By Ryan Maquiñana
So far, Gennady Golovkin has steamrolled any opposition to his middleweight title belt, and his constant activity in 2013 is a welcome anomaly in this era of pro boxing where the best fighters appear once or twice a year if the fans are lucky.
On June 29th, the Kazakhstan knockout king will take on his toughest challenger yet in Matthew Macklin (29-4, 20 KOs) at the Foxwoods Casino in Mashantucket, Conn. HBO will televise the bout.
Despite sporting an official 1-2 record in his last three outings, many if not most observers had Macklin beating Felix Sturm, he was stopped by Sergio Martinez but led on the cards at the time, and surprisingly blasted Joachim Alcine in one.
In that same period, Golovkin knocked out all six of his foes, running his streak to 13. However, his quality of opposition does not stack up to Macklin’s, which makes this fight anything but an easy win for the Kazakh.
Earlier tonight, BoxingScene.com interviewed Macklin and his promoter Lou DiBella for their thoughts on the matchup. Here’s a brief transcript of our conversation with Golovkin (26-0, 23 KOs) and Tom Loeffler of K2 Promotions.
BoxingScene.com: It’s only been two weeks since you won in Monaco, and you’re already signed up for your next fight, Gennady. How do you feel about coming back so quickly?
Gennady Golovkin: My last fight in Monte Carlo was two weeks ago, and I don’t have a mark on my face. I feel great. I’m happy because this next fight, the matchup, is great.
BoxingScene.com: You’re going up against Matthew Macklin, who many people had beating Felix Sturm and was ahead on the scorecards against Sergio Martinez. Why take on such a challenge at this stage of your career?
Gennady Golovkin: I remember when he fought Sergio Martinez one year ago. It was a great fight. He has a strong style. Good tactics, good power, good speed. It’s all there. I know this is not an easy fight for me, but it’s good for the fans and the sport.
BoxingScene.com: You’re going back to Big Bear for camp to work with Abel Sanchez again. What is one major thing or major improvement you’ve learned training under him?
Gennady Golovkin: Not just one thing. I’ve really learned a lot from Abel. Speed, power, tactics. It’s not just one thing.
BoxingScene.com: You’ve built a reputation for having heavy hands and knocking out everyone in your path. Do you feel there’s any mounting pressure to live up to this reputation?
Gennady Golovkin: No. I just fight regularly. I just want to win.
BoxingScene.com: Tom, June marks Gennady’s third fight this year alone. What can you say about the quick turnaround in finding him another bout?
Tom Loeffler: For a world champion and having the highest knockout percentage, and wanting to stay as active as he is, we’re really excited about him. He had that fight in Monaco, which he had a great knockout. And then, at the Garden earlier in January. Now, with this fight in June on HBO against Matthew Macklin, who’s one of the top middleweights around. HBO had an open slot and we took it. We’re just excited about his activity.
BoxingScene.com: Why do you think Gennady’s been able to build a solid following in America even though he doesn’t speak English fluently? He has the knockout power, but is it just that, or is there anything else that you think might be a factor?
Tom Loeffler: I think people really appreciate his style in the ring. He likes knockouts, and he has a lot of power. At the same time, I think the fans appreciate him outside the ring and his character, and that’s a rare combination these days. That’s why I think he’s really caught on so quickly.
BoxingScene.com: Tell us about the matchup with Macklin, and why you took it in the first place.
Tom Loeffler: We told HBO from the beginning from the first meeting we had last year that he’d fight anybody from 154 to 168 [pounds]. Outside of all the champions, I would say he’s the best middleweight out there. So it’s a big test for Gennady, definitely the toughest fight he’s had in his career. But in order to say that you’re the best, those are the types of fights you need to have. Without HBO’s support, fights like this wouldn’t happen, and we really appreciate that.
Ryan Maquiñana was the boxing producer for NBCOlympics.com during London 2012 and writes a weekly column for CSNBayArea.com. He is a full member of the Boxing Writers Association of America and the Ratings Panel for Ring Magazine. E-mail him at [email protected] , check out his blog at Norcalboxing.net, or follow him on Twitter: @RMaq28.