MMA H.E.A.T. brings you a live stream of the Canelo vs Golovkin international pre-fight media conference call, with Ring Magazine Middleweight World Champion Canelo Alvarez (49-1-1, 34 KOs) and WBC/WBA/IBF/IBO Middleweight World Champion Gennady “GGG” Golovkin (37-0, 33 KOs). The fight takes place September 16, 2017 inside the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada.
Canelo vs. Golovkin is a 12-round fight for the middleweight championship of the world presented by Golden Boy Promotions and GGG Promotions and sponsored by Tecate “BORN BOLD”; Hennessy, Never Stop, Never Settle; O’Reilly Auto Parts. Better Parts, Better Prices…everyday!; Fred Loya Insurance; Interjet; Thor: Ragnarok; Fathom Events; Tsesnabank; and Capital Holdings. Diaz, Jr. vs. Lara is 12-round WBC Featherweight Title Eliminator bout presented by Golden Boy Promotions. Caballero vs. De La Hoya is a 10-round fight for the NABF Super Bantamweight Championship presented by Golden Boy Promotions. Martin vs. Rojo is a 10-round lightweight bout for the WBC Continental Americas and vacant WBA Intercontinental Championships presented by Golden Boy Promotions and GGG Promotions in association with Cancun Boxing. The event will take place Saturday, Sept. 16 at T-Mobile Arena and will be produced and distributed live by HBO Pay-Per-View® beginning at a special time of 8:00 p.m. ET/5:00 p.m. PT.
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FRED STERNBERG: On behalf of GGG Promotions and Golden Boy, HBO Pay-Per-View, and all our great sponsors, we are less than three weeks away from the fight we’ve been waiting years for. It’s finally here, and, boy, everyone can’t wait, the main event. It’s going to be the World Middleweight Championship.
Defending champ Gennady “GGG” Golovkin is on the phone with us today. He’ll be answering questions about training camp and his expectations going into September 16 for the big pay-per-view. That will be at T-Mobile Arena. We also have his Hall of Fame trainer Abel Sanchez and his promoter Tom Loeffler on the phone to answer questions.
Without any delay, it’s my pleasure to introduce to you Tom Loeffler, who will introduce both Abel and Gennady. Tom?
TOM LOEFFLER: Thank you, Fred. We couldn’t be more excited about this fight coming up September 16. As Fred mentioned, it’s really the fight not only for the middleweight supremacy, but boxing supremacy. The winner of this fight, these two champions, world class fighters, the best middleweights in the world, I think the winner is really going to be considered the best fighter in the sport of boxing.
We had a tremendous kickoff media day on Monday at L.A. Live, where we had over 3,000 fans there, tons of media. The interest for this fight now is really reaching a fevered pitch. We’d like to thank HBO, who had a tremendous debut of 24/7 last Saturday after the Cotto fight. The Under the Lights show will be premiering this Saturday, and then the second episode, which everyone’s eagerly awaiting, will be after — September 9, when Chocolatito takes on Rungvisai in their rematch on the Super Fly show. So September 9 will be the second episode of 24/7.
It’s been a tremendous training camp. I know Abel is really pleased at how everything is going. I’ll just put on Abel to say a few words, and we can get straight into the questions for GGG, for Abel, or myself.
ABEL SANCHEZ: Thank you very much, Tom. Thank you very much to all the media that’s tuned in.
We’re having a great training camp as always. We’ve been at camp since July the 1st. Probably by fight time we’ll have two months and a couple weeks. We’re looking forward to a good fight, to a difficult fight, obviously, but that’s the way all these fights at this level should be. Thank you very much for tuning in. We’ll wait for some questions.
FRED STERNBERG: Gennady, before we open it up for questions, any comments? How’s camp going, and how do you feel with this fight finally coming up? We’re only 2 weeks away, 2 1/2 weeks.
GENNADY GOLOVKIN: Yeah, I feel great. Good morning, everybody. I’m very excited for this fight. I have, you’re right, like a couple weeks, like two weeks. My weight is good. I feel good. Everything is good. I’m okay. I’m okay. I’m ready.
