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Cheerful Golovkin greets boxing press at Jacobs media workout

By Doug Fischer

SANTA MONICA, California – Gennady Golovkin was in a good and talkative mood when he sat down with boxing writers prior to his media workout at the Wild Card West gym on Tuesday.

Golovkin, who defends his WBA, IBF and WBC middleweight titles against Daniel Jacobs on March 18 in New York City, was more relaxed and engaging than he has been for quite some time. His disposition was certainly sunnier than it was last year.

Golovkin (36-0, 33 knockouts) seemed annoyed in almost every interview he did in 2016, a year he had hoped would include title-unification bouts against WBO beltholder Billy Joe Saunders and Canelo Alvarez (who abdicated the WBC strap rather than fight GGG within the sanctioning body’s deadline). Those fights, as well as a defense against British contender Chris Eubank Jr., did not happen.

So Golovkin is pleased that Jacobs (32-1, 29 KOs), whose WBA “regular” belt sort of makes their showdown a title-unification bout, signed the dotted line earlier this year. He only had positive things to say about the HBO Pay-Per-View main event at the famed Madison Square Garden and his talented 30-year-old challenger from Brooklyn (and didn’t need much help interpreting questions from the lovely camp translator).

Photo by Tom Hogan – Hoganphotos/K2 Promotions

“Jacobs has a good boxing IQ,” Golovkin said. “I think he’s the best amateur boxer from Brooklyn.”

When asked to compare Jacobs to two past American challengers – Willie Monroe Jr. and Curtis Stevens – Golovkin replied:

“Monroe was fast and skillful, but not powerful. Curtis was fast and powerful, but he’s a short guy.

“Daniel is a big guy. He’s much better. He has speed, power, good style, uses distance (well).”

Golovkin said he’s watched Jacobs’ recent fights on tape and has noticed marked improvement since the Brooklyn native’s sole pro loss (a fifth-round KO to Dmitry Pirog back in 2010).

“Daniel is much better now,” he said. “I know Pirog. I knew about him when I was in Germany. He’s very strong, and had a boxing style that Jacobs was not used to. It was a good experience for (Jacobs). He learned from it. He’s more smart, more strong, much better now.”

Golovkin added that Jacobs’ well-known victory over cancer has enhanced the boxer’s character and body.

“He’s stronger, mentally and physically. He looks good, looks stronger now than he did (at the time of the Pirog fight).”

Photo by Tom Hogan – Hoganphotos/K2 Promotions

Golovkin’s obviously expecting Jacobs to be at his best, and says he’s prepared accordingly. Trainer Abel Sanchez said Golovkin is in his second week of sparring at their camp in the mountains of Big Bear, California, and is receiving excellent work from Julius and John Jackson, David Benavidez and KeAndrae Leatherwood (who faces former titleholder Andy Lee on the March 18 undercard).

Sanchez was very complimentary of Benavidez, an undefeated super middleweight prospect who has been turning heads over the past year.

“He’s a five-tool star, as they say in baseball,” Sanchez said. “He’s given us great rounds. I think John Jackson has a similar style as Jacobs but David gives us speed, power and the size that Jacobs has. He’s probably around 185 pounds now.”

Sanchez was asked if the record rainfall that Southern California has experienced in recent weeks caused weather conditions severe enough to disrupt Golovkin’s camp.

“Severe for you and I, not for him,” said Sanchez, who has journeyed to Golovkin’s native Kazakhstan a few times. “He comes from a place where Big Bear in the winter months is like beach weather. He likes running in the snow.”

Photo / Mikey Williams

Golovkin beamed an ear-to-ear grin as Sanchez said that. He really was in a good – and hopeful – mood.

“This is the first fight of the year, it’s a new season, I’m excited,” he said. “Last year, with Eubank, Saunders, Canelo, there was so much talk, too much talking, no fighting.

“This year, I believe, will be much better. I’m focused on Jacobs, but maybe after this fight, maybe Golden Boy (Promotions) will be ready, maybe Saunders will be ready for unification.”

Of course, talk of the future meant the sour subject of Canelo Alvarez had to be brought up by some of the boxing writers. They wanted his opinion of Alvarez’s May 6 fight with Julio Cesar Chavez Jr., and its 164.5-pound catchweight. It was the only time Golovkin got a little salty.

“The (catchweight) is good for business, bad for boxing,” he said. “If you’re a champ at middleweight, fight at 160 pounds. If you’re a champ at super middleweight, fight at 168. If you’re a champ at junior middleweight, fight at 154.

“The fight is good for both. Canelo gave up his belt last year. Chavez lost last year (Editor’s note: Junior’s most recent loss – a ninth-round TKO to Andrzej Fonfara – was in 2015). The winner will get back into boxing.”

Golovkin said he views Canelo, “the fresher, faster fighter,” as the favorite in that HBO PPV showdown. When asked if he would get in the ring if a victorious Alvarez called him up on May 6 (as the Mexican star did after knocking out Amir Khan last May), Golovkin snapped:

“For what!?”

Golovkin’s promoter Tom Loeffler took the opportunity to cut in:

“He’ll get into the ring with Canelo in September.”

