Last summer, Abel Sanchez joined me for a round of golf in Southern California. Sanchez had just seen a home listed by my real estate team, and he made a stunning statement when I asked him which boxer he had in his gym, The Summit in Big Bear Lake, Calif.

“No one. I sold my gym to Jaime Munguia,” Sanchez said. “I’m retired.”


How could the contractor who constructed world champions Terry Norris and Gennadiy Golovkin leave a sport that so desperately requires his exquisite attention to detail?

“I’m done,” Sanchez said.

Over the course of 18 holes, I picked away at his dug-in statement.

Understandably, Sanchez was embittered by the way Golovkin treated him following their narrow 2018 rematch defeat to Saul “Canelo” Alvarez by scores of 114-114, 115-113, 115-113.

Golovkin sought to slash Sanchez’s pay following the years of round-the-clock training, which went beyond the intricacies of strength building and roadwork to include mandatory Julio Cesar Chavez Sr. fight-video watching – lessons that helped create the greatest middleweight of our time.

In parting, Golovkin was a shell of his old self and Sanchez was soured by the trust issues.

“There’s still guys out there who need you,” I told Sanchez on the golf course.

“Well,” he admitted, “there’s this one guy.”

As we played, that one guy actually rang Sanchez’s cell phone.

Armenian Arsen Goulamirian (27-0, 19 KOs) had pleaded with Sanchez to train him, to provide him the structure of consistent two-hour-long daily training sessions to help him overcome the sluggish effects of age and the lacking methods he had leaned on to nevertheless become the WBA cruiserweight champion in 2018.

Performing in anonymity before a massive U.S. boxing audience, Goulamirian staged two defenses within a six-week stretch in late 2019 and then was out of the ring for nearly three years.

“Going through promotional issues, this guy kept bugging me and bugging me,” Sanchez said of the well-sculpted Goulamirian. “The thing he said that really connected with me was that he didn’t need me all day long. Look at him. He knows how to keep himself in shape.

“He knows how to do the food, the running … he was a world champion without me. He said he just needed me for about 2 ½ hours a day to train him in boxing. So now I can work like all those crappy trainers out there …”

The byproducts of the tinkering go on display when Goulamirian, 35, meets former super middleweight world champion Gilberto “Zurdo” Ramirez (45-1, 30 KOs) on March 30 at YouTube Theater (formerly The Forum) in Inglewood, Calif., on DAZN.

“You’ll see a breakout performance,” Sanchez told Boxing Scene. “I see it as a great opportunity.

“It will be a beatdown, a methodical beatdown similar to what you’ve seen when Canelo [Alvarez] fights the smaller guys. Against naturally smaller guys, the bigger man’s strength, power and weight makes quite a difference as the fight goes on.”

Sanchez says Goulamirian trains by sparring heavyweights. He’s used to extended sessions against bigger men, so dealing with recent light heavyweight Ramirez will be a refresher ripe for a knockout, according to Sanchez.

What’s most refreshing for Sanchez is that Golovkin’s sour personality turn is in his past, replaced by a “very honorable and obedient” personality who also happens to be a strong world champion.

“It’s not a word game with him,” Sanchez said. “He’s a 35-year-old grown man who realizes this is his opportunity to continually display the moments when he has looked his best.”

Sanchez can’t wait to feel that way, too, raising his arms in victory in the corner, embracing a humble champion working to capture the attention of an American audience.

Because, as we know, retirements in boxing never last.