As Gennady Golovkin transitions to a new platform for his fights and prepares for the June 8 resumption of his career, the former long-reigning middleweight champion is parting with his longtime trainer, Abel Sanchez.
Golovkin (38-1-1, 34 knockouts) made the announcement he termed a “major decision” Wednesday in a statement emailed to reporters.
“I want to build on what I have already achieved and continue to better myself,” Golovkin wrote. “Therefore, I will not be training with Abel Sanchez. This was not an easy decision for me and it is not a reflection of Abel’s professional abilities. He is a great trainer, a loyal trainer and a Hall of Fame trainer.”
The parting separates perhaps the sport’s most well-known fighter-trainer bond behind the on-again pairing of Manny Pacquiao and Freddie Roach. During one stretch, Golovkin posted 23 consecutive knockouts.
In his Big Bear compound, Sanchez constructed Golovkin into a record-tying reigning middleweight champion who builds endurance running the San Bernardino Mountains in all weather while studying old fight tapes of Julio Cesar Chavez Sr. in the seclusion of the quiet, fully embracing Sanchez’s demanding old-school lessons.
Sanchez was clear that the parting was an economic decision made by Golovkin after signing a deal with DAZN that could pay him about $100 million, according to an industry source.
According to Sanchez, Golovkin first raised the subject of a new deal in a March 19 meeting with Sanchez and Golovkin’s attorney, explaining the boxer was restructuring things, and that Sanchez would be asked to go on a fixed amount. Several days later, Sanchez met with Golovkin again and asked why he couldn’t get an answer as to why this was happening.
“Give me something so I can sleep at night,” Sanchez said Wednesday.
Sanchez later sent a counterproposal with no response -- “the lack of communication was incredible,” and then Golovkin and his brother, Max, came up to Big Bear Tuesday night and before their typical morning run, he said to Sanchez alone, “We’ll be going somewhere else.”
“I thanked him, said OK, followed my guys on their 55-minute run, and he was gone,” Sanchez said. “I knew this was inevitable weeks ago. But I think it’s unfortunate after he signed a $100 million contract … it’s disheartening and heartbreaking about the honor of man. I never try to sugar-coat anything, and I always expect the same of everyone.”
The relationship elevated an unknown Kazakhstan talent to an HBO main-event fighter who participated in strongly performing pay-per-view bouts the last two years against Canelo Alvarez.
Sanchez was Golovkin’s boldest defender, criticizing the judging that led to the 2017 draw with Alvarez and the positive drug test by Alvarez that delayed a rematch won by Alvarez by majority decision.
But the loss and extended time off gave Golovkin time to reflect on how he wants to control the new three-year, six-fight deal that he has with DAZN. He returns to the ring June 8 at Madison Square Garden against obscure Steve Rolls and is hopeful to meet Alvarez for a third time in September.
“I will be announcing my new trainer at a later date,” Golovkin wrote. “But today I want to thank Abel for the lessons he taught me in boxing.”