The Making of a Boxing Star: Gennady Golovkin
By: Matthew N. Becher
The American Dream is a thing that many people strive for, from all walks of life, all over the world. The dream that you can work hard, be honest, and one day you will have formed a better life than the one you came from, for not only yourself but for your family. It isn’t an easy thing to achieve. Many obstacles present themselves to the immigrants and foreigners chasing the American dream. In the sport of Boxing this is no different. To be a fighter from a foreign country the opportunity for stardom lies in the United States, and to grab hold of your full potential, you must be able to work harder than a fighter who was born and raised here.
A world championship is something that can be won anywhere. A great fighter can be from any country, but to truly be ranked as the upper echelon of fighter, to be the fighter making the giant pay days, on pay per view, you have to have more than just the pretty smile and knockout punch.
Gennady Golovkin is the WBA & IBF middleweight champion of the world, and for him to become the face of the sport, he will have to work harder than any American fighter. Here is why.
Golovkin is from Karaganda, Kazakhstan. Not only is that a place few people could point out on a map, he grew up speaking a different language. To become a star in America, you have to speak English, it’s an unfortunate thing to say, but it has always been that way. People are not interested in hearing interviews, talk show appearances or press conferences and always hear their favorite fighter answer through a translator. Golovkin speaks English, he actually speaks several languages, and that is what is great about him. He realized how to adjust and did the work. Of course his English is not perfect, but you can understand him and he is able to get his point across to his fans. He can thank them and engage. It may not seem like a big deal, but it is a very big deal. This was one of the main reasons why Manny Pacquiao went from 2x world champion that nobody could pick out of a lineup to global superstar.
Something else that you need to become the best in the sport is branding. Floyd Mayweather had “TBE” or “Money Mayweather”, Oscar Dela Hoya is “The Golden boy” and Manny Pacquiao had “Pacman”. Golovkin is simply “GGG”, his initials, but those three letters have become synonymous with who he is, and ahead of his fight on April 23rd against Dominic Wade, he will have added a new sponsor to his already well branded “GGG”, Nike’s Jordan brand has signed the undefeated champion to their team. One of the most famous brands in the world. One of the most iconic athletes, Michael Jordan, has signed “GGG” up. Only the 3rd boxer to ever garner the jump man logo, in company with Roy Jones Jr. and Andre Ward.
Another way to get to the next level is adapting to your new environment. Just this past week, Golovkin threw out the first pitch at the L.A. Dodgers vs. San Francisco Giants game. A man from Kazakhstan, who we guess, never played much baseball, threw out the first pitch in what is known as “America’s Game”. Golovkin also regularly appears on US television shows like TMZ and ESPN. He now resides with his family in Los Angeles, Hollywood. When he fought at Madison Square Garden last year, he made a one night appearance in the play “Rocky” on Broadway. He works with what he has, and doesn’t stop.
Inside the ring, Golovkin is one of the best in the world. He has the picture perfect smile and knockout power. He is ranked pound for pound in every imaginable list out there. He is a nightmare to all opponents and what he wants more than anything else is to hold all the belts in the middleweight division, fight the best opponents that will actually accept his challenge and make money.
They say on fight night that the work is done in the gym. With Gennady Golovkin it is and it is put in so many other places that it truly shows that the American dream is alive and can be obtained. With hard work, hope and will, anyone can make it.