Gennady Golovkin begins another busy year vs Adama
MANHATTAN BEACH, Calif. (AP)
Gennady Golovkin isn't the type of champion to sit on his belt.
That's why the unbeaten middleweight king is taking his fifth fight in 13 months against Osumanu Adama in Monte Carlo this weekend instead of waiting around for the big-name bouts he's hoping to land this year.
Golovkin (28-0, 25 KOs) simply can't sit still for very long, certainly not when he's on a 15-fight stoppage streak. After beating Curtis Stevens in early November, Golovkin got back into training in Big Bear, Calif., before Christmas, leaving his young family behind in Stuttgart, Germany.
''I want to fight every month,'' Golovkin said. ''Doesn't matter to me where it is. I'm happy when I have my next fight.''
That next fight is in the Salle des Etoiles in front of a small audience of Monte Carlo elites, and television coverage just about everywhere except the U.S. market. Although Golovkin has become one of HBO's most popular fighters with three dramatic wins on the pay-cable network last year, it couldn't reach a deal to broadcast this fight to his American fans.
Yet Golovkin isn't worried about his exposure from this bout, and promoter Tom Loeffler is sticking with his plan to keep Golovkin quite busy while his reputation grows. Loeffler wants his 160-pound star to fight four times again in 2014, ideally getting back in the ring stateside in April.
''I'm ready for a new year, same like last year,'' Golovkin said. ''I want great fights, and I hope I have a lot.''
Loeffler and Golovkin's trainer, Abel Sanchez, don't see any relaxation in their fighter's focus despite his heavy schedule. Golovkin trained in Big Bear alongside heavyweight Mike Perez and UFC star Ronda Rousey, who is picking up pointers on striking in Sanchez's camp.
''He's the type of guy that's up for challenges, and as long as it makes sense for his career, we're going to keep pushing,'' Loeffler said.
Golovkin's strategy of volume fighting has paid off in some ways, but he's still waiting for a full return on this extraordinary investment of time and risk.
He has significant fame and a reputation as a favorite among serious boxing fans, but he'll need matchups with the rest of the world's best at 160 and 168 pounds to cement a worldwide reputation - and so far, those fighters still don't want much to do with Golovkin.
Adama (22-3, 16 KOs) is a respectable contender fighting out of Chicago, but he's not Sergio Martinez, Julio Cesar Chavez Jr., Andre Ward or another big name. Golovkin has volunteered to fight Martinez or Miguel Cotto if either star can't make their expected June bout, while the likes of Martin Murray, Daniel Geale and Felix Sturm all seem uninterested in risking their careers against Golovkin.
Although Golovkin is now a star in his own right, he's still a high-risk proposition. Loeffler realizes the only way to get fighters to accept that challenge is with money from HBO.
''We have to overpay guys to get in the ring with him,'' Loeffler said. ''His opponents are the best-paid opponents in the middleweight division. It's becoming a financially rewarding fight for the opponents, and we're hoping that keeps moving up.''