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Golovkin considering Rolls or N’Dam for June 8 fight

Gennady Golovkin Hassan N'Dam N'Jikam

By Jeff Aranow: Gennady Golovkin is still looking to finalize his next opponent for June 8 on DAZN at Madison Square Garden. The former IBF/WBA/WBC middleweight champion GGG has reportedly made offers to Canadian fighter Steve Rolls and former WBO champion Hassan N’Dam for his next fight at a catch-weight of 164 pounds, according to Dan Rafael of ESPN. This would be a non-title fight.

It’s unclear what DAZN would think about Golovkin taking a fight against an unknown like Steve Rolls. If the brass at DAZN is pleased with Golovkin vs. Rolls, then they perhaps won’t mind if the fight fails to bring in a lot of subscribers. There’s no demand for this fight whatsoever by fans. With Saul Canelo Alvarez taking a risky fight with Daniel Jacobs, the fans expect Golovkin to take a high risk opponent as well in WBO champion Demetrius Andrade. GGG fighting Rolls or N’Dam will hurt his popularity with his boxing fans, because they’ll see this as a weak move on his part in taking a record-padding fight.

The management for Golovkin were recently attempting to get GGG’s former sparring partner Brandon Adams (21-2, 13 KOs) to take the fight, but he opted to agree to face interim World Boxing Council middleweight champion Jermall Charlo instead. Those two are expected to fight in June on Premier Boxing Champions on Showtime. The fans weren’t excited at Adams, 29, as an opponent for Golovkin either, as he was knocked out in the second round not long ago by John Thompson, and also beaten by former GGG opponent Willie Monroe Jr. in ESPN’s Boxcino tournament. Adams did recently beat Shane Mosley Jr. by a 10 round unanimous decision in series five of “The Contender”. Mosley Jr. isn’t a world class fighter. He’s the son of a former four division world champion Shane Mosley.

In terms of accomplishment and name recognition, Hassan N’Dam (37-3, 21 KOs) is the far better choice of the two. Steve Rolls is ranked #9 with the International Boxing Federation, but he’s never beaten anyone of note. The 34-year-old Rolls’ best wins have come against these fighters: KeAndrae Leatherwood and Damian Ezequiel Bonelli. The rest of the names on Roll’s resume are obscure fighters that have done little with their careers. For GGG to select Rolls, it suggests that he’s really going lower level with his next fight. If he’s going to choose Rolls, he might as well select one of his old opponents like Willie Monroe Jr. or Gabriel Rosado rather than go far this far down the food chain. Golovkin, 37, is better than this. He’s capable of beating much better fighters than Rolls and N’Dam. With Saul Canelo Alvarez facing Daniel Jacobs on May 4, it’s going to look bad if GGG fights an obscure fighter in Rolls or the recently knocked out N’Dam.

DAZN obviously has given Golovkin’s management the green light to pick a soft opponent for his first fight of his six-fight, three-year, nine-figure deal with them. Saul Canelo Alvarez was able to take a lesser fighter in his first fight of his 11-fight, five-year, $365 million deal with DAZN when he fought former WBA ‘regular’ super middleweight champion Rocky Fielding on December 15. But at least in the case of Canelo, he was fighting a world champion, albeit a fighter that was considered by a lot of boxing fans to be a paper champion in Fielding. Rolls is just a 34-year-old guy who has beaten absolutely no one. If the idea is to turn away boxing fans towards a trilogy fight between Golovkin and Canelo Alvarez in September, then Rolls is the guy that GGG needs. It would arguably hurt the promotion for the Canelo-GGG 3 fight if Golovkin faces a lower level guy like Rolls.

At least when Golovkin took on Vanes Martirosyan last year in May as a replacement opponent for Canelo, he was facing a guy that had been around for a long time, fought in the Olympics, and had faced the best at 154 in Erislandy Lara and Demetrius Andrade. But with Rolls, he’s a Canadian champion, and he doesn’t have world level experience. This would be arguably worst than the fight that Golovkin’s management were trying to setup last year with 21-year-old junior middleweight Jaime Munguia. The Nevada State Athletic Commission failed to approve Munguia, otherwise Golovkin would have fought him. Rolls is just as inexperienced as Munguia, but with less talent and punching power in this writer’s opinion.

The fans would like to see Golovkin fight one of these fighters for his June 8 fight on DAZN:

– Demetrius Andrade

– Maciej Sulecki

– Ryota Murata

– David Lemieux

– Jermall Charlo

– Sergey Derevyanchenko

– Callum Smith

– Gilberto Ramirez

– David Benavidez

Since Golovkin is technically fighting at super middleweight at a catch-weight for the fight, a fighter from the 168 lb weight division would be perfect for him. The short 5’8″ Canelo just fought a super middleweight in Rocky Fielding, so GGG should be able to do the same instead of picking an obscure fringe contender from the 160 lb weight class in Rolls.

GGG’s management were previously considering June 8 or June 15, but they decided on the June 8th date due to Tyson Fury fighting on the 15th of that month. They didn’t want to compete with his fight, which will be streamed on ESPN+ on June 15 against German heavyweight Tom Scharz.

One could understand why Golovkin would want an easy opponent for his June 8 fight on DAZN. The 2004 Olympic silver medalist from Kazakhstan lost his last fight to Saul Canelo Alvarez last September by the narrowest of margins in losing a 12 round majority decision in a fight that was decided by the final round. Canelo fought harder in the 12th, and got the nod by the judge based on his hard work. Golovkin underestimated the importance of fighting hard in the 12th, and it cost him the fight. Besides the twelfth round, GGG made some mistakes in that fight by backing up on Canelo, and looking like he was being walked down by the younger fighter. Golovkin’s trainer Abel Sanchez failed to see the significance of that, and he should have. It was a winnable fight for GGG if he had fought the right way by standing up to Canelo instead of backing away.

N’Dam, 35, won his last fight in beating former five time world title challenger Martin Murray on December 22 in beating him by a 12 round majority decision in Manchester, England. N’Dam was stopped in his fight before that by Ryota Murata by a seventh round stoppage in October 2017.

Before Rolls and N’Dam, it’s an easy choice in deciding which of the two is the better option for Golovkin. N’Dam is a talented former world champion with past fights against Murata, David Lemieux, Curtis Stevens, Murray, Peter Quillin, Max Bursak, Avtandil Khurtsidze, Gennady Martirosyan, Giovanni Lorenzo, Mehdi Amar and Affif Belghecham. Rolls has fought nobody of note. If Golovkin’s team are unable to make a deal with N’Dam, then it would make sense for them to take a lesser talent if they can’t get anyone good. It’s logical for the top contenders not to want to fight Golovkin right now, because he’s no longer a world champion. If a fighter is in position to eventually get a title shot against Canelo Alvarez, it would be foolish for them to take a risky fight against Golovkin if the money’s not huge.

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