FRED STERNBERG: If you’re okay, we’re okay. Cynthia, why don’t we open it up for the queue.
Q. As the trainer for Gennady, I’d like to hear your perspective on just basically how Gennady has been as far as like his excitement level. Because I know how much he’s wanted this fight, and I think you’ve wanted this fight for a quite a while. Is there like an additional spring in his step as he gets ready for the fight that he’s really wanted compared to some of the other ones that were maybe not as anticipated as this? And could you describe what you see in him.
ABEL SANCHEZ: Absolutely, there’s been a sparkle in his eye. It’s not so much because of this fight. It could have been any big name fight that was out there. It just so happens that this is the one that was made, that was able to be made.
He’s just been a little frustrated the last couple years that he hasn’t had that marquee name to step up and want to fight him. The names go on. But happy that it is finally here. It’s 2 1/2 weeks away. Couldn’t be more excited, myself or him. I have to say he has a sparkle in his eye. He’s a little bit different than he has been, and that’s exciting for me because I know we’re going to get a great fight.
Q. When this fight is over and if Gennady is victorious, what do you think that will mean for the way he’s remembered in boxing? Because a lot of people see he has this great record, great knockout streak, but it lacks for star power in terms of the names on the record.
ABEL SANCHEZ: I think that Canelo fighting Mayweather a couple years ago, whenever that was, I think stamps him as a bona fide elite fighter, let me just say. If Golovkin — or when Golovkin does to him on the 16th what I think he’s going to do to him, it will stamp Golovkin as a superstar because I think he’s going to dominate him and do what Floyd couldn’t do.
The 16th is a pivotal period, a pivotal day in Gennady’s career, and I think how people are going to remember it, but we still have the 16th to go. Hopefully after the fight, I’m telling you the same things.
Q. Can you describe to me what you think a victory would mean for your legacy in boxing. Because you’ve got a lot of wins, a lot of knockouts. As I said, you have that great knockout streak, but for a variety of reasons, you have yet to get the opportunity to face one of the true superstars in boxing until this point. So what would that mean for the way you’re remembered?
GENNADY GOLOVKIN: Right now maybe I’m not (indiscernible). Seriously, right now, I want to start and I want to win this fight because maybe for me this win will be like a history fight, like Leonard vs. Hagler. Like middleweight division, I believe the boxing division will come back. And Canelo, he’s a very special guy.
Right now for us it’s huge. Especially for me, it’s huge.
Q. Can you just describe — as I asked Abel about you’ve had — you’ve prepared yourself and always been in great shape for your fights, but sometimes they were fights that everybody sort of expected you to win very easily. I think this fight is a fight that there’s a division, that people think you’re going to win and some people think that Canelo Alvarez is going to win. So just give me your perspective on finally being in a fight that there’s some doubt in, that people think, hey, maybe the other guy might win, and how excited you are for that kind of competition.
TOM LOEFFLER: Dan, I can jump in on that. This is definitely the closest odds of any fight that Gennady’s been involved in, and I think that’s what makes this so intriguing is that 50 percent of the people think that Canelo is going to win and 50 percent think that Gennady’s going to win. That’s where, I think, the outcome is definitely in doubt, and it makes that much bigger of an event. Gennady can add to that, if he wants.
Q. Tom, do you have an opinion for what it would mean for people as they look back — his career is not over, obviously — but his legacy? Everyone needs that one big, big victory to kind of stamp themselves as a true great.
TOM LOEFFLER: Well, 100 percent. As Gennady said, it’s a legacy fight for him. He’s had so many knockouts in his career. He holds the highest knockout percentage in the middleweight division. If there’s any criticism that people have of Gennady, it’s the level of competition, but they have to look at the opponents, not at Gennady. We’ve had a terrible time getting people in the ring with him. And that’s why we had respect for all the people that had gotten in the ring with him previously.
This is clearly — you know, Canelo is a proven pay-per-view star. The event is sold out in Vegas. Gennady brings his fan base. This just brings — you know, the sum of both fighters is much bigger than themselves individually, both from an international level and just a competition level. And I think a win September 16 definitely puts that stamp on Gennady’s career.
