Abel Sanchez: Comradery Over. Shot’s Fired, Blasts Cotto, and Quillin


Abel Sanchez Gennady Golovkin“I think I’m gonna make a shirt that says; ‘I want Gennady Golovkin, just not next’” said Abel Sanchez to Esnewreporting.com.

Sanchez, who has trained the interim WBC, WBA Super and IBO World middleweight champion since 2010, seems to be tiring of all the other top names in the division apparently avoiding his man Golovkin(32-0, 29KO’s). In a video interview, he directed his comments at two men, in particular. WBC middleweight champion Miguel Cotto(39-4, 32KO’s) and the former(but still undefeated as he vacated the belt) WBO champ Peter Quillin(31-0 22KO’s).

Cotto dethroned Sergio Martinez last June to become the first Puerto Rican to win a belt in four different weight classes but has been absent ever since. Golovkin’s interim belt qualifies him as the mandatory challenger to Cotto’s full title. But Cotto has been allowed to make a voluntary defence before then so for now, Sanchez and his charge are forced to wait, something the trainer is not at all happy with.

“I would hope that Miguel would make up his mind what he wants to be. He obviously doesn’t want to be a middleweight so he should give up the belt and let the real men fight for it, or the real middleweights fight for it.”

Strong words from such a jovial man and he extended his lambaste to Cotto’s latest trainer Freddie Roach, insinuating that despite his words of support for his fighter, Roach has little real belief that he could overcome a hard-hitter like Golovkin.

“Even though they talk a lot, even though they bark a lot, and Freddie talks about he favours Cotto 100% well, Freddie’s a pro he knows exactly what’s going on.”

So what is going on? Is Cotto actively avoiding Golovkin to string out his championship reign for as long as possible? Is Roach only preaching support for his man to save face? Do both Cotto and Roach truly have so little faith in themselves that they are running scared from the middleweight boogeyman? That seems to be what Sanchez is saying.

If those comments seem flagrant or in any way disrespectful he goes one step further for Peter Quillin, whom was firmly in the Golovkin camp’s crosshairs when he was still a title holder. Despite vacating the belt he has been granted an opportunity to regain it against Andy Lee(34-2, 24KO’s) on April 11th in New York and remains one of the more recognisable name in the division, even if he is conspicuously quiet on the subject of Golovkin.

“Peter hasn’t mentioned him[Golovkin] because he keeps hiding behind the networks, keeps hiding behind[his advisor] Al Haymon, keeps hiding behind the fact that he didn’t have that many amateur fights and has done great so far. He’s got all kinds of things that really don’t make any sense.”

If the insults were implied for Cotto, Quillin wasn’t granted the same courtesy. If either attack comes across as pigheaded or arrogant, it seems to me to be born out of frustration. Sanchez has an absolute destroyer under his wing and to not be granted the chance to prove Golovkin is the best around due to his contemporary’s unwillingness to step up to the mark must be a constant source of exasperation. Their goal is to conquer the middleweight class but if they can’t do that because of others’ decisions they may have to move elsewhere.

“He[Golovkin] wants to unify the division. He wants to find out who’s who at 160.lb.. When the rest of the champions say they don’t want to fight him, it’ll be at that point he moves on but until then he wants to make sure everybody knows who’s the king at 160.”

So what is keeping these top-level professional fighters from stepping in with Golovkin? From the outside looking in, one would hasten to think it his earth-shattering power that makes would-be opponents hesitate to sign for a fight. He has a 90% knockout percentage and hasn’t heard the final bell since 2008. The road he has taken since then is littered with nineteen bodies. And it looks like he hurts people. The way he crumpled Matthew Macklin with a left hook to the body, the way he bludgeoned Marco Antonio Rubio with the same shot to the top of his head, the way he wiped out Daniel Geale with the right hand when taking one himself in the process. He’s a scary guy, and I’m just watching.

He was born with the power of the punch and Sanchez feels not only have we not seen him max out when delivering a shot, but that they take measurements in the gym to ensure he doesn’t come to over-rely on the force his fists can deliver, a la Mike Tyson.

“He hasn’t really hit someone 100% like I’ve seen him in the gym with the padding and guards we put on the sparring partners. He’s an intelligent fighter and he knows that he has to work, and he has to learn and he has to improve his craft. He knows that in order to be better he’s going to have to practice, and the eleven rounds we went with [Martin] Murray was actually a blessing for me.”

That was Golovkin’s last outing in February, and it was the first time he had ever gone into the eleventh round. He knocked Murray down three times altogether and dissected the Brit meticulously minute by minute. Despite breathing deeply in the middle portion of the fight, it wasn’t reflected in his work at all against arguably his toughest opponent to date.

Golovkin can only keep walking along the same path. Sanchez prepares him for four fights per year and so far they have won them all, but there will still be questions about just how good he is until he unifies the division like the great Bernard Hopkins did in the 90’s. He could also move up to super-middleweight if the desired fights do not materialise, where the absentee Andre Ward plies his formidable trade. Ward would definitely cause Golovkin some difficulties with his slick defence, intelligent approach and underrated physicality but as Sanchez said, that won’t be happening anytime soon. Cotto and Quillin are still on the hit-list.