Johnathon Banks wants GGG to throw more punches
By Jim Dower: Former middleweight champion Gennady Golovkin’s new trainer Johnahon Banks wants to change his offense around to make him more of a high volume combination puncher instead of a fighter that throws single power shots one after another, and he believes he can do that. Banks, 37, has taken over for the recently terminated Abel Sanchez as the new coach for Golovkin (38-1-1, 34 KOs), who made the announcement earlier Saturday at a news conference.
Banks says he’s currently working with GGG to make more of a pressure than he’s been in the past. Banks thinks that he can improve his game beginning with his next fight against Steve Rolls on June 8 at Madison Square Garden in New York.
“Right now we’re working on his activity inside the ring,” Banks said to Fighthub about him wanting Golovkin to throw more punches. “I’m looking for him to be more active. That’s the immediate goal right now. I’m saying in the ring more active…making his opponents be a little more wary of not just one punch, but multiple punches. When you got a guy that’s coming to you, you know he can punch, and he’s throwing multiple punches, it makes your opponent react completely different. Your opponent has nowhere in the ring where he can react. The only time he can relax is once the round is over with, and that’s how uncomfortable you want to make your opponent in the ring,” Banks said in talking about the changes he would make in the game of Golovkin.
One can argue that Golovkin should have made the chance from Sanchez to Banks a couple of years ago after his fight with Daniel Jacobs in 2017. That’s when it became clear that Golovkin was having problems with fighters that were able to key on his single shots. Banks noticed that GGG loads up too much on single shots, and he wants to change that bad habit that he has by getting him to throw multiple combinations.
Whether Golovkin can change his style of fighting at this point in his career is an important question. He’s been fighting the same way since he was an amateur. For Golovkin to be more active in throwing combinations could be difficult. It’s possible that he could begin rounds throwing more punches, but slip back into his old style of fighting where he waits for the perfect opening before he throws a power shot.
In looking at the best moments in Golovkin’s two fights with Canelo, it seemed that he would perform better when he was throwing multiple combinations that forced to Canelo to exchange with him more than one punch at a time. Canelo is mostly a one punch fighter as well. When Canelo does put together two or three shots, he needs to rest immediately after that. His power goes away due to fatigue. On rare occasions when Golovkin kept throwing punches, he was tiring Canelo out and getting the better of him. Where Golovkin made the mistake is he would back off and go back to his single shot style of fighting, which involved a lot of waiting for the right moment before he would let loose with a shot. The style played into Canelo’s hands because it let him rest.
Canelo was out-boxing Golovkin in both fights with him, given that GGG was throwing single shots that enabled him to counter them. Canelo has fought his entire career against guys that throw single shots, and he was able to get the better of Golovkin with that style. Golovkin didn’t hurry Canelo by forcing him to deal with shots that would exhaust him. Golovkin needed to pattern himself after Aaron Pryor for him to beat a guy like Canelo, but he wasn’t being taught that style by Sanchez. He had him coming forward, jabbing a lot and looking to throw one mighty punch at a time. That’s exactly how Golovkin fought as an amateur, and that’s why he was beaten in the 2004 Olympics. The guy he fought in the final was busier than he was by throwing more combinations. Golovkin was too busy throwing single shots, and doing a lot of clinching.
“It would be the same as I just said, because we didn’t have no dealings for the first two fights,” Banks said when asked what changes he would make in GGG’s game for him to defeat Canelo in their third fight. “It’s easy to say what need to be done if the fight becomes a third fight. I feel like I can add something to make him better in the fight, to make the fight go more to GGG. I’d just like to see the activity to see him a little bit more active. Both fights [Canelo vs. Golovkin] were really good. Both fights were competitive fights. I wouldn’t have wanted to be a judge for either of the fights, because it was hard fights to judge,” Banks said.
Banks has got his work cut out for hm in trying to change the way that Golovkin fights at this stage in his career. It’s easy for Banks to talk about wanting Golovkin to throw more shots, but it could prove to be difficult to get him to do that. However, it’s a lot easier for a trainer to get a fighter to increase their punch output than it is for them to fix holes in their defense or to train them to fight on the inside. If Banks’ whole focus right now is just to get Golovkin to throw many punches per round, it should be attainable if he’s able to continually remind him to let his hands go each round. Banks will need to change Golovkin’s DNA to a certain extent to make him a different fighter than what we’ve become accustomed to seeing in the past.
The mistakes that Golovkin made in his two fights with Canelo were obvious ones. He was throwing too many single shots, and that wasn’t going to work against a guy with better hand speed that was going to answer back with his fast hands. Golovkin needed to force Canelo to have to deal one punch after another that would have worn him down, and likely stopped him.