Gennady Golovkin said that, for the first time in as long as he can remember, “I don’t know who wins” when he meets fellow World Boxing Assn. middleweight champion Daniel Jacobs on March 18.
“I see him as having the same speed, the same boxing IQ,” Golovkin told the Los Angeles Times on Thursday in an interview at film director Peter Berg’s Wild Card West boxing club in Santa Monica.
“It’s a very interesting fight, more interesting than the last couple guys for me. And after so much talk — like with Canelo [Alvarez] — Daniel just said, ‘OK, this is better for me to fight now … I’m getting help from [trainer] Virgil Hunter, [unbeaten, three-belt light-heavyweight champion] Andre Ward.’ … So I know everybody wants to beat me now, so it’s more motivation.”
Three-belt middleweight world champion Golovkin (36-0, 33 knockouts) has stopped 23 consecutive opponents while Brooklyn’s Jacobs (32-1, 29 KOs) has 12 straight knockouts.
“I understand this is a very good opponent for me and a very serious fight — two champions. He’s not a fake. He had a very good amateur career. His last couple of fights have been good against good guys,” Golovkin said of the HBO pay-per-view bout, to be staged at New York’s Madison Square Garden.
Much is riding on a Golovkin victory since Alvarez, who’ll fight Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. on May 6 in Las Vegas in a 164-pound catch-weight bout, has vowed he will fight Golovkin in September.
“I feel comfortable, even though 100% I feel the pressure of this fight,” Golovkin said. “This very much has consequences. This is serious business against a serious fighter in a serious situation. This is my biggest step and the second step for me after this fight is much more important.
“So we’re fighting for history. This guy, he’s more dangerous and much, much better than anyone I’ve faced. He’s my best opponent. For boxing, it’s dangerous. For my future, it’s dangerous.”
Yet, Golovkin, who’ll turn 35 on April 8, said he still expects Alvarez and his promoter Oscar De La Hoya to seek a way out of a September bout should both win.
“His big minus is his promotion, with the ‘I’ll call you back, I’ll call you tomorrow,’ … it’s too much. Just tell me, ‘G, I need two years,’ but all this other talking … people see it and they all are saying, ‘Oh, please, stop.’ It’s like a bad commercial,” Golovkin said.
Eric Gomez, the president of Alvarez’s Golden Boy Promotions, insisted again Tuesday that the Alvarez-Golovkin will happen should both win and Golovkin promoter Tom Loeffler expressed optimism about it, too.
But Golovkin remains skeptical after Alvarez ushered him into the ring following Alvarez’s knockout of Amir Khan in May and said Mexicans “don’t [mess] around,” but then vacated his World Boxing Council middleweight title instead of fighting Golovkin.
“I don’t believe he’ll be ready for the next fight,” Golovkin said. “He has a Plan B, C, D. Maybe [Jermall] Charlo at 160. Maybe [World Boxing Organization middleweight champion Billy Joe] Saunders. Maybe [Miguel] Cotto. Maybe a second fight with Chavez if this fight is close. There’s just too much talk. This year, he’s not ready, but next year … maybe.”
Golovkin called Alvarez’s date with Chavez Jr. “a business fight,” assessing that Alvarez “believes 164 pounds is impossible for Chavez because he’s a big guy. And if Chavez makes 164, he’s nothing.
“He’ll be OK for maybe two to three rounds and then it’s going to take too much out of him … he’ll be like Oscar De La Hoya [in his final bout] against Manny Pacquiao. After two rounds, he’s finished – no speed, no power. Oscar said, ‘I’m finished, I can’t,’ in his corner. Manny had more power, fitness, more speed.
“You’ll see: The 164 is too much for Chavez. And Canelo is a big guy. This weight is much better for him.”