Golovkin eyes Ve­gas jackpot

First fight in Sin City as box­ing champ takes on Mex­ico’s big­gest star

The Herald (South Africa) - - SPORT -

GEN­NADY Golovkin is un­daunted by the chal­lenge of fight­ing for the first time in Las Ve­gas and says de­fend­ing his ti­tles against Canelo Al­varez will be like going on a date with a new girl­friend.

Golovkin (37-0, 33 KOs), who holds the World Box­ing Coun­cil, World Box­ing As­so­ci­a­tion and In­ter­na­tional Box­ing Fed­er­a­tion mid­dleweight belts, will face Mex­ico’s big­gest box­ing star Al­varez in a 12-round mega ti­tle fight to­mor­row at the T-Mo­bile Arena.

“It is like you are going with your new girl­friend,” the 35-year-old from Kaza­khstan said, de­scrib­ing his ex­cite­ment for the bat­tle for mid­dleweight supremacy.

Golovkin said this week he would be ready for any­thing Al­varez threw at him.

“I bring my belts, all my belts. I feel like a cham­pion. This is my game, I am boss.”

Nev­er­the­less, Golovkin’s trainer, Abel Sanchez, said the ma­jor­ity of the crowd to­mor­row would be cheer­ing for Al­varez.

“I ex­pect the crowd to be pro Canelo. It is more for Canelo right now,” Sanchez said.

“Peo­ple are pick­ing Canelo. That even mo­ti­vates him [Golovkin] more.”

Golovkin has waited a long time to get his first fight on box­ing’s big­gest stage in the United States.

He has fought in 22 cities and seven dif­fer­ent coun­tries but never in Sin City.

“The big­gest day is com­ing. This is a true fight, there is a lot of money,” Golovkin said.

Sev­eral years ago, Golovkin had the younger Al­varez as one of his spar­ring part­ners at a train­ing camp in Big Bear, Cal­i­for­nia.

So there is some fa­mil­iar­ity be­tween the two, but Golovkin ex­pects Al­varez to come into the fight with a few new wrin­kles in his game-plan.

“He might bring some new ideas to this fight. I am ready for any­thing,” Golovkin said.

“I am ready to fight. It is a first-class fight.”

Al­varez, who has only lost once in 51 fights (49-1-1), said he trained 10 weeks for this bout.

“I just want to say I am pre­pared. I know it is going to be a tough fight,” Al­varez said at the news con­fer­ence.

Al­varez’s trainer, Eddy Reynoso, said their camp was a suc­cess and his fighter was in top con­di­tion.

“We had a great prepa­ra­tion, more than 14 years to pre­pare for this fight,” Reynoso said.

“We had a great camp, no in­juries, ev­ery­thing went well.”

Sanchez said the two fighters’ punch­ing power would make for an ex­cit­ing con­test.

“We look for a dra­matic fight, an ex­plo­sive fight,” Sanchez said. “Th­ese two guys have the styles that are going to give us a fight we will re­mem­ber for a long time.

“It is very special. This is where all the big fights hap­pen. This is his­tory and if the fight is as good as we think it is going to be then it will be re­mem­bered like the Ha­glerLeonard fight.”

Sanchez said Golovkin lost some of his pop­u­lar­ity af­ter his last fight in March be­cause he had to go the dis­tance to beat Daniel Ja­cobs.

Asked why so many more peo­ple now think Al­varez will win than a year ago, Sanchez said: “Be­cause of the Ja­cobs fight.”

Tick­ets at T-Mo­bile are sold out for Al­varez-Golovkin but Sanchez said they still had work to do to get peo­ple to buy the pay-per-view. Box­ing fans who shelled out $99 (R1 303) for the Floyd May­weather-Conor McGre­gor nov­elty fight just over two weeks ago might be re­luc­tant to buy this one, he said.

“It might have hurt us a lit­tle but it didn’t hurt as much as peo­ple thought it would,” Sanchez said.

“A lot of ca­sual fans would have bought this fight if they hadn’t spent $99 on a spec­ta­cle.

“It is a dif­fer­ent month. The bud­get may still be there.”

Golovkin said he did not see the May­weather-McGre­gor con­test but would have tuned in if it had been for char­ity.

“If May­weather-McGre­gor was a char­ity fight where peo­ple give money I would have watched it. But it was not a true fight,” Golovkin said.

GEN­NADY GOLOVKIN

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