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Golovkin won’t face Saunders; will wait for Canelo fight

Billy Joe Saunders, Canelo Alvarez, Gennady Golovkin boxing photo

By Dan Ambrose: Gennady “GGG” Golovkin (37-0, 33 KOs) will not be facing WBO middleweight champion Billy Joe Saunders (24-0, 12 KOs) in a unification fight on June 10 like what had previously talked about, as he plans on waiting until September to face Saul “Canelo” Alvarez (48-1-1, 34 KOs) instead. Yahoo Sports news is reporting that their sources is saying that the 35-year-old GGG will sit outside of the ring rather than take a fight against Saunders.

Golovkin and his management appear more interested in putting their energy into getting the bigger payday against Canelo rather than take another fight before that big mega-fight. It’s an understandable move by Golovkin because he had a close call in facing Daniel Jacobs on March 18th last month on HBO PPV. Golovkin won a close 12 round unanimous decision against a very defensive minded Jacobs, who tried a strategy of bulking up and using movement. That plan didn’t work for Jacobs, as he was still beaten by the bigger punching Golovkin, who got the better of him after knocking him down in the 4th round.

Negotiations are still underway between Golovkin’s promoter Tom Loeffler and Golden Boy Promotions to try and setup the Canelo-Golovkin fight for September. Oscar De La Hoya of Golden Boy said he doesn’t want Golovkin to fight Saunders. Loeffler isn’t admitting that he’s following De La Hoya’s wishes, but it would appear that’s what he’s doing because Golovkin wanted the fight with Saunders so that he could win his WBO middleweight title. The only reason why Golovkin wouldn’t go through with that fight would be the risk of him losing out on the Canelo fight.

Having the extra time to rest after the Jacobs fight could help Golovkin get ready for Canelo. However, Golovkin needs to make sure that he doesn’t over-train for the Canelo fight when/if the fight gets made, because he looked like he overdid it in his last 2 camps for the Daniel Jacobs and Kell Brook fights. I don’t know what Golovkin’s trainer Abel Sanchez is putting him through in his training camps, but he needs to back off because he’s been looking torn down lately. When you get older like Golovkin, you’re supposed to train smarter, not harder. I don’t think Sanchez realizes that.

Golovkin’s trainer Abel Sanchez says he’s not injured from the Jacobs fight, but he is sore from the fight.

“He was sore. He had a 12 round fight,” Sanchez said to Yahoo Sports. “I didn’t see it in the first day in the dressing room. Usually the second or third day you start to feel it and I didn’t check in with him right after. After a long training camp, I’m the last person he would want to see. He is not a complainer. It’s just natural soreness. It was a difficult fight.”

The decision by Golovkin and his trainer Abel Sanchez to box Jacobs instead of slugging with him was a bad one. It was the wrong fight strategy because it played to Jacobs’ strengths. It also allowed Jacobs to go the distance and then complain to the boxing media that he should have won. If Golovkin had simply treated Jacobs like he did all of his other opponents, he probably would have knocked him out in 4 rounds or less.

Dmitri Pirog had already created the blueprint in how to beat Jacobs by going after him and taking his head off with a big right hand. Sanchez and Golovkin didn’t follow Pirog’s game plan. They followed Sergio Mora’s game plan in electing to box Jacobs, and that was a really stupid thing to do. It caused the fight to go the full 12 rounds, and then it let Jacobs complain bitterly for weeks that he won the fight. There’s an echo effect with Jacobs’ complaining. Jacobs’ boxing fans and the many Golovkin haters are now saying that he should have lost the fight despite knocking Jacobs down and out-landing him in the fight. if Golovkin learns from this fight, then it’s a good thing for him. He should know that his best style of fighting is when he’s coming forward looking for a knockout. When he tinkers with that style to try and become a boxer, he struggles. Golovkin needs to go back to what brought him to this point by continuing to slug in all of his fights for the remainder of his career.

Golovkin may have taken more punishment in training camp in choosing to use the big punching 175lb contender David Benavidez as his sparring partner to get ready for the Jacobs fight. In hindsight, it wasn’t a great idea for Golovkin to use someone as powerful and as big as the 6’2” Benavidez as his sparring partner for the Jacobs fight. Benavidez would be an good sparring partner for a small number of rounds for Golovkin, but no more than that. At Golovkin’s age, he doesn’t need to be going through grueling sparring sessions against huge punchers to get ready for his fights. He’s got enough experience to go into his fights and win without depleting himself by sparring a lot of big punchers. Sanchez needs to back Golovkin off of his Spartan training regimen and realize that he’s an older fighter that doesn’t need that kind of training. That kind of thing would be OK if Golovkin were 24, not 35.

Canelo’s sudden interest in facing Golovkin after his close fight against Daniel Jacobs is one that raises a lot of questions of why. Is Canelo only interested now in fighting Golovkin because he thinks he’s aged to the point where he can beat him? Do Canelo and his promoters a Golden Boy think that Golovkin is ready to beaten? A lot of boxing fans would conclude that. When Golovkin was looking sensational last year, Canlelo vacated his World Boxing Council middleweight title just so that he could avoid the fight with him. At the time, Golovkin Boy Promotions said that Canelo wasn’t a full middleweight, but that excuse didn’t sound right. Canelo appeared to be heavier than Golovkin even then.

Canelo will be turning 27 in July. He’s 8 years younger than Triple G. If Canelo is going to ever beat Golovkin this would be the time. Canelo and his promoters obviously didn’t feel up to the job earlier in his career, but supposedly he’s nearing the zenith of his career. If Canelo can’t beat Golovkin now, then it just wasn’t meant to be. If things don’t work out for Canelo against Golovkin, he can at least feel a sense of satisfaction knowing that he’ll always be more popular than the Kazakhstan fighter in the U.S.

A loss for Canelo against Golovkin would reveal what a lot of boxing fans already think about the redheaded star. He’s a popular fighter, but he’s been very carefully matched by his promoters against smaller and older fighters, and he’s been lucky in getting decisions against Erislandy Lara and Austin Trout.

Golovkin did his part in beating a very tough Daniel Jacobs to put himself in position to fight Canelo in September. Canelo needs to win his fight against Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. on May 6 for him to be ready to face Golovkin. Canelo has the much easier opponent in front of him in Chavez Jr. If Canelo had to fight Jacobs, it would be a different story, because he’s still in his prime and he hasn’t been experiencing weight problems for the last 5 years like Chavez Jr.

If Golden Boy wants to match Canelo against Chavez Jr. again in September instead of Golovkin, then that move will have fallout for the redheaded star and his promoters. The boxing fans will see the move as another duck by Canelo and Golden Boy. Golovkin will have skipped the Saunders fight for nothing if that’s the case. That move would at least teach Golovkin and Loeffler a lesson that they can’t count on getting the Canelo fight. They need to stay busy and forget about waiting for the Canelo fight to happen.




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