Gennady ‘GGG’ Golovkin has and still is one of the biggest names in the sport of boxing, but since officially losing his titles to Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez in a close second fight, it feels as if he has lost part of the mystique that made him irresistible to watch when he ruled the division. This could also be because three out of four of his last fights went the distance as opposed to a time when he scored 18 consecutive stoppages in fights involving various world titles.
An acrimonious split with long-time trainer Abel Sanchez was played out in the media gaze and on social media recently and the armchair boxing experts were split on who was in the right, as with any divorce, it was messy.
The news that ‘GGG’ had secured the services of former Wladimir Klitschko trainer Johnathan Banks was met with more positive reviews and the pair will face close scrutiny on Saturday 8th June when Golovkin faces unbeaten 35-year-old Canadian Steve Rolls at Madison Square Garden in a 10 round bout that will be streamed by DAZN.
So, can we expect a new and improved ‘GGG’ against Rolls? At 37 years of age it is unlikely that any physical improvements are going to be made, and to be fair to Banks only minor technical alterations are likely to surface after only one training camp together, but more importantly, the change of coach for Golovkin has served as a selling point for this promotion, because Rolls in an unknown quantity with few credible names on his record to be facing a man still considered by many as the best 160lb fighter in the world.
Much like the upcoming Tyson Fury vs Tom Schwarz fight in Las Vegas, the promoter has hedged his bets by finding an unbeaten fighter to match against their star name in a marking time fight that should lead to a much bigger event for a much larger purse. Of course Rolls while unbeaten in 19 bouts has only 10 stoppages and taken part in 95 rounds as a professional, compared to the 38-1-1 record of ‘GGG’ with 34 stoppages and 196 completed rounds, the gap in experience and levels is massive.
When you consider that the trilogy fight with Alvarez is probably on the line, it makes good sense to pick a less risky bet for your star, but we also have to keep in mind that Anthony Joshua seemed to believe he had a safe bet in front of him in the same arena 7 days earlier and that didn’t turn out so well for the British superstar.
Hardcore boxing fans will always look forward to a Golovkin bout because of the high degree of chance that they will get a spectacular knockout, and there is a good chance that is what they are likely to see in the Golovkin vs Rolls bout.
It’s easy to be too critical of these ‘Mark Time’ fights but they are important in the build-up to bigger bouts, so, let’s just hope that Steve Rolls grabs his opportunity and rolls the dice (No pun intended), what’s he got to lose?
Just ask Andy Ruiz Jr.