By Sean Crose
“No,” Gennady Golovkin said to me after I asked if he felt boxing’s biggest names were avoiding him. “I understand my situation.”
How many other fighters in Golovkin’s position would be as reasonable, or as humble? The man is a monster in the ring, after all, the most feared fighter in the world, in fact. Yet here he was, on a Thursday conference call to promote his upcoming bout with Daniel Geale, saying he understood why he hadn’t yet had his moment in the spotlight.
“Gennady’s up for fighting anybody,” his manager, Tom Loeffler, told the media. “If it’s a pay per view fight, he would move up, or he would move down.” Clearly, the man – or at least his camp – wants to reach the big time. The big time, however, may continue to elude the fighter they call GGG.
Fans, for instance, want Miguel Cotto and Canelo Alvarez to fight each other rather than Golovkin. What’s more, dreams of Golovkin facing Julio Caesar Chavez Jr. have ended up being just that – dreams.
Yet there’s another reason Golovkin may not reach the sport’s pinnacle – and that reason is named Daniel Geale. A highly experienced former champion, the Australian (by way of Tasmania) Geale is a skilled and expereinced foe who has only lost twice in his long career.
What’s more, both his loses were by split decision – and at least one of those split decision loses proved to be controversial. If that weren’t enough, Geale outpointed the talented fighter Felix Strum in Strum’s homeland of Germany, a country with a shaky reputation for judging fights.
In other words, the 30-2 Geale is anything but easy pickings for Golovkin. “If Daniel Geale fights his absolute best,” said trainer Graham Shaw, “I believe it beats Gennady’s best.” A not entirely laughable statement.
Geale himself was as polite and reserved on the call as Golovkin was. Yet he made it clear why he was fighting a man so many other boxers arguably fear. “Gennady’s got titles and I want titles,” he said simply. “I want to fight the best fighters and I want to win some titles.”
Like Golovkin, though, Geale simply isn’t in any position to pick and choose who he gets to fight. Not that he’d decide to go that route if he could anyway. “You have to get in there and test yourself against the best fighters in the world,” he claimed.
I asked Geale if he felt his experience in championship bouts would give him an advantage other Golovkin opponents haven’t had. “Yeah, definitely,” he responded. “I’ve been in big fights before, on big occasions…being the underdog, as well, is something I’m used to.”
Both fighters seemed truly excited to be highlighting an HBO card from Madison Square Garden on July 26th. “I’m so happy to be back to Madison Square Garden,” Golovkin said, “I’m so happy to be back in a big arena this time.” Geale, too, appeared to be savoring the moment. “ I’m really excited to be fighting on such a big show,” he claimed.
The two fighters also see their matchup as an opportunity to build their resumes. “It’s going to be the perfect step for me fighting Gannady,” Geale admitted. Yet Geale’s career is likely to take a severe hit if he loses on the 26th. The scenario may be even more grave, however, for Golovkin.
“He definitely needs to fight Daniel in a manner that he’s fought some of the past opponents,” trainer Abel Sanchez said, addressing the underlying need for Golovkin to keep appearing dominant. Perhaps the situation isn’t as dire as it looks, however.
For Loeffler pointed out that Golovkin will also be appearing on Broadway while in New York. “He’ll be making a cameo appearance at the Rocky play,” the manager told journalists. Perhaps a second career awaits.