By Keith Idec
Abel Sanchez isn’t only completely confident Gennady Golovkin will beat Vanes Martirosyan.
Golovkin’s veteran trainer also is certain Martirosyan will leave the ring Saturday night like many of Golovkin’s previous opponents – not quite the same as when he stepped into it. Sanchez didn’t go quite as far as to predict Golovkin will become the first fighter to knock out Martirosyan, but he expects their scheduled 12-round middleweight title fight to amount to a rough night for the huge underdog in Carson, California.
“The strange part about Gennady is that everybody that fights Gennady has to adapt to what Gennady does,” Sanchez said during a conference call this week. “So no matter what Vanes has done in the past to other fighters, he won’t be able to do that against Gennady. He's gonna have to adapt to what Gennady brings to the ring.
“He will never be the same after this fight, just like none of the other fighters that Gennady has ever fought are the same after [they] fight. [Daniel] Jacobs looked terrible in his last fight [against Maciej Sulecki]. Why? I think it’s he went 12 rounds with Golovkin.”
Martirosyan, 32, accepted this daunting assignment on just 2½ weeks’ notice, about a week after a suspended Canelo Alvarez officially withdrew from his high-profile, pay-per-view rematch against Golovkin. The 2004 U.S. Olympian hasn’t fought in nearly two years and has been almost exclusively a junior middleweight throughout his 13-year pro career.
Sanchez still expects Martirosyan (36-3-1, 21 KOs) to present challenges for the shorter, slower Golovkin (37-0-1, 33 KOs) before Golovkin gets to him.
“Obviously, we know that he’s got a good right hand,” Sanchez said. “Obviously, we know that he’s taller than Gennady. Obviously, we know that he’s gonna be probably a little bit faster in the beginning because he is a junior middleweight, coming up. But he has decent punching power. But whatever he tries to do, as far as the fight starts to formulate, something like the thought of what he’s gonna bring to the table, it’s gonna change as soon as he gets hit with the first shot. Just like it changed with Canelo. Just like it changed with previous opponents that Gennady’s faced.
“So we’re looking for the elite fighter that Vanes is, but we’re gonna take it to him and if he comes forward the fans are gonna be treated to a great fight. It’s not a matter of giving away the game plan because it’s a matter of what Vanes is willing to expose and to put himself through in a fight.”
The Golovkin-Martirosyan match will headline HBO’s “World Championship Boxing” doubleheader Saturday night from StubHub Center (11 p.m. ET).
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.