Look, if he beats Daniel Jacobs in March and beats Canelo Alvarez in September, I don’t know too many fighters that have a better year than that.
Q. Hi, Gennady. I just saw you on 24/7, in the first episode of that. I know you talked there about the first part of your career that you spent over in Europe and kind of being frustrated that your career wasn’t going the way you wanted, that you weren’t getting the fights that you wanted. When you came over to the United States and you kind of got like a second go at it, so to speak, how confident were you that it was going to lead to something like this?
GENNADY GOLOVKIN: Right now is a very important time for me. I feel right now very comfortable. My family, everybody support me.
TOM LOEFFLER: This is the fight that we’ve been working for. Every fight in Gennady’s career, really since he made his HBO debut September 12 — this is almost five years to the day — and every fight since then, this is really the fight that we’ve been working for. It would have been great if he’d had this type of fight earlier in his career, but as I mentioned, the other named opponents, or the champions even, weren’t willing to get in the ring with him.
Now that Canelo has agreed, this is really — all the knockouts, all the training, all the hard work, all the sacrifice that Gennady’s made has been built toward this exact fight in his career.
Q. Tom, one question for you. When Gennady comes to you, obviously, he’s not a 22-year-old, 23-year-old boxer. You’re dealing with kind of a limited amount of time. What was kind of in your blueprint, I guess, to get him to this point? Obviously, I know you’ve taken him back East to maybe try to expand his foothold out there. What was kind of the plan to get him to this point?
TOM LOEFFLER: The blueprint was, when we met with HBO, we said Gennady will fight anyone. They had a list of 20 fighters, 20 names of different fighters, anywhere from 154 to 168, and Abel and Gennady didn’t turn down any one of those. That was just — that blew HBO away. They’ve never been used to someone willing to fight everyone. They realized, if there wasn’t a fight that was able to be made, it wasn’t on the GGG side. I was very transparent with all the negotiations, everyone that we reached out to.
The first step was Madison Square Garden took a very strong interest in GGG, and he had two fights at the Theater. He sold out those fights. And then we moved to the big room in Madison Square Garden. So that was really the plan is to build him in New York City at Madison Square Garden, then when he came over here to the StubHub Center in L.A., he broke the attendance record. So that was the blueprint, not to build him in small casinos that were obscure that really didn’t bring the type of media attention because I knew with someone of Gennady’s talent and his pedigree and just his willingness to fight, that we needed to build him in the biggest markets.
A lot of people are surprised, after he’s fought in seven countries and 22 different cities, that this will be the first time he’s fighting in Las Vegas, but this is really that type of an event, that type of crown jewel event to make his debut in Las Vegas, and we see the fan reaction. All the fans coming in internationally to come see him fight, both supporting him and supporting Canelo.
We followed the blueprint. And actually, I had all these plans outside the ring and Abel had his plans, as far as the training, but if Gennady didn’t perform inside the ring, the best laid plans wouldn’t have happened. So Gennady had to perform in the ring. He always was an exciting fight. That led to his performances in the ring, and all the hard work outside the ring led to building this fight right now.
Q. I wanted to get Gennady’s reaction to Conor McGregor’s comments that he wasn’t very impressed with either Canelo or GGG. He called them a bit boring and flat-footed. So I wanted to get Gennady’s reaction to that.
GENNADY GOLOVKIN: McGregor, he’s not a boxer. So his reaction is not surprising.
Q. Abel, do you have any reaction to that?
ABEL SANCHEZ: I think you have to consider the source. You’re talking about a guy who never fought an amateur fight, never been in the ring with an elite fighter, commenting on something he knows nothing about.
Q. Tom, I wanted to ask you, with that other fight over, do you think it actually is bringing more attention to this fight because this is what everybody is saying is the, quote, unquote, real fight?
