By Scoop Malinowski
Challengers and sparring partners discuss their memories and impressions of what it’s like to be in the ring with the unbeaten Middleweight Champion Superpower Gennady “GGG” Golovkin (34-0 with 31 KO’s) who will fight Dominic Wade this weekend in Los Angeles on HBO …
Grzegorz Proksa: “To struggle with such an athlete as Golovkin is a great honor. I sparred with many world champions and European champions but none had so much of that ring intelligence, skills of shortening the ring, great strength and combinations. Golovkin is a great great champion I think what he does is unmatched in boxing today.”
(Proksa was defeated by Golovkin by TKO 5 on 9-1-2015.)
Saul Alvarez (interview with Fight Hype): “Well, it [Golovkin vs. Lemieux fight] was really slow at the beginning, and just the jabalone of Golovkin finished Lemieux. Lemieux didn’t have anything that night. I did a lot of sparring with him in the past, and I was 20-years-old when I did it, but I know what I can do. He’s a strong fighter. He’s a strong fighter more than anything, but he also knows how to do various things. Yes, me and him could throw hard because in a lot of sparring you can’t throw hard with your full potential. Me and him were able to do it, and it was one world champion middleweight against a world champion super welterweight. You don’t always see that. It was very good. He’s a very strong fighter, but I think I am also. I didn’t feel him/the power like people say, and that’s probably because I’m a strong fighter also.”
Martin Murray: “He was so strong, I just couldn’t keep him off. I felt his power, but it was more his pressure.”
(Murray was defeated by Golovkin by TKO 11 on 2-21-2015 .)
Shane Mosley: “When I sparred with Triple G he wasn’t world champion yet. He just came to the U.S. He was working out hard and everything. We didn’t spar hard. He was very strong, physically strong, he’s heavy-handed. He does have good power.”
Daniel Geale: “There was a good reason why nobody wanted to fight Gennady Golovkin, he’s not too bad. I felt like I had to go out there and have a go. There were moments when I probably let him come to me a little bit too much. There were parts where I had certain plans and I probably didn’t execute them too well. But you live and you learn and against a guy like that, it can be difficult. If we got a rematch with Golovkin I would definitely try and do things differently. But I’m still happy to fight any of the other champions as well. I’m up for everybody. In boxing, nobody is unbeatable. I got caught and I got beat in a world title fight but that doesn’t mean that’s it. If anything, it’s made me more determined.”
(Geale was defeated by Golovkin by TKO 3 on 7-26-2014.)
Rubin Williams: “He hits like a ton of bricks. I sparred him and packed my bags and left. There’s a lot of weight behind his punches. You’d think he weighs 250 pounds.”
Curtis Stephens: “Well, it was fun. Obviously he beat me but it was a great fight. For how long it lasted. I was surprised by his poise, how calm he was.”
Question: Which of your tactics were successful? Did you find any chinks in his armor?
“Just you gotta pressure him. Let your hands go.”
Q: A sparring partner said he hits like a heavyweight. Your comment?
“He has good power. But I wouldn’t say that much power.”
Q: Is GGG the hardest puncher you faced?
“No. Allan Green was.”
Q: How did you get along with GGG after the fight?
“It was cool. Everything (that happened before the fight)…gotta sell the fight.”
Q: Lasting memory or lasting impressions of GGG?
“Great fighter. Ain’t no last impression, we’re gonna meet again.”
Q: He’s regarded as one of the best pound-for-pound fighters in boxing today. What makes him so great?
“I don’t know if he’s so great. He’s won his fights he’s only supposed to. Let him keep on winning.”
Q: Who do you think has the style to give GGG major problems?
“They both got that poise.”
(Stevens was defeated by RTD 8 by Golovkin on 11-2-2013. Note: Scoop Malinowski is also the author of ‘Facing Federer’ – ‘Facing Nadal’ – ‘Facing Hewitt’ and his next book will be published this year ‘Facing McEnroe’ – All are available at amazon. GGG action photo by Wojciech Kubik.)
Students in shorts and t-shirts linger over lunch and chat about the upcoming summer vacation