By Keith Idec
LAS VEGAS – Abel Sanchez didn’t watch Gennadiy Golovkin’s first fight without him in nine years.
While Golovkin was busy knocking out Steve Rolls on Saturday night at Madison Square Garden, Sanchez was out to dinner with his wife. The 37-year-old Golovkin’s former trainer wasn’t the least bit surprised to hear, however, that Golovkin didn’t look much different than usual during his first fight with his new trainer, Johnathon Banks, in his corner.
“We had a nine-year run,” Sanchez told BoxingScene.com on Thursday. “Twenty-three knockouts in a row, 20 defenses of his middleweight title, tied the great Bernard Hopkins, holds the middleweight KO record of all time. What’s he gonna do different? He’s gonna do the same thing that he’s done in the past. That’s Gennadiy Golovkin. That’s the guy that we developed in The Summit gym.”
Sanchez didn’t mean any of that as a criticism of Banks, a former cruiserweight contender who was groomed to train boxers by the late Emanuel Steward. The veteran trainer knows full well that Banks will need much more time than the roughly seven weeks he spent working with Golovkin to implement the changes he wants to see in the former middleweight champion.
“I think you need time,” Sanchez explained. “If a coach is gonna change a fighter, it can’t be within one or two or three fights. It’s gotta be within a couple or three years. All coaches have a style. If you see a fighter, you kind of know who the coach is. You kind of know a Virgil Hunter fighter. You kind of know a Barry Hunter fighter, an Emanuel Steward fighter. I think that my fighters have always been the kind of fighters who go forward and throw punches, and try to please the crowds.
“So, in order to change somebody, I’ve said in the past, if I’m gonna take a fighter on, you won’t really see a great, great difference [early on] – just like with Gennadiy, the first three, four fights were not the greatest fights. But once we got rolling, then it’s OK. So, it’s not the coach’s fault that he didn’t do some of the things that he was supposed to do. He just reverts back to what he knows.”
Banks acknowledged following Golovkin’s fourth-round knockout victory over Rolls that he needs more time with Golovkin to tinker with his style. Golovkin hired Banks late in April, in the immediate aftermath of his surprising split with Sanchez, who characterized Golovkin as greedy and ungrateful because they couldn’t agree on Sanchez’s compensation once Golovkin signed a three-year, six-fight deal with DAZN that’s reportedly worth more than $100 million.
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.