Abel Sanchez, trainer of middleweight champion Gennady Golovkin, spoke to Boxing News Online recently about the untapped potential his star pupil still has in reserve despite some breathtaking displays over the last few years.
Golovkin wears the WBA Super belt at 160 lbs. after a 33-fight unbeaten march, stopping all but three of his unfortunate opponents inside the scheduled distance. He also holds the periphery IBO title alongside the interim WBC belt, the latter of which puts him in the picture to face the winner of the proposed match between full WBC champ Miguel Cotto and Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez, slated for later this year.
Until Golovkin finds himself faced with one of those marquee names, a fighter perceived as possessing the ability to push him beyond the impressive limits he has already set out, his trainer feels we the viewers will never see the full range of that Kazakh’s abilities.
“He has a lot more to develop, but the only way to do it is not in the gym because there’s only so much you can do, but in the competitive fights that are to come. That teaching will be forced to come out by another good fighter in front of him. Hopefully, the promoters can put together those big fights for him then I think he’ll develop into an even better fighter than he is right now. We as coaches are not magicians, all we can do is work with what we have, and what we have develops by being put in those difficult positions and difficult fights.”
Circumstances such as these have birthed the phrase ‘too good for his own good.’
Sanchez feels Golovkin needs better opposition, but up to this point their K2 Promotions representatives have struggled to find opposition approved across the board as worthy, in small part due to the destructive nature of Golovkin’s victories so far.
The more cynical spectators will point to Golovkin’s resume as definitive proof that he has yet to face anyone cut from world-class cloth. Sure, he is knocking guys cold or at the very least pounding them into submission, but who is he doing it against?
The best names on his resume are probably Martin Murray, Daniel Geale and Curtis Stevens at a push; Golovkin demolished all three of them.
Some will see those names and register a former champion in Geale, a two-time world title challenger unlucky in both efforts (before he met Golovkin) in Murray, and a dangerous puncher in Stevens. Other may see a man already beaten by Darren Barker, a two-time failure and a sub-par assignment who had already lost to Jesse Brinkley, Andre Dirrell and Marcos Primera.
But, it is this level of fighter that makes up the top ten of the middleweight division. If K2 cannot get any of the other champions in a unification match, you won’t find much better qualified than the ones mentioned above, or any of the others intermixed with them.
Making appearances with the uncommon regularity every three or four months means Golovkin is likely to face the odd Marco Antonio Rubio, but what else is he supposed to do when the other belt holders are tied up?
Andy Lee defends his WBO belt against Billy Joe Saunders in the coming months. David Lemieux just beaten Hassan N’Dam for the IBF and the WBC is between Cotto and Canelo at the moment. There are virtually no windows for the rest of this year which Golovkin can jump through to grab another belt.
This means that all the other middleweights deemed good enough to test Golovkin to a greater degree than we have seen, who Sanchez believes will evoke the training ingrained the deepest in the face of adversity, will still be nowhere to be found in the immediate future.
Of course there are scheduling and financial issues that waylay these kinds of meetings far more than the fear of one party, it would just be nice to see the best fight the best. It is a lot to ask, but that is what I and many others, want.