TOM LOEFFLER: I think so, George. Look, that was — that had a tremendous amount of attention to the fight. Just to be clear, I think from the GGG side and the team, we were certainly not negative about Conor McGregor. I think just the fact of what he’s accomplished in the UFC, he’s clearly the most marketable fighter they’ve had, and he’s shown a lot of tremendous heart in the fights that he’s had. It’s just that Gennady is a purist, and he didn’t look at that as a true boxing match. It would be the same thing as if Floyd went into the octagon, I’d be willing to bet that Conor lasted a lot longer in the boxing ring than Floyd would have in the octagon.
So we don’t want to be negative on either Conor or on the event, but I think it definitely brought a lot of mainstream attention to that event. And then we’re just working on capitalizing on that momentum, and the boxing fans realize this is the true fight, the true boxing match with the two best fighters in the middleweight division. I think that’s what the real boxing fans are looking forward to.
Q. And what does it say that your event is sold out and theirs was, I think, 14,000 and change? Do you think that was all pricing, or is there some other message in there?
TOM LOEFFLER: I think it was pricing. Clearly, there was a huge demand for tickets for their event. I don’t know. I wasn’t involved in that event. I don’t know the internal workings on it, but from the outside, I heard the tickets were extremely highly priced. I think maybe some of the UFC fans that were used to much lower prices for some of their biggest events weren’t willing to pay those higher prices. That’s the only thing I can attribute it to.
It wasn’t for lack of attention because they certainly got — you saw the Irish fans in Las Vegas and everything like that. It probably would have just been a component of overpricing the tickets as opposed to the people that were willing to afford to pay those prices.
Q. And is this the kind of matchup that can make, well, both of these fighters pay-per-view stars in the realm of getting 800,000 to a million buys consistently?
TOM LOEFFLER: I think so. I really think building on the numbers that Canelo did, Canelo did 1 million buys against Chavez, and you see the fan base that Gennady brings, I think they complement each other perfectly. Canelo has his fans, his diehard fans that are going to buy his pay-per-view fights, buy the tickets. And when you add the component this is the first time that Gennady has fought someone that actually has a more established name, especially on the pay-per-view side, than he has.
Before, it seemed like he was always carrying the promotions when we couldn’t get one of the bigger names or one of — you know, some of the biggest champions in the ring with him. And now this fight with Canelo, now we’ll see how much bigger of an event this will be where Gennady brings his fan base. He sold out, I think, the last seven arenas that he’s fought at, and that’s from New York to London to L.A. You know, every time he fought, he had a sellout, sold out arena.
Then you bring in Canelo, who had over 50,000 people at Cowboy Stadium against Liam Smith, you bring these two marketing sources, the point is not only are these the two best boxers in the division, but two of the most marketable fighters in the sport of boxing. I think that’s what really makes this a unique event. You don’t have that type of matchup very often in the sport.
Q. This question is for Gennady. If successful, this will be his 19th middleweight title defense. The record is held by Bernard Hopkins with 20. Obviously, that’s within range. People thought that may last for a very long time. Bernard Hopkins is an executive with Golden Boy, which has Canelo. How much would setting that record mean to Gennady, to you, Gennady? And also, the second part of that question is have you ever like imagined how you would fare prime on prime against some of the great middleweights in history? Specifically, Hopkins, but also guys like Carlos Monzon and Marvin Hagler.
GENNADY GOLOVKIN: Right off the top, the interest for me is it’s a huge fight. The story — in the middleweight division, it’s a long story. I don’t know, I remember a lot of great champions, like Carlos Monzon, Sugar Ray Leonard, Marvin Hagler, Bernard Hopkins. Right now I think new stories, new times for us. So many stories are huge in the middleweight division. To be a champion is huge.
Q. Abel, could I ask you the same question. Gennady has approached some historical milestones. Where do you think he would rate on the all time list of great middleweight champions?
ABEL SANCHEZ: I don’t think he’s ever really contemplated how he would feel if he broke Bernard’s record. He respects Bernard a heck of a lot. Obviously, we’ve been in the business for a long time, you and I, and we know that all these records were meant to be broken. It just seemed like Bernard’s was unreachable.
Gennady, on the pace that he’s going, could end up with five, six more wins in the middleweight division. So it would be historical. As far as how he would fare, it’s a different era. I think that Carlos Monzon was a great fighter, so was Joey Robinson, so was all those guys in their era. I think that everybody has an era. I don’t know how he would have fared against those guys.
