THERE won’t be many coaches turning down the opportunity to train Gennady Golovkin in 2019.
Blessed with every physical attribute an elite fighter needs, Golovkin, 37, also has experience in abundance, appears a good listener and now, thanks to a split from long-time coach Abel Sanchez, is seemingly single and ready to mingle.
He fights on June 8 against American Steve Rolls and is expected to announce the identity of his new coach in the coming days. There are a few names being touted as a possibility, but two of the big ones, Robert Garcia and Freddie Roach, are both California-based and would seem to fit the bill for Golovkin. (The Kazakh, after all, has spent years training in Big Bear, California, and has become synonymous with the area.)
Garcia, for his part, is receptive to the idea of linking up with one of the premier boxing talents on the planet.
“It’s up to GGG,” he told FightHub. “If GGG is thinking, ‘I’m already good enough anyway. I already how to train. I already know how to run. I can do it myself. So, someone guiding me, doing mitts, is all I need.’ If that’s all he needs, he’ll be fine. But he could do better. He also could get a little bit better with his footwork maybe, using his jab a little bit more, and speed a little bit more. Maybe there’s a trainer who can teach him a little bit more. But maybe GGG doesn’t want that anymore. Maybe he just wants to cash out with all the money, and pay his loved-ones, the people he really cares for.”
Golovkin’s split from Sanchez sounds acrimonious, owing to money disputes rather than any organic parting of ways. Indeed, Sanchez issued a statement earlier this week criticising his former fighter as “greedy” and “ungrateful” and said they were unable to come to an agreement on his worth, as head coach, following Golovkin’s money-spinning deal with DAZN. Sad though it is, at least they severed ties before it got messy.
Of course, should Golovkin, 38-1-1 (34), go with Garcia, he will realise quickly that Oxnard, Garcia’s home, isn’t quite Big Bear, nor is it Los Angeles, the area in which Roach’s Wild Card gym is based. That said, Golovkin, born in Karaganda, Kazakhstan, is no stranger to hardship or the tougher side of town and will presumably feel at home if that’s the path he chooses to take.
“If he really thinks he can’t learn anymore, he’s wrong,” Garcia said. “He can still learn more. He can improve and do a little bit better maybe. Maybe he doesn’t care if he beats Canelo (Alvarez). Maybe he only cares that he makes $30 million for the third fight. It depends on what he wants. If he cares about beating him, then he should look for the right trainer. I would love to [train GGG], but I’m saying there’s great trainers out there.
“He’s a great person. He’s shown me nothing but respect. I’ve never said anything negative about him. I did think that Canelo beat him in the second fight. In the first fight, I thought a draw was fine. But when I saw it on TV, I told everybody I thought GGG won the fight.
“Maybe I could train him to beat Canelo in the third fight? Who knows? It depends on his mentality. If he really wants to improve and beat Canelo in the third fight, then he needs someone to teach him. If he wants to cash out, he’s already good enough. He’s already good enough to beat everybody anyway.”
The queue to train Gennady Golovkin will be a long one. But Robert Garcia, you sense, is right near the front.
It’s not the fight he expected to happen next, but Dillian Whyte has a fight, a pretty good one, and can make quite a statement if he becomes the first man to beat Colombian Oscar Rivas on July 20 in London.
Rivas, undefeated in 26 pro bouts, was last seen knocking out American Bryant Jennings in January and, though still something of an unknown, is clearly one of the more promising up-and-coming fighters in the heavyweight division. Heavy-handed, and no slouch as an amateur (he boasts wins over Andy Ruiz Jnr and Kubrat Pulev in the unpaid ranks), Rivas is that rare thing at heavyweight: a contender with ambition.
“He’ll be a tough man,” Whyte told Sky Sports. “Coming from Colombia, it’s not an easy place. I’m sure he’s been through his ups and downs. I expect him to be confident and be quite confrontational and up for it.
“You’re coming to the lion’s den, you’re coming to my hunting ground, and once you step into my hunting ground you become prey.
“He’s going to be trying to knock me out and I’m definitely going to try to knock him out. Everyone I have fought has either been knocked down, or knocked out, or been hurt badly at some stage, so I have to once again go to the well and prove myself again. But that’s good. Nothing great comes easy.”
