EXCITING Kazakh Gennady Golovkin returns to the ring on June 8, nine months after his controversial loss to Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez, when he takes on unknown Canadian Steve Rolls at Madison Square Garden, New York.
Golovkin, a former middleweight champion who racked up 20 consecutive defences, meets Rolls at a catchweight of 164lbs in a fight that kicks off a six-fight, three-year partnership between GGG Promotions and DAZN.
Like Canelo’s debut on DAZN, a routine stoppage of Rocky Fielding at super-middleweight, Golovkin has chosen the softly-softly approach for fight number one.
Rolls, a 35-year-old from Toronto, is every bit as low-key and unassuming as his name suggests. His record, 19-0 (10), indicates a certain amount of proficiency but the names comprising that record are mostly unknown. His last victory, a 10-round decision win over KeAndrae Leatherwood, came against a man already outpointed by Andy Lee and stopped in 10 rounds by Caleb Truax. Worryingly, it might be Rolls’ best win to date.
On the plus side, Rolls is rated ninth by the IBF and has stopped four of his last seven opponents inside the distance. Seemingly, he fits the bill for DAZN and Golovkin.
“I am very excited to be returning to the ring and bringing the ‘Big Drama Show’ back to Madison Square Garden. The Garden’s fans are fantastic,” said GGG. “I love boxing and I promise to bring the best of me to everyone who will be watching me in an all-action fight with Steve Rolls. I am very happy that GGG Promotions has a new home at DAZN.”
As for Rolls, he is, unsurprisingly, thankful for the opportunity. He is thankful for the opportunity to headline Madison Square Garden, a dream for any professional fighter, and thankful, too, for the chance to test his mettle against one of the best pound-for-pound fighters on the planet.
“I want to sincerely thank DAZN and GGG himself for giving me the opportunity to challenge one of the best fighters in the world,” said Rolls. “But let me be clear: I’ve won national championships and represented my country, and Golovkin is just a man. I’m coming to win this fight and put my name among the best middleweights in the world.”
In a year of peculiar, unnecessary mismatches, Golovkin vs. Rolls begs for attention.
It didn’t take long for Manuel Charr, and every other heavyweight eager for a life-changing payday, to raise their hand upon hearing Jarrell Miller is likely out of his June 1 world heavyweight title fight against Anthony Joshua.
Miller’s “adverse finding” following a VADA performance-enhancing drug test has opened the floodgates and given hope to a gaggle of heavyweight contenders, one of whom, WBA ‘regular’ champion Charr, feels he brings more to the table than the rest.
“Internal negotiations are taking place regarding the fight in June Mahmoud Charr against Anthony Joshua,” Charr, 31-4 (17), wrote on Instagram.
“I am very happy about this task and the challenge. I’m ready to go to fight against Joshua and bring home the victory.
“As the No.1 WBA and reigning world champion, I’m the most worthy opponent for Anthony Joshua. I am the suitable and official challenger. For Joshua’s honour, it’s important to fight against the No.1 WBA rankings in the world.”
Not strictly true, but why let the truth get in the way of a desperate call-out?