Gennady Golovkin's visit to Wild Card reveals the work that remains

Golovkin, who fights Willie Monroe Jr. May 16 at the Forum, gets well wishes from Manny Pacquiao

Gennady Golovkin stopped by Wild Card Boxing Club Wednesday to wish Manny Pacquiao good luck in his May 2 fight against Floyd Mayweather Jr.

He departed with a sobering look at the obstacles that separate him from the fortunes being showered upon the world's top two boxers.

Pacquiao politely accepted Golovkin's wishes, and delivered his own good luck to Golovkin, the unbeaten middleweight world champion from Kazakhstan riding a 19-fight knockout streak who's generally considered the No. 3 fighter on pound-for-pound rankings.

Golovkin (32-0, 29 knockouts) will fight Willie Monroe Jr. (19-1, six KOs) May 16 at the Forum in Inglewood on HBO. Tickets went on sale this week.

The bout signifies Golovkin’s push to form a deeper connection with fight fans in the Southland, after a record crowd of 9,323 attended his October knockout of Marco Antonio Rubio at StubHub Center in Carson.

One of those Golovkin would like to lure is Pacquiao, who humbly admitted at Wednesday’s meeting – with Golovkin listening – that he hasn’t really watched the power puncher’s performances.

“Not really,” Pacquiao said.

Golovkin’s promoter, Tom Loeffler, has pushed for bigger fights, including a Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. bout that fell apart and a title unification in which Miguel Cotto has showed no interest.

At Wednesday’s meeting, Golovkin was told by Cotto/Pacquiao trainer Freddie Roach that a better fight for Cotto later this year is Mexico’s Saul “Canelo” Alvarez given Cotto’s closeness to retirement and Golovkin’s dominating style.

Roach told a story to Golovkin about how Cotto owns 16 gasoline stations in Puerto Rico, and will be in fine financial shape when he calls it a career. Translation: He doesn't really need to fight Golovkin.

Golovkin listened, and delivered nods of resignation, saying later that he, too, thinks his best chance at a pay-per-view bout is Alvarez.

It’s believed Cotto will get first dibs on “Canelo.”

“Of course I want to fight [Cotto], he’s a legend, a big name for me,” Golovkin said. “Canelo’s the guy who will fight me.”

Roach made it clear he deeply respects Golovkin, who trains in Big Bear with his Southland-based trainer Abel Sanchez. Roach said Golovkin, after a distinguished amateur career, is better than Pacquiao at cutting off the ring and subjecting his opponent to power shots.

“Freddie is a professor, I thank him for saying that,” Golovkin said. “I want to show my boxing class in this fight, not just my knockout ratio. I’m concentrated on my boxing style.”

Golovkin is coming off an 11th-round technical knockout of England’s Martin Murray in Monte Carlo on Feb. 21. Now he faces Monroe, who won last year’s Boxcino tournament on ESPN, then defeated hard-hitting Bryan Vera on Jan. 16. Monroe is ranked the No. 2 middleweight contender by the World Boxing Assn. Golovkin is the WBA champion.

“Willie is tough for me because he’s a southpaw, younger and is a tough guy,” Golovkin said. “All champions have had problems with southpaws, and the good ones are champions like [former middleweight champion] Sergio Martinez and Pacquiao. Floyd has had problems with southpaws, ‘Canelo’ had a problem with [southpaw Erislandy] Lara.

“This is a big test for me.”

Golovkin said he sought to make his pursuit of a 20th-straight knockout a challenge, admitting he’s interested to see if Monroe can take him into the late rounds like Murray.

Doing so in the Forum after recently moving his family to Los Angeles means something special to Golovkin. He was schooled by Sanchez in the “Mexican style” of fighting, watching many old fight videos Sanchez had of bouts that were fought inside the Lakers’ former home.

“This is classic, old school Los Angeles,” Golovkin said.

The card will also include a World Boxing Council flyweight title fight featuring the HBO debut of hardcore fan-favorite, Roman “Chocalitito” Gonzalez (42-0, 36 KOs) of Nicaragua, versus Edgar Sosa.

“Love him,” Golovkin said. “Small guy, big punch.”

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