By Keith Idec
NEW YORK – Gennadiy Golovkin implemented some of what Johnathon Banks trained him to on June 8th.
Golovkin’s new trainer is confident, though, that Golovkin will look better when he encounters Canelo Alvarez a third time because they’ll have had much more time to work together for that fight. Banks replaced Abel Sanchez about seven weeks before Golovkin knocked out Steve Rolls in the fourth round at Madison Square Garden.
The Detroit-based trainer tempered his expectations for his first fight in Golovkin’s corner because they didn’t have much time in camp together. Sanchez trained Golovkin for nine years, until Golovkin announced their surprising split April 24 because the former middleweight champ and Sanchez couldn’t agree on his compensation once Golovkin signed a three-year, six-fight deal with DAZN that reportedly is worth more than $100 million.
“I think, first of all, if this was Canelo in the ring tonight, we definitely would’ve had a longer camp,” Banks said during the post-fight press conference. “So, with a longer training camp, the outlook and the progress would look even different than it did tonight. I think tonight was a good start, with a little base. So, you can kind of see the foundation that we’re trying to lay. In my opinion, in order to continue building back up a strong, successful house, you must start with the foundation. And that’s the goal, is get the strength in his foundation. But like I said, if Canelo’s in there tonight, then Triple-G wouldn’t have been in there tonight because it wasn’t enough time to really dictate the pace of where we wanna be.”
Golovkin went to Rolls’ body consistently, but his defense wasn’t tight and he didn’t use his jab as effectively as he usually does. Banks cut his 37-year-old fighter some slack, particularly since he scored a spectacular knockout of Toronto’s Rolls (19-1, 10 KOs).
“Everything went great in training camp, but I’m always looking for certain things in the fight,” Banks said. “I didn’t expect Triple-G or any fighter, when we had such a short camp, to repeat everything he did in the gym and stuff like that. Because although you try to get guys closest to the styles of the opponent, a lot of times you’re a little bit off. Steve Rolls, like I said, while he was in there, he started catching Triple-G with some shots that was very uncomfortable for me because I wanted him to start off with some type of rhythm, using his jab.
“So other than that, I think as he got warmed up, we was able to see the little bit of rhythm that he had. He started throwing shots, he started shooting his jab, he started catching him with shots. And that was the goal, just to start touching him. He didn’t have to hit a home run the first time out. Just start touching him, touching him, and slowly break him down. That’s the goal. I believe that’s what he was looking to accomplish.”
Tom Loeffler, Golovkin’s promotional representative, was pleased with how Golovkin looked in his first fight with Banks.
“Everyone knows how successful Gennadiy was with Abel,” Loeffler said. “But again, we’re not standing here, saying Gennadiy had to change all kinds of things. You know, that’s why Abel’s not working with him. Abel and Gennadiy had one of the most dominant runs of recent times. For Johnathon to come in, on short notice, and to be as successful as he was tonight, that’s a huge statement for their chemistry, what they were able to do.”
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.