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Abel Sanchez on Golovkin-Stevens, Kovalev, Canelo

By Chris Robinson

At first glance, trainer Abel Sanchez comes across as one of the more respectful and modest guys that you will meet in boxing.

And while the veteran trainer is indeed a reserved person at times, Sanchez has a way of being completely unabashed with his thoughts on many facets of the sport.

Throughout any given year, Sanchez’s Summit Gym in Southern California’s Big Bear Mountain plays host to a bevy of world-class talent. At the moment, Sanchez is just a few days away from reconnecting with his star fighter, WBA middleweight champion Gennady Golovkin, who is set to hit camp shortly in advance of his Nov. 2 bout with Curtis Stevens.

While Stevens wasn’t the ideal opponent in Sanchez’s mind, the trash-talking and hard-hitting Brooklyn native will surely make for an interesting lead up heading into the eighth defense of Golovkin’s title.

During a recent swing through his facility, I was able to catch up with Sanchez and discuss a few storylines in the sport.

Read below for Sanchez’s thoughts on Golovkin vs. Stevens, why a fight with lineal middleweight champion Sergio Martinez likely isn’t in the cards, his surprise to not have heard much coming from Saul Alvarez’s nearby training camp in Big Bear, and more.

Anticipating Gennady Golovkin’s return to Big Bear...
“I’m always excited to see a guy that wants to work as hard as he does. It’s fun for the rest of the guys, because he’s fun to be around. And I’m excited about the fight because we’ve finally got, hopefully, Stevens. I don’t know if it’s signed already but hopefully Stevens will sign.”

The confidence of Curtis Stevens…
“Stevens has been talking a lot but he’s not as good as he thinks he is. He will find out on the second of November what a puncher really is. Stevens has gotten some knockouts, only because he’s fought some guys that really have been coming off of knockouts. But I’m glad that he’s talking a lot. I’m glad that he’s hyping the fight up. I hope that he comes to fight the same way. I hope that he comes in the ring and wants to destroy Golovkin, because it’s going to be great for all of us as fight fans to see, finally, a guy that comes to Golovkin and doesn’t cower after he gets hit with the first jab.”

Why Sergio Martinez likely won’t face Golovkin in the future…
“I just think that Sergio is at the point in his career where he’s looking for a cash out. He’s looking for an easier fight that Golovkin. Golovkin will probably stop him somewhere around eight rounds and hurt him badly. He’s looking for, I’d say the winner of Mayweather-Canelo or Cotto-Delvin Rodriguez. That’s the kind of fight that he’s looking for, in my opinion.”

Keeping Golovkin in the public’s eye…
“I think we have to recognize that Golovkin’s only been on the American market since September first of last year. So, we’ve accomplished a lot in this short period of time. I am sure that if he keeps winning and he keeps looking as he has been looking, destructive, those fights are going to come. We just have to stay busy and stay in the public’s eye and make sure that he does what he’s been doing to everybody that they put in front of him.”

Not receiving any greeting from Saul Alvarez’s nearby camp during their stint in Big Bear as they trained for their Sept. 14 clash with Floyd Mayweather…
“Actually, they [were] very secretive. Although he trained here at my gym for three or four fights, they’ve been here a month and a half and I have not heard from the trainer of the manager or nobody. Just to say hi or anything. I think they understand this is a very important fight. And maybe that’s the way they want to handle it.”

The rumors that Alvarez was destroying sparring partners in camp…
“Unfortunately for Canelo, he’s been in the dark back there. He could be sparring with featherweights. Who knows? And if he’s sending people home, maybe that’s not a good sign. Maybe he needs to be sparring with hard people.”

Why Mayweather is too much for Canelo…
“I think Floyd, right now, is too much for anybody at 147 or anybody that’s fighting at 154 right now. I think he’s just too much for them. He’s just too skilled, too smart, takes care of himself. He’s in his moment. He’s going to have a couple more years where he’s in his moment and there’s going to be nobody that can touch him.”

Entertaining a Golovkin-Alvarez clash in the future…
“That’s a possibility, but this war between the networks is going to keep a lot of great fights from happening. And I think that’s a great fight down the road.”