THE MEDIA DARLING

Golovkin made the media rounds on Tuesday in Los Angeles before returning to Big Bear. Among his many stops before and after the media workout was ESPN Studios, where he was on set for the Spanish-language show “A Los Golpes” and was interviewed (via satellite) on “First Take,” and Universal Studios Hollywood where he appeared on EXTRA with Mario Lopez.

COAST TO COAST WITH WALLY MATHEWS

Veteran sports writer Wallace Matthews writes more about Yankees baseball these days than boxing, but the Golvokin-Jacobs fight is a big enough deal for the New York Times to send the Long Island-based columnist to Southern California to get notes on GGG.

Matthews, the 1994 recipient of the BWAA’s Nat Fleischer award for excellence in boxing journalism, asked the best question during Tuesday’s rountable interview with Golovkin. He asked Golovkin when the last time he was hurt in a boxing match.

“Good question,” Golovkin said with a quizzical grin. “I don’t know. I forgot. Maybe my first day in the gym.”

Email Fischer at dougie@boxingmailbag.com. Follow him on Twitter at @dougiefischer

The post Cheerful Golovkin greets boxing press at Jacobs media workout appeared first on The Ring.

Source:: The Ring – Boxing

Just how good is Deontay Wilder?

By Andreas Hale

Deontay Wilder collected his 37th knockout and improved to 38-0 when he starched Gerald Washington in the fifth round in front of his hometown fans at the Legacy Arena in Birmingham, Alabama, on February 25.

With a record so pristine and a knockout ratio through the roof, you would think that Wilder would be in the conversation as one of the best pound-for-pound fighters in the world.

But he isn’t.

And that’s for good reason. Despite the unbeaten record and the highlight-reel knockouts, Wilder still has some ways to go to smooth out the rough edges he still possesses. And this is one of those cases where you can honestly say that Wilder could use a few more fights before attempting to unify the titles.

Immediately there will be those who are critical of this with the suggestion that 38 fights should be more than enough. While that may be true in some cases, it’s not for Wilder. Although he has 38 fights, he has only boxed a grand total of 112 rounds over the course of nine years. That may sound like a lot, but it really isn’t for a professional. That’s ten 12-round fights, something that most fighters can get through in much less time.

And if you watch Wilder, you can see that he still needs polish. Fortunately, he possesses some two-handed dynamite that rectifies any potential problems that he faces in the ring.

This isn’t to say that Wilder is a boxing novice, because he’s far from that and showcased his ability in his one 12-round fight to date, when he dominated Bermaine Stiverne to claim the WBC heavyweight title. However, if you’ve really paid attention to Wilder in his last few fights, it’s evident that there’s still work to do.

This isn’t a knock on him, rather the lopsided heavyweight division that doesn’t have enough middle-tier fighters for Wilder to compete with that can give him a challenge. It’s either Klitschko or guys like Eric Molina and Malik Scott. If Wilder wants to truly be a threat to the winner of Wladimir Klitschko vs. Anthony Joshua, then he needs to bank more rounds with solid competition. And the reason is that he wasn’t really impressive in his last few fights. He may have won each of his past five fights, but he was touched more than he should have been and had his fair share of struggles before he landed a fight-changing punch.

He’ll have that knockout power in his pocket against all of his opponents. However, he still makes a few mistakes that a better boxer would capitalize on. Fortunately, he hasn’t faced anyone who can do so.

Against Washington, we waited for Wilder to end the fight with one punch. However, as the rounds progressed, we realized that Washington had a potent jab that kept Wilder at bay for the first four rounds. Eventually, Wilder figured it out and lowered the boom in the fifth. For his next fight, it appears he’ll be defending his WBC title in a rematch with Stiverne. While some will say that he’s already defeated Stiverne and doesn’t need to face him again, the reality is that Wilder has an opportunity to demonstrate his improvements against a solid opponent. Would he be able to knock him out in the rematch or turn in a dominant performance? Either way, the fight is intriguing.

As a fighter with incredible knockout power, it’s hard to gauge just how good Deontay Wilder really is. We know he’s pretty damn good, but can he be great? Is Wilder the next great American heavyweight who can unify the titles and dominate a relatively stagnant division that is starving for a guy like him to come along and sweep us off our feet?

The physical attributes are there, as is the personality. Soon enough, he’ll get his crack at whomever is the champion so we can find out who really reigns supreme over the heavyweight division. And if he’s able to snare away all the titles, there will certainly be room for him in the pound-for-pound discussion. But until then, let’s be patient with The Bronze Bomber and his progression. He doesn’t need to be rushed into anything.

The post Just how good is Deontay Wilder? appeared first on The Ring.

Source:: The Ring – Boxing

David Benavidez describes sparring with Gennady Golovkin

By Michael Baca II

SANTA MONICA, Calif. – Upstairs at the Wild Card West Gym on Tuesday afternoon, Gennady “GGG” Golovkin held a print media sit-down before working out for the cameras downstairs.

