By Keith Idec
Edmond Tarverdyan got informative, up-close looks at Gennady Golovkin a few years ago.
Vanes Martirosyan’s trainer was invited then – along with another fighter he trained, former UFC superstar Ronda Rousey – to work out at Abel Sanchez’s gym in Big Bear Lake, California. Tarverdyan learned plenty during all those trips to Big Bear, including that the hard-hitting Golovkin’s game has holes that can be exploited.
Despite the lopsided odds on the Golovkin-Martirosyan middleweight match scheduled for Saturday night, Tarverdyan is confident Martirosyan will be able to accomplish things in the ring against Golovkin that no previous opponent could do.
“I got a good look at him sparring, so I understand him very well,” Tarverdyan said during a conference call this week. “I know what it takes to beat him. But it’s not an easy puzzle to solve. He’s a great fighter and Vanes is ready. Vanes’ movement, speed – he’s quicker than Gennady. You know, he’s younger, hungrier and that night he’s gonna show his skills. You know, Vanes moves very well and people that count him out shouldn’t be doing that.”
Tarverdyan pointed to the success Amir Khan, who moved up in weight, had during his middleweight title fight against Canelo Alvarez as proof that a faster, skilled boxer can compete against a heavy-handed favorite who’s boxing in his natural weight class. Khan was ahead on one scorecard (48-47, 46-49, 47-48) when Alvarez landed a devastating right hand and viciously knocked him unconscious in the sixth round of their May 2016 bout in Las Vegas.
Tarverdyan feels Martirosyan (36-3-1, 21 KOs) is a skillful fighter that has always shown a better chin than Khan, who began his career as a lightweight and battled Alvarez at a catch weight of 155 pounds. Martirosyan, meanwhile, has competed just one weight class below Golovkin throughout his career and stands about an inch taller than Golovkin (37-0-1, 33 KOs).
“If you know boxing, you have Amir Khan, that doesn’t have a chin, fights somebody like Canelo and gives Canelo a hard time until he gets caught,” Tarverdyan said. “And I believe one of the scorecards, Amir was ahead on that. And then Canelo comes and gives Gennady a good fight. I believe he lost. Gennady did beat him, but with his jab only. His jab was effective – that’s why you can give Gennady that fight with Canelo.
“But then, like I said, you have Amir against Canelo and Amir is ahead on one of the scorecards. And Amir started at lightweight, 135. Vanes is a big 154-pounder and Gennady is a small 160-pounder. Everybody saw that he made weight [for the WBC on Saturday], at 162, and Vanes was bigger than him. So, you know, I’m very confident in Vanes and we’re gonna have a great night.”
The 32-year-old Martirosyan, of Glendale, California, will attempt to pull off a huge upset when he challenges Golovkin for the Kazakhstan native’s WBA, WBC and IBO middleweight titles at StubHub Center in Carson, California (HBO; 11 p.m. ET). Golovkin is listed by most Internet sports books as a 30-1 favorite over Martirosyan, who took this tough fight on just 2½ weeks’ notice.
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.