Reflecting on Golovkin’s more telling sparring duels…
“I think that sparring with Angulo was probably the most memorable, because Angulo came here trying to prove a point and he couldn’t. The other guys, once Gennady got a reputation of hurting people and taking it easy in the gym, he started taking it easy on all the guys that he sparred with. I think Ryan Coyne was probably the only guy that we had up here who has been able to hang in there with Gennady, only because Ryan was good boxer and was moving a lot and holding Gennady. He was probably the best sparring, other than Angulo, who we’ve had up here.”

Why the work with Angulo is just what Golovkin needs…
“They were hard. Angulo wasn’t holding back and Gennady was trying to work with him. But that’s the kind of sparring that I want for Gennady. I want guys to come at him and make him work as hard as he can. Because that’s what’s going to make him better. And Angulo had no fear. Angulo was in there trying to do his thing.”

Having recently-crowned WBO light heavyweight champion Sergey Kovalev in camp with Golovkin…
“Kovalev, who just won the light heavyweight title. He was one of the sparring partners we had. He was with me for about a year and a half. But, really, Kovalev was afraid of Golovkin when he was in the ring. I couldn’t spar him too much, because he just showed too much respect for Gennady. He just fell apart with Golovkin. He just wouldn’t do the things that I needed done for Golovkin to gain something for it. Either too much respect or too much fear.”

What sets Golovkin apart…
“He’s very cerebral, he’s very smart. You know, I think that the great fighters of today, I’m not going to say in the past; but the great fighters of today are very cerebral. Andre Ward is a super smart guy in the ring. Floyd Mayweather is a super smart guy in the ring. Gennady Golovkin, what sets him apart from the rest of the sparring partners and puts him on a level with Andre and with Floyd is that he’s very cerebral. Everything he does is every calculated and he’s planning moves ahead of you that have no clue he is. He’s going to set you up.”

The kind of sparring he’s looking for at the Summit Gym…
“I don’t have wars in this gym. This is a school. We work to help each other. We don’t work to hurt each other. The guys who come up to spar, what’s probably the hardest sparring is because they have a chip on their shoulder and they’re trying to show off. But I think Mikey Garcia had some memorable sparring sessions with a lot of different guys. My guys and some of the guys they brought up. But again, it’s not like they are trying to go all out or trying to hurt each other. They’re working on things they need to prepare for in a fight.”

*** Please visit Chris Robinson's Hustle Boss Boxing Page for all-access coverage from the boxing world

Saul Alvarez media workout: Workout highlights as Alvarez pounds heavy bag, shadowboxes /Chepo Reynoso says Team Canelo has a philosophy on how to beat Floyd / Shane Mosley breaks down Danny Garcia vs. Lucas Matthysse

User Comments and Feedback (Register For Free To Comment) Comment by T18Z on 09-03-2013

[QUOTE=Maddog1;13708306]Thanks Plutonium for knowing the truth, too! A lot of people are full of it but I stated the facts. The fact remains, GGG knocked Kovalev down in sparring TWICE. Once, Kovalev couldn't get up for 10 minutes. Don't believe…

Comment by Maddog1 on 09-03-2013

Thanks Plutonium for knowing the truth, too! A lot of people are full of it but I stated the facts. The fact remains, GGG knocked Kovalev down in sparring TWICE. Once, Kovalev couldn't get up for 10 minutes. Don't believe…

Comment by King_ on 09-03-2013

[QUOTE=The Weebler I;13706830]You left out the next part? or were you just focusing on the boxing stuff? This is translated so it's not 100% reliable.[/QUOTE] Wait, Weebler, I'm not sure what's going on in that interview. Is Kovalev saying that…

Comment by Hougigo on 09-03-2013

[QUOTE=Koba-Grozny;13707151]Yeah, started a thread on ESB 'bout that. Young was actually advancing on Kovalev, hard to see how he get's hit on the back of the head. It's a shame there's no other footage, but watch Young closely after he…

Comment by Koba-Grozny on 09-03-2013

[QUOTE=The Weebler I;13706891]I dunno, the ref walked past the camera at the crucial moment. It looked to me like Kovalev hit him on the side of the head and hurt him. Grover used it as an excuse to get out…

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