I would have liked to have seen him fight Bernard in his prime because I think Bernard — or even Roy Jones in his prime because those guys were, as I remember I saw myself, those were great fighters. Hopefully, this era will be Golovkin’s era as Roy and Bernard had theirs.
Q. One more question, and this is for Gennady or whoever wants to jump in on it. We just had a situation where, for the first time since Bernard Hopkins and Jermain Taylor were the only two people since the late 1980s to hold all four of the titles, including the WBO. Terence Crawford just accomplished that. After this, would going after that one missing title that Gennady — now held by Billy Joe Saunders — would that be a priority? How important is having all the titles to him?
TOM LOEFFLER: Bernard, maybe I can jump in on my side. Ever since Gennady won the WBA middleweight championship and he was the undefeated WBA middleweight champion, Olympic silver medalist, he’s wanted to fight the best in the division. That’s the only way that he could prove that he was the best not only in the middleweight division but one of the best in the sport of boxing.
It was just so hard at the time when Felix Sturm was considered one of the top middleweights in the world and he was a mandatory for two years. Sturm did everything he could to avoid that fight. Then when Sergio Martinez was considered the best middleweight, and Gennady would have loved a matchup between — to unify his WBA title with Sergio’s WBC title. Unfortunately, Sergio chose to fight Cotto at the time, which then Cotto lost to Canelo.
It’s been very difficult getting other champions to agree. We have respect for David Lemieux. As soon as he won the IBF title, he agreed to fight GGG. But I think the other champions saw that and saw the eight-round domination of one of the biggest punchers in the middleweight division, another champion, it makes it hard to make those fights.
Terence Crawford, you’ve got to give him a lot of credit. He unified the title, but I think fighting a guy that had two titles and was willing to fight him for a reasonable amount of money, I mean, when we talk to Saunders, you’re talking about telephone numbers he wants just to get in the ring with him.
If you’re confident — you know, Gennady — there was an old story where his managers were negotiating with Eddie Hearn to come to England. All they wanted was some tickets and a logo on the mat. When you’re a confident champion, you don’t ask for those astronomical numbers if you really think you can win the fight. If you think you’re going to lose the fight or you think you’re getting knocked out, that’s when people start pricing themselves out, and that’s what made it so, so difficult to unify the division.
That’s why I think this fight with Canelo — look, if Gennady looks good against Canelo and performs the way we all believe he’ll perform, then it opens up a lot of doors. Then he’s in a whole different financial realm in terms of the moneys that we’re able to offer people. But if you can’t get the other champions to fight, you can’t unify the titles, and that’s the situation that we’ve been faced with the last six years.
Q. Well, the thing you said about HBO, that you agreed to all 20 names, a lot of those guys have ducked Gennady. I presume that a victory in this fight, not just because of the money, but all roads would have to go through him. I mean, maybe the people that ducked him before would have no choice but to — you know, if they wanted to do anything, but to go to him, right?
TOM LOEFFLER: No, that’s true. And like I said, I think, if he’s victorious September 16, he’ll be — look, Canelo is still considered the Ring Magazine and lineal middleweight champion. So there’s still some people out there who think Canelo should be rated above GGG. I think after this fight there will be no question. The winner of this fight will absolutely be — if Canelo wins, he’ll be considered the best middleweight. If Gennady wins, he’ll be considered the best middleweight and, again, one of the best in the entire sport.
If GGG is successful, then I think it will open up a lot of doors, and I think people, they’ll really have no excuse at that point to — not to fight him. I think that’s where Gennady’s career is going to be defined is, not the first part of his career, I think with the Jacobs fight and the Canelo fight and then what happens afterwards, I think that’s how his career is going to be defined as a middleweight champion.
Q. Hi, gentlemen. Thanks for taking the time. Gennady, I’m writing about your coach right now, and I want to know, when the bell rings and the fight starts, what words of Abel’s do you have in your mind? Or what advice from him is there?
TOM LOEFFLER: What does he usually say to you before a round begins, Gennady?
