The Gennady Golovkin Problem
By Robert “Big Moe” Elmore: Late great former heavyweight champion Joe Frazier planted three seeds into Marvin Hagler’s mind. Frazier told Hagler he had three strikes going against him. The first was he was a southpaw. Two, you’re good and three you’re black. The first two can legitimately justified because nobody really likes fighting southpaws and Hagler was good.
So good in fact that he was passed over for a title shot for seven years. The last seed however I cannot really roll with. The 70’s going into the 80 produced a crop of black champion and soon to be champions. Hagler often felt disrespected by the public and never felt they embraced him. Hagler was determined to let his fists and not his personality do the talking. Hagler wasn’t really accepted until he had that marquee fight against Thomas Hearns. After that, he became the superstar he clamored. He was finally accepted by the public. Hagler never really opened up to the public and that cost him a great deal. Boxing is more than just get in the ring and fight. One has to sell himself.
I have come to know that people gravitate more to a fighter when they give the public something they hold on/and or relate to. It can’t be just get in the ring knockout a couple folks, and go back home. The public wants to know who up and coming fighters are. This builds the fan base which leads to bigger crowds, which gets people talking, and brings bigger fights and pay days. WBA middleweight champion Gennady Golovkin has by default, taken the Hagler route. I say by default because of the language barrier so his fists are doing the talking. He’s not able to give the public anything to hold onto. People like to feel an emotional connection to the fighter. One of the main reasons GGG can’t score a major fight is because has no major fan base and brings nothing to the table financially. The other is nobody is willing to give that “marquee” fight either. One is connected to the other. He gets the marquee fight, the fan base and pay days build. It would seem that WBC champ Sergio Martinez would be that guy, but it seems he all about cashing out.
GGG has been criticized for taking on meager competition. There is some that is deserved and some is not. Abel Sanchez, Gennadys’s trainer says they want to clean out the division. But what is there to clean out if WBO champ Peter Quillin (Showtime fighter) Felix Strum IBF champ, or WBC champ Sergio Martinez are not going to give him a fight? Why not move up the super middleweight division where big fights are just waiting to happen? It will surely keep GGG busy and building up his name, but many fans will look at “cleaning out” a division as him fighting no names to pad his record. In case like this, GGG is going to have to take respect. A fight with Andre Ward can do just that. Understandable, this fight needs time to build up. Sanchez has said they’ll fight anyone from 160 to 175. I take that as a grain of salt because I understand Sanchez might be trying to bring more attention to his fighter. The expectation for that has grown among fight fans. And if that is continued to be said without any movement, the expectation will grow larger.