter Tom Loeffler was almost ebullient in delineating how HBO’s increased financial support in their pursuit of an opponent like Geale, combined with Golovkin’s own desire for tougher opponents gracefully led to meaningful changes pertaining to upping the ante in Gennady’s career on the world stage as the next heir apparent in middleweight boxing:
LOEFFLER: It’s my job as a promoter to take the financial risks that are good for Gennady’s career. I mean to sell it (the big arena) out. Gennady understands the long term plans that we have for him. It’s our financial risk to put him out there but we felt that this fight especially with a co feature was too big to put back in the theatre. It was a reasonable business risk to go into the big arena. You know we had a lot of issues with the death of Gennady’s dad, with the budget and it shows you what type of person Gennady is because he is actually looking for the tougher challenges. HBO made it clear that they wanted to show a game fight… and now with the HBO budget…we’d made offers to Geale before but now with the backing of HBO we were able to put together a package that made sense.
All financial stakes and risks aside, now that they have traveled here from the land down under, the real risk for Gennady according to Geale’s camp, vocalized explicitly and expertly by Geale promoter Gary Shaw is the complete package that is Daniel Geale himself. A self styled slayer of impressive German imports (Gennady lives in Germany with his wife and son), Gennady doesn’t comprehend what he is in for in sizing up Geale. Buoyed by a steady stream of lesser grade frightened opponents, it is team Geale’s belief that he is uniquely poised to serve Golovkin with the first serious upset of his career as a grade of opponent that Gennady simply hasn’t encountered.
SHAW: “(Daniel) He went and he won the world title in Germany from Sylvester. Then he went back to Germany again and lifted the title from Sturm. Daniel Geale travels well as a fighter so he’ll travel well here to the United States…Daniel’s a volume puncher throws a lot of punches from a lot of different angles has a lot of movement has very fast hands and is highly underrated. He’s gonna give Golovkin a different look than Golovkin has been used to… the difference between Daniel and a lot of the fighters that have been in the ring with you before is Daniel’s not scared. He’s not afraid.”
Geale himself goes one step further by not only expressing that he holds no fear of Gennady but that he views himself as the champion to be feared in stark comparison to the newer lesser challenger in current Middleweight Super champion Golovkin. Despite the fact that Gennady and Geale met in 2001 as amateurs at the Asian Games with Gennady emerging then as the victor on points, team Geale would liken this past amateur bout versus current professional concerns as two completely different spheres akin to apples and oranges. Ironically, Gennady would tend to agree. That the Asian games are more than a decade worth of ancient history is a very feasible argument. However Geale’s contention that Gennady simply doesn’t know how to handle the likes of present day Geale – a dangerous champion looking to avenge the bad split division loss of his IBF middle weight title to Darren Barker in 2013 – might be overstating the facts. Proving the veracity of these claims should be great fuel for the fire in the ring on Saturday night:
GEALE: “We had a little bit of disappointment last year in the Barker fight but that just motivated me to come back stronger. I don’t see myself as a challenger. I see myself coming back over to win and win the title. I know that if I fight the way that I know I can fight I will win these titles. And I’m excited that it is at Madison Square Garden.”
GOLOVKIN: “2001 in the Asian Games we fought. I remember him he remembers me…. Before this (was) amateur career. Now it is professional career twelve rounds. Different situation. I won. It was not easy fight… It was just an amateur bout just a few rounds.”
With regard to Geale’s past victories over Sturm and Sylvester via twelve round decisions, this is the stuff that is capable of giving Sanchez pause as a trainer and Golovkin some trepidation as a fighter. As would seem to be the team Golovkin way, both Gennady and Sanchez are not shy in giving Geale the props that he is due for these accomplishments coming into the fight. Indeed the honesty of their assessment of Geale’s deserved real world status is as humble as it is sanguine:
SANCHEZ: “That’s the only thing that has caused me some restless nights at the beginning of camp. Knowing that Geale has gone twelve rounds and is used to going twelve rounds and we’ve never gone past the tenth.… He’s nonstop. His activity. He throws punches for twelve rounds, and he’s in great condition. Doesn’t punch that hard but you don’t have to punch hard when you are landing combinations… he went to Germany and beat two Germans in Germany. That’s an accomplishment… We don’t have a guy that’s going to roll over and play dead.”
GOLOVKIN: “I respect Daniel… I am ready. He is ready… different situation different class different style…. He will throw a lot of punches. This is a very serious situation.”
However, once you get past the initial layer of respect and politesse that is almost endemic to Sanchez and Golovkin, a core belief surfaces that belies plans and designs towards unification, the belief that Golovkin vs, Geale is not going to go the distance and next year capturing another date at the Garden with that other prince of New York Miguel Cotto:
ABEL: “We have a guy that went to Germany and beat Sylvester and beat Sturm in a twelve round fight. Remember you are comparing those fights against those guys. We have not seen them against Golovkin. Everybody says the same thing as with Mayweather. He talks about what he’s going to do and…. it ends up that he’s (Mayweather) still got a zero. I think that when you put Golovkin in there with people like Geale they find out that Golovkin’s on a different level…I think that he (Geale) got robbed against Barker. I think he won the fight and that he should still be champion. I believe that he is not going to be scared. He’s going to come to fight… if he does that’s great for the fans. Cause we’re going to have a fight… and if he does that I think he gets knocked out early.”
GOLOVKIN: “Yeah he has a lot of punches. Throws a lot of punches. My training camp was great. I think no problem for me twelve rounds. You know this is boxing. Right now before a fight I can’t talk too much… my focus right now is to get Daniel... my focus is 160. No adjustment. Formerly it was very important who is the best but what I feel right now is four champions. Miguel Cotto, me, Peter Quillen, and Sam Solimon. Just who is who? I need unification fight. For me it is very important who is the best here.”
Written by Kylie Krabbe
Photos by Kylie Krabbe
July 25th 2014
Gennady Golovkin shadow boxes during his
Los Angeles Media Day.
Photo by KylieKrabbe
Photo by KylieKrabbe
Gennady Golovkin shows reporters the WBA & IBO World Championship belts he is putting on the line against Daniel Geale.
Gennady Golovkin prepares for his World Title defense against Daniel Geale.
Photo by KylieKrabbe
Gennady Golovkin and Glen Tapia pose for photographers
during their Los Angeles Media Day.
Gennady Golovkin Interview from
the Los Angeles Press Conference.
Gennady Golovkin's trainer Abel Sanchez Interview from
the Los Angeles Press Conference.
Gennady Golovkin with trainer Abel Sanchez
during his Los Angeles Media Day.
Photo by KylieKrabbe