GENNADY GOLOVKIN: You’re right. Patience. It’s patience.
TOM LOEFFLER: Abel, is that basically the gist?
ABEL SANCHEZ: Usually, yes, that and I may say whatever it is we discussed right prior in the dressing room about what we wanted to do. But most of it is patience because, actually, the first fight that I ever worked with him was a fight in Panama where he got a little wild on me — he knocked the guy out in the first round, but he got a little wilder than what I wanted him to do. When he got back in the corner, that was my chastising him. That was my scolding him for that.
So every time we’re in the beginning of a fight, I always say patience, just be patient. That’s why you see him go out and analyzing the first round. He really doesn’t that much, just analyzing until he gets his distance and gets the idea of what the other guy is going to do. And that comes because he’s patient and just looking for his opportunities.
Q. That’s great. And, Gennady, I’m wondering what’s different about Abel than other trainers you had in Kazakhstan? You know, when you think of what Abel taught you the most, something that he did.
GENNADY GOLOVKIN: You know, different times, different guys in everything. My personal style is very different, like more mature, different age, weather, food. You know, it’s different — publicity.
TOM LOEFFLER: Gennady’s really — just to jump in there, Gennady’s had the best of both worlds, where the Kazakh amateur program is one of the best programs in the world, where he had that real solid foundation. I think that’s where he had that discipline and the sacrifice he goes through. I think that came from the Kazakh amateur program. He had a lot of punching power, and he had a lot of knockouts in the amateurs.
Then when he got to Abel’s gym and Abel’s philosophy and training, really training in the Mexican style, Abel was able to add a more professional style to Gennady, where he’s one of the best at cutting off the ring and putting constant pressure on his opponents, and that’s where either they’re knocked out by one shot or they’re just worn down, as we’ve seen in some of the fights. They just can’t take the constant pressure.
I think what Abel was able to build on to an already established fighter in the amateurs and the pros, I think it’s just taken Gennady’s career to a completely different level.
Q. Abel, how long did it take for you to transfer him into a Mexican style fighter, and what did that take?
ABEL SANCHEZ: I think it’s an ongoing process, but I think, going on what Tom said too, I don’t think there’s enough — sometimes there’s not enough credit given to what they bring us. Yeah, we’re lucky that we’re in the position to be able to develop them after, but if we don’t get that good foundation — and the Kazakh system is known in the last 15 years for creating great amateur fighters. But if they give us that foundation, it’s a lot easier for us to continue to develop the more TV friendly kind of style.
To answer your question, Fred, it’s an ongoing thing, but I think when you first — after the first four or five fights, he started to understand what his role was inside the ring, to be able to give Tom and Herman Brothers the ability to be able to market him, we have to do that inside the ring, and they do it outside. If we don’t give them something to market, then it’s impossible for them to do their job.
Q. Abel, is it hard to teach a fighter patience who has that killer instinct?
ABEL SANCHEZ: It’s hard to teach a fighter patience that wants to just fight — a natural fighter that just wants to fight. But being prepared and having those times in the gym where you know going into a fight that you’re in the best shape you could ever be mentally and physically, it’s a lot easier because you’re not in a hurry to do anything. You know, that opportunity will present itself, and you’re ready.
Also, I go back to the Kazakh system. With 350 amateur fights, there’s nothing he hasn’t seen. There’s no style he hasn’t seen. There’s no size he hasn’t seen. There’s no shape. So it’s easier to be patient when there’s nothing that can surprise you.
Q. Tom, can you comment on the importance of Abel and his training and legacy to the brand of GGG from a business perspective.
TOM LOEFFLER: I think what Abel brings to the table, Abel has had many world champions in the past. It’s just now with the success of GGG where he’s getting the recognition and the accolades of trainer of the year. I think the last two years he’s received that award.
But Abel’s training system — Abel just brings that calmness in the corner, but the value he adds to Gennady’s career is the fact that he’s instilled in Gennady, you need to put on a show for the fans. You need to put on an entertaining fight so the fans that buy the tickets, the fans that tune in to HBO or buy the pay-per-view, they feel like they’ve gotten their money’s worth. Gennady isn’t one of those fighters who dances around the ring for two hours and wants to collect a paycheck. He wants to bring the entertainment.
