MOST expected Golovkin to fight Chris Eubank Jnr, and not Brook. Was this a surprise to you?
Yes and no. The fight with Eubank became a doubt because of some demands that were made by Team Eubank, in particular Chris Eubank Snr, and it got to the point where everyone involved could not wait around for a fight to be made when there were so many obstacles still to overcome. Sky Box Office in the UK and HBO in the United States were heavily committed to the date and having Golovkin on, so we couldn’t waste no more time. Kell Brook stepped up to the challenge immediately and he’s mentioned himself as a potential Golovkin opponent before, so he deserves respect for that.
Who do you see as the better opponent? Eubank, a big middleweight who has flirted with world class once or twice, or Brook, a welterweight who has been world class for a long time?
Brook is the bigger challenge for me, without doubt. He has an unbeaten record and he’ll have that invincibility feeling that every single undefeated fighter at his level has. Eubank has lost before and he’s shown people that there are ways to beat him, and that cannot be said about Brook at this stage. Billy Joe Saunders outboxed Eubank quite easily for large parts of their fight, so already there’s one way straight away how you can recognise a strategy to beat Eubank. Brook has beaten world-class names, and all he knows is how to win.
Carson Jones exceeded expectations back in 2013 when he dominated the second half of the fight against Brook but fell short on the scorecards. You worked Jones’ corner that night. What did you take from it?
This is a different fight against a different fighter in a different time, so it’d be totally unfair of me to base my assessment of Brook on that fight, but of course there were things that I’ve seen. Carson was really unlucky that night as he performed brilliantly in the crucial rounds and ended up losing by one or two points, but I can’t just use that version of Brook when preparing Golovkin for this fight. I’m going to call it an off night for Brook where nothing went right and maybe he was struggling with the weight too. He spent a brief period in my gym when he was over here for one of his fights a couple of years ago, I think it was Shawn Porter, and he was a polite young man with a good team and he’s got our full respect. We’re preparing for the best ever version of Kell Brook.
Is there any part of you that fails to see any advantage of what Golovkin gets from fighting someone two weights below him?
It’s a fair question but we’re fighting a world-class welterweight who has never ever lost, and boxing has taught us before that welterweights can have success at middleweight if you look at names like Sugar Ray Leonard and Felix Trinidad. The standards that Golovkin has set for himself are so high and we just don’t want the victory, we want to look excellent doing it.
Where would you place Brook in terms of quality on Golovkin’s record?
Tough question. He’s certainly the most complete fighter that Golovkin has fought because he can pretty much do everything. We’ve faced guys who punch harder, fighters like David Lemieux and Curtis Stevens, and there are strong guys like Martin Murray. Every opponent brings something different, but Kell brings quite a lot in terms of variety.
Is there any frustration from your part that fights with other leading middleweights can’t be made, and that welterweights have to be brought in at late notice?
Although this fight only got made because of Eubank and his dad making things hard, Brook is someone we’ve had to keep an eye on as he came out and previously declared his interest in fighting Golovkin. We can’t wait around and base our moves on what other fighters are doing because that gets us nowhere. One champion wants a couple of warm-up fights before facing him, another wants a large amount of money, and we’ve heard next September for a possible fight with Canelo Alvarez, so we have to move on. Golovkin wants to be a world champion that gives to the world, and for now it is Brook in London.