Golovkin (36-0, 33 knockouts) is looking to defend his IBF, WBA and WBC middleweight titles against Daniel Jacobs (32-1, 29 KOs) on March 18 (HBO Pay-Per-View), and while there was plenty of discussion about the matchup, his return to Madison Square Garden in New York City, and, of course, Canelo Alvarez, there was really good insight when it came to his preparation.

Abel Sanchez, who was sitting next to his protege, was asked by a reporter about the sparring Golovkin had with David Benavidez, a 20-year-old super middleweight prospect.

“Great,” Sanchez said slowly and emphatically with his eyebrows raised, seemingly glad the question was asked. “David is, as they say in baseball, a five-tool star. He’s not quite at the level of Golovkin yet but he will be soon. He’s a very, very good fighter and he’s given us great rounds.”

David Benavidez (left) vs. Sherali Mamadjanov (photo by Esther Lin/Showtime)

Sanchez then admitted it wasn’t the first time Benavidez had sparred with Golovkin.

“We saw him five years ago. He was 15 years old and he wanted to spar with Gennady. We allowed him, and he actually held his own. He didn’t do bad. He’s completely different now, obviously. Not only being a nice young man, he’s a hell of a fighter.”

Since day one of this training camp, Benavidez has been up at “The Summit Gym” in Big Bear, California, with Team GGG – and he was also waiting downstairs to speak with RingTV.com once Golovkin kicked everyone out of the sit-down so he could change into his trunks.

“When I first met him, I didn’t know who he was,” recalled Benavidez about sparring with Golovkin five years ago. “It was my first time being in Big Bear and my dad told me we were gonna spar this dude right here. I remember looking across the ring; he was getting ready, and he just gave me this penetrating look. It was horrifying, to be honest with you.”

Considering Golovkin would’ve been nearing 30, Benavidez wasn’t afraid to admit he was intimidated, albeit understandably, but he also recalled doing well under the circumstances. “I held my own ground. Imagine being 15 and sparring Golovkin. His power was amazing, but like I said, I held my ground and I learned a lot from it.”

Benavidez (17-0, 16 KOs), who turned professional a few months before his 17th birthday, was brought into Golovkin’s camp for sparring along with John and Julian Jackson – sons of Julius “The Hawk” Jackson – and KeAndrae Leatherwood, who will be facing Andy Lee on the Golovkin-Jacobs undercard.

“I was invited again to spar him and I was really able to see where I’m at,” said Benavidez about what it’s been like returning to Big Bear. “It’s an honor sparring a great champion like Golovkin. He puts so much pressure. He’s so strong in there and it helps me think a little bit more, too, and I’m also able to push him a little more, too. It’s very great to be a part of this training camp.”

Gennady Golovkin (left) vs. Gabriel Rosado

Golovkin, from Karaganda, Kazakhstan, is renowned for his offensive pressure, most notably his ability to cut off the ring before suffocating opponents, but Benavidez revealed it’s much more than that.

“There’s other things he does to set that up,” he said. “He just waits for that little exact moment to counter. He has a strong jab. He also likes to jab to the body a lot, and it gets you tired when you get so many jabs to the body. He cuts the ring off good. His overhand rights are good, and he’s been hitting me a little bit with those looping hooks hit at the top of the head. Those are really dangerous shots, too.”

For a visual reference, Marco Antonio Rubio was knocked out by that shot in the second round of their 2014 match. Since then, Golovkin has knocked out five more to extend his KO streak to 23-straight. Benavidez’s scarred lip was another visual reference to the brute power Golovkin imposes.

“Left hook to the body, without a doubt,” answered Benavidez to the question of what’s Golovkin’s best punch. “The way he sets it up is, he throws strong hooks upstairs and then as soon as you bring your guard up thinking another shot is gonna come to the head, he brings it down to the body. To see power-punchers like this, I’m able to learn off him everyday. The thing about him is that he follows all the way through with his punches. Like he’s trying to punch through a brick wall. It’s also his technique – the way he moves his feet. He’s always set perfectly for that big power shot.”

Most recently fighting on January 28, Benavidez knocked out Sherali Mamajonov in the second round on the Frampton-Santa Cruz II undercard, and coming off that impressive win, the experience of sparring Golovkin has been tremendous for his development.

“I’m able to see how these tough fighters put pressure and how I deal with the pressure. He’s helped me to learn a lot for my my career.”

Benavidez says he was never dropped to the canvas in any of these sparring sessions, but as for how he measured up competitively in them, Benavidez replied, “I feel like we’re doing really good. He’s a tough fighter and he has a great chin. That’s all I’m gonna say – we have great sparring sessions.”

HBO will air “24/7 Golovkin/Jacobs” at 10:30 p.m. ET / 7:30 p.m. PT this Saturday night, two weeks to away from the fight.

The post David Benavidez describes sparring with Gennady Golovkin appeared first on The Ring.

Source:: The Ring – Boxing

Video: Official UFC 209 Main Event Preview Released

By Fernando Quiles Jr. The UFC 209 main event preview is here. Ultimate Fighting Championship’s (UFC) official YouTube channel uploaded a video highlighting the welterweight title rematch between champion Tyron Woodley and Stephen Thompson. The clip features both men talking about their first encounter at UFC 205 in New York City inside Madison Square Garden and the majority draw […]

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