The fans that come to the arena or tune in on TV to his fights, they know there’s going to be an exciting fight. He’s never been in a dull fight. Regardless of which style he’s fought, Gennady Golovkin has never been in a dull fight. That’s the box office draw that Abel has created out of Gennady.
Obviously, Abel having his Mexican heritage and being able to teach Gennady some Spanish words and things like that, that just brings a whole different level to Gennady’s career. But I think it’s just the fact that he’s created such an entertaining style and entertaining fighter, and that’s allowed us, on the marketing and promotional side, to highlight what Gennady’s accomplished in the ring.
Q. This question is just for GGG. Champ, I have a question for you. You’ve become very popular when you fought in Southern California. I’m wondering, though, how’s it going to be now, knowing that you are not going to be the most popular fighter entering the ring? Is this going to have an effect on you at all, or is this something you’ve prepared for?
GENNADY GOLOVKIN: Yeah, probably in Las Vegas. In L.A., they’re for me. In New York, they’re for me. I don’t know if in Dallas, Texas, or in Vegas, they’re probably for Canelo.
TOM LOEFFLER: I think it’s not so much the more popular fighter going in the ring. I think it’s the more popular fighter going out of the ring. If Gennady gets the victory September 16, I think he’ll become the most popular fighter in the sport. If you can beat a proven champion like Canelo, such a marketing draw, that just takes Gennady’s career to a different level.
I think what he was saying before is he’s fought in New York, I think six times now. So in New York he would be more popular than Canelo. In Las Vegas, since Canelo has fought there many times, Canelo is probably more popular in Las Vegas. So it just depends.
You know, in the UK, if you take GGG to the UK, the boxing fans love him over there, and he’s more popular in the UK, for example. So it just depends on the market. But that’s what brings this international flavor to this event.
ABEL SANCHEZ: I was going to add a little bit to that. Being a Latin, being a Mexican, I think that we just enjoy a good fight, and the base, the Latin base, or the Mexican base that Canelo has and that Golovkin have, as long as they put up the kind of fight that we expect as Mexicans or Latins, I think we’re going to be happy with whomever wins, and we’re going to support both.
Q. Good morning. GGG sounds like he’s on a spaceship out near Jupiter, but we’ll take a shot at it, and maybe Abel can help out with the question because it relates to him as well. Gennady looked fantastic at the event in Los Angeles, but as we all know, 35 isn’t 30, it’s not 25. Can the fighter and the trainer talk about how his body is different at 35, how it feels different in training, and how the training is different from how it was five, six, seven years ago.
GENNADY GOLOVKIN: Thank you very much for your compliment. I feel great at this age. Seriously, I don’t know, just my training every day, I’m just the same. Just my sparring is the same, like my speed, my power, I don’t lose. I feel like ten years ago. Like right now, you’re right, I’m 35, but I feel like 25. Maybe inside, maybe right now I’m younger than Canelo. I feel like 25.
Q. Abel, you want to comment on his sparring and how you see him in the gym now.
ABEL SANCHEZ: Yeah, obviously as a coach, you take into consideration the years, the age, but he’s doing the same things now, harder now because he’s at a different level than he was four, five years ago. He’s still working as hard as he was before and not slacking off, not — I’m not having to make any concessions for being 35 years old. We’re doing the same things we did in the past.
But about five or six fights ago, seven fights ago maybe, I cut down the rounds of sparring, but that’s really the only thing that I’ve done different. But then I didn’t do it because of age. I did it because he just comes to camp in such a state that I don’t have to abuse him in camp. I can leave a lot in him by working him less because he’s in shape when he comes to camp. We’re not losing 25 pounds. So it’s easier for me as a coach to get out of him what he needs and get him ready to peak right before fight time.
Q. Second question for both. Something that Abel touched on earlier in the conversation. Subsequent to this, upwards of five or six more, are you comfortable with the thought of fighting for another couple, three years, maybe longer? You want to be fighting like Mayweather at the age of 40? What are your thoughts on that?