Of Rivas’ 26 pro wins, 18 have come inside the distance, shining a light on his punch power and finishing ability. A well as claiming the scalp of Jennings, Rivas was the first man to beat Brazilian Fabio Maldonado, someone better known for his exploits in MMA than boxing, admittedly, and outscored Herve Hubeaux, a former European title challenger from Belgium.
It’s the Jennings win, however, that broke Rivas break into upper echelons of the heavyweight division and saw him become a viable heavyweight title contender.
“It was a good win, a very good win,” said Whyte. “I actually watched the fight. At that time, he wasn’t even considered as an opponent.
“Bryant Jennings is a very fit guy, in shape, and he outworked him and overpowered him down the stretch. He’s hungry and he put a lot of graft in, he fought well, and he was very aggressive in the fight.
“It is a very high-risk fight. Oscar Rivas is the most dangerous out of the lot of them.
“I’ll fight anyone. At the end of the day, I’m not scared to fight no-one. I keep saying it time and time again.
“I just want to fight and get what I believe I deserve, and what I’ve worked for, and that has to be a potential world title and win one.”
Ironically, after chasing Deontay Wilder and Anthony Joshua, but failing to catch either of them, Dillian Whyte, 25-1 (18), ends up boasting the best fight of the three. Wilder’s scrap with Dominic Breazeale on May 18 does little to excite, while Joshua, blindsided by the cheating ways of Jarrell Miller, is now left to pick from the most uninspiring of opponent shortlists if he’s to box at Madison Square Garden, New York on June 1, as planned. Whyte, at the very least, gets an interesting one on July 20.
Finally, some tragic news: Oliver Harrison, one of Manchester’s most respected and beloved trainers, and one of British boxing’s good guys, passed away this morning following a battle with cancer.
The peaceful, amiable coach guided the likes of Jamie Moore, Martin Murray and Rocky Fielding, as well as many others, to success and was considered an inspirational figure in his local community. He was loved by many. Loved by the boxers he trained, whose lives he enhanced, but loved also by the many men and women with whom he came into contact on the British boxing circuit.
Never one for cameras or attention, Harrison was content to do his work in the shadows, behind closed doors, but managed to have a profound impact on anyone lucky enough to cross paths with him.
He will be sorely missed and his family have our deepest sympathies at this difficult time.
Can’t believe am writing this am absolutely devastated you’ve left us Ol 💔 walked in to your gym 2010 had 1 session with you we clicked and I didn’t look back 9 years later. We started we nothing and you made me… https://t.co/2O3YINSAVG
— Rocky Fielding (@Rocky87Fielding) April 26, 2019
Rest In Peace Oliver Harrison. A man I’ve know since way back in the amateurs. Great trainer and great person. Thoughts as with all his family and friends 🙏🏼
— anthony crolla (@ant_crolla) April 26, 2019
Very sad to hear of the death of Oliver Harrison. A top trainer & a real gentleman. Boxing has lost a great servant. Thoughts & prayers are with his family & @JamieMoore777 @MartinMurrayBox & all the lads that trained with him who were very close to him. RIP Oliver xx
— matthew macklin (@mattmacklin) April 26, 2019
RIP Oliver Harrison, always a gentleman when I’ve spoke to him, thoughts are with all his family, friends and boxers he coached. 🙏🏼 x
— Liam Smith (@LiamBeefySmith) April 26, 2019
RIP Oliver Harrison, a lovely fella and a great boxing man. Deepest sympathy to his family.
— Barry McGuigan (@ClonesCyclone) April 26, 2019
Gutted to hear the news of Oliver Harrison’s passing! A nice man who done a lot for his community! Thoughts are with his family and friends.. 😔💙😔
— Anthony Bellew (@TonyBellew) April 26, 2019
I am very saddened to hear that Oliver Harrison has passed away. He was one of the decent guys in boxing as well as being a top trainer.
Our sincere condolences go to his family and the thoughts of everyone at Queensberry are with them in these sad times. – FW
— Frank Warren (@frankwarren_tv) April 26, 2019
Saddened to hear of the passing of Oliver Harrison. A great trainer with a peaceful aura who cared deeply for his family and fighters. Rest in peace 🙏
— Eddie Hearn (@EddieHearn) April 26, 2019