By Miguel Maravilla
Former middleweight champion Gennady “GGG” Golovkin (38-1-1, 34 KOs) of Kazakhstan returns to the ring this Saturday when he takes on undefeated Canadian Steve Rolls (19-0, 10 KOs) of Toronto at New York City’s famed Madison Square Garden. Golovkin will be making his DAZN debut.
“I’m excited to be back and very happy to be making my DAZN debut,” Golovkin told Fightnews.com®.
After the demise of HBO Boxing, the Kazakh superstar became the hottest free agent in the sport. “This is boxing. It’s a market, it’s commerce. ESPN, DAZN, PBC. Every network has it’s own interest and competitors. If I stayed with ESPN, everyone else is a competitor and if I stayed with PBC, everyone else is a competitor,” Golovkin said. “I chose DAZN because it was the best for me and my career.”
Coming off a close majority decision loss to Mexican superstar Saul “Canelo” Alvarez last September. Golovkin relinquished his titles after 20 defenses and now he’s eager to get back in the ring and work his way back to another world title shot and a potential rematch with Canelo.
“It’s not a big secret, but DAZN wants to see that third fight with Canelo,” Golovkin said. He was seated at ringside for Canelo’s decision win over Daniel Jacobs last month and wasn’t impressed.
“Having known both fighters, they could’ve done more. It was a good fight but it wasn’t drama. Jab, jab, jab and now your turn. It wasn’t a real fight,” Golovkin said. “Both of them didn’t show what they could show. Not even half of what they can show. They didn’t take any risk. Both were comfortable. I like a real fight.”
The other potential big fight at middleweight for GGG is WBO champion Demetrius Andrade, but Canelo is his main focus. “If you look at middleweight, for me it’s to get that third fight,” Golovkin said.
In the meantime, Golovkin’s opponent on Saturday is the relatively unknown Canadian Steve Rolls, who comes in off a unanimous decision over KeAndre Leatherwood.
“I respect Rolls. He is willing to fight me. There were no special conditions. So let’s do it,” Golovkin said. “He is an undefeated fighter and a professional. I don’t need any motivation because one punch can change a fight.”
This will be Golovkin’s first fight under new trainer Jonathan Banks, a former heavyweight and prodigy of the late great Hall of Fame trainer Emanuel Steward. Last month Golovkin officially announced his partnership with the former Wladimir Klitschko trainer, and the two held their first camp in Big Bear, California.
“”Why Big Bear? It’s a private gym and it’s quiet. I can focus, and I work hard every day. I feel very comfortable,” Golovkin said.
Golovkin had previously been trained by respected veteran trainer Abel Sanchez from 2012 to 2018. Sanchez guided Golovkin through multiple world title fights until the two had a fallout last month parting ways.
“I liked Abel’s school, but I felt I needed something different. I needed a new coach,” Golovkin stated. “He said a lot of things but I don’t want to comment on what Abel has said. What I want to say is that he is sorry of what he could have had.”
When asked about the difference between Sanchez and Banks, Golovkin responded. “Big difference. This is a question I have been waiting for a long time. Jonathan brings different stuff. He’s from Detroit. He brings a lot of boxing, it’s more different. This is a different team. Right now it’s completely different. It’s a different system. There are more combinations and boxing. I’m learning again. I feel like a teenager.”
He added that the “Big Drama Show” is back and we can expect to see a new and improved Golovkin under his new trainer.
“I don’t want to show anything. I just want to be comfortable and have a good fight,” Golovkin said. “Let’s fight this fight and then I’ll focus on what’s next.”
Follow Miguel on Twitter @MigMaravilla