GENNADY GOLOVKIN: Yeah, probably. Maybe like 40, five years more. This is boxing. Every day is difficult and dangerous. Right now I feel great. Everything’s good. My family and my team support me. I feel very comfortable. So probably, yeah, five years more.
ABEL SANCHEZ: I think, if we get, if we’re able to secure the kind of fights that motivate him mentally — physically they’re always in shape. Obviously, all great fighters like that are always in shape, but the mental part of it is so important because you have to be motivated for a fight. If Tom and the Herman Brothers and the powers that be can get him the kind of fights that motivate him and want him to come back in the gym and work as hard as he does for all fights, then, yes, I can see him fighting that long. I think, if there’s an if, that’s a big if.
Q. No concerns about the possible long-term effects about boxing and getting punched in the head?
ABEL SANCHEZ: No, remember, he’s probably been a pro less than Canelo’s been a pro, and his fights are a heck of a lot shorter than Canelo’s fights. Canelo is the one that has the wear and tear on him, not Golovkin. Canelo has got 49 fights. And Golovkin has 36, 37, whatever he has, and his fights have been shorter, and he turned pro in 2006. I believe Canelo’s been a pro a little bit longer than he has.
No, we don’t have the long periods of training camps like we used to for the other fighters. That helps. And his fights being shorter helps. If he’s motivated to fight on, to fight for the next three or four years, then he should. If he doesn’t have it in him, then he shouldn’t.
I think, if we do good on the 16th, I think the public will ask for him to fight on, and as long as he keeps fighting the way that I know he can, the public will keep asking for that. Hopefully, Tom can put those together.
FRED STERNBERG: Before we wrap up, just a reminder that HBO sports will be airing the special Under the Lights: Canelo-Golovkin Saturday evening at 10:00 p.m. East Coast and West Coast on HBO, and episode 2 of 24/7: Canelo-Golovkin will premiere the following week on HBO immediately following Tom’s terrific card with all the super flyweights at StubHub Center. Tom, any last comments before we head to trainer and fighter?
TOM LOEFFLER: I’ll tell you, we can’t be more excited about this fight. It’s really the crescendo of we’ve had a banner year for boxing in 2017, even with the Mayweather-McGregor fight. It’s just the spotlight that’s been shown on the sport of boxing has never been brighter, or not for a long time, than we’ve seen this year. This really seems to be the main event of the year.
So we’re excited about this fight. Fred, as you mentioned, the Super Fly show September 9th. Don’t miss that. That will be on HBO with the second airing of 24/7.
This is really — this is the fight that everyone on the GGG side has been working hard for. We give Canelo a lot of credit. We give the Golden Boy side a lot of credit for being extremely cooperative with the co-promotion, the MGM properties up in Las Vegas, and just looking forward to Gennady’s premiere not only in Las Vegas but at the T-Mobile Arena, one of the most premier arenas around the world.
Naturally, we can’t leave out HBO. It’s just been a tremendous partner for Gennady’s career, and very thankful for their support.
FRED STERNBERG: Abel, any last words? You still feel like you’re 25, like Gennady does?
ABEL SANCHEZ: Not after hits the mitts with me, not after he pounds on my shoulders. No, I feel that we’re training very hard to be well prepared to give the fans, not to disappoint the fans and to give the fans the kind of fight that they expect from us. I know Canelo is training just as hard. So hopefully, that night will be a magic night for boxing and for all of us.
FRED STERNBERG: Thanks, Abel. Gennady, we’ll let you have the final word. Any last words to the media?
GENNADY GOLOVKIN: Yes, of course. Thank you very much, everybody. I respect boxing. If you respect boxing like me, watch my fight on HBO. Welcome to my fight.
FRED STERNBERG: Thank you, everyone, for joining us. Thank you, Gennady, Abel. Thank you, Tom.
And just a reminder, live on pay-per-view at a special time, 8:00 p.m. East Coast, 5:00 West Coast on Saturday, September 16, live on HBO Pay-Per-View. We look forward to seeing everybody out there fight week. Thank you again for joining us today.