Boxing
 
              === Team Golovkin: We're "truly the best" at 160 ===
 
 By Lyle Fitzsimmons, Contributing Boxing Editor
 
 (Sports Network) - Word on the street is there's a pretty significant
 middleweight fight in September.
 
 A kid from Mexico will meet a vet from Argentina, with the winner expected to
 both wear some new waistline jewelry and take possession of the unofficial
 "best 160-pounder in the world" handle.
 
 That's all well and good...unless you're Gennady Golovkin.
 
 Now 30 years old and six years into an unbeaten pro career, the Kazakhstan
 native with a German address has some other ideas when it comes to who exactly
 is best of the best in the storied gloved niche between 154 and 168.
 
 Holder of a dubious "regular" WBA championship at middleweight since 2010 -
 with apologies to "super" champ Felix Sturm - and the IBO's more legitimate
 share as of last winter, Golovkin gets a two-week head start on the celebrated
 colleagues on Sept. 1, when he'll risk both belts against once-beaten Pole
 Grzegorz Proksa at the Turning Stone Resort & Casino in Verona, N.Y.
 
 It's the second fight of 2012 for the hard-punching claimant, who's stopped 10
 straight opponents since 2008 and 20 of 23 overall since starting his
 professional ladder climb in May 2006.
 
 It's also his first crack at the big time under the auspices of cable
 television giant HBO, which has positioned the bout as the headline act of a
 "Boxing After Dark" card set to air at 10:15 p.m. ET.
 
 "We feel that Gennady is truly the best fighter at either 154 or 160," said
 Tom Loeffler, managing director of K2 Promotions, which works with Golovkin.
 "Sergio Martinez is recognized as the best middleweight right now and we all
 have a lot of respect for him.
 
 "I think the winners of the upcoming middleweight fights between
 Gennady/Proksa, Sturm/Geale, Martinez/Chavez should fight each other to truly
 determine who the best middleweight in the world is."
 
 The matchup had been set for Aug. 25 between Golovkin and ex-WBO champ Dmitry
 Pirog, who was stripped after signing to fight Golovkin instead of mandatory
 challenger Hassan N'Dam N'Jikam.
 
 Plans and dates changed with Pirog sustained a back injury in training and
 opened the door for Proksa, who's ranked eighth on the IBO computer and is
 28-1 with 23 KOs since turning pro in 2005.
 
 "HBO has given Gennady the opportunity to perform on their network and now it
 is up to him to show the world what we have been telling people for a long
 time now," Loeffler said.
 
 "The opportunities will come as Gennady continues to perform in the ring."
 
 It's already country No. 6 for the frequently flying slugger, who'll add the
 United States to a passport that's previously been stamped in Germany,
 Denmark, Panama, Kazakhstan and Ukraine.
 
 "Gennady realizes that to be truly successful on a world stage, he has to be
 successful in the United States," Loeffler said. "He is the type of fighter
 that will fight anywhere, but wants to be known in the United States, which is
 the biggest platform and audience for boxing.
 
 "We have gotten a lot of interest since the fight was announced. The
 recognition and exposure will come as people see the exciting style of Gennady
 and the fact that he is really willing to fight anyone."
 
 The U.S. debut comes after an amateur career that yielded gold medals at the
 2000 Junior World Championships in Hungary, the 2002 Asian Games in South
 Korea and the 2003 World Championships in Thailand, and a silver medal at the
 2004 Summer Olympics in Greece.
 
 Notable names on the pre-pro victims list include Andy Lee, Andre Dirrell and
 Lucian Bute.
 
 And that prodigious pedigree adds to the K2 enthusiasm.
 
 "Gennady has so much experience and success in the amateurs that he can adapt
 to any style of fighter," Loeffler said. "His style is that of seek and
 destroy. He is the hardest punching middleweight that I have ever seen and he
 carries his power in both hands.
 
 "When he won the IBO title, he stopped Lajuan Simon, a fighter that had never
 been down in his entire career, with a perfectly placed left hook in the first
 round."
 
 The destruction of Simon last winter in Dusseldorf was sandwiched by a 10th-
 round stoppage of former 154-pound champion Kassim Ouma six months before and
 a third-round TKO of Japanese and Oriental-Pacific kingpin Makoto Fuchigami
 five months later.
 
 Fuchigami hadn't lost in three years and was ranked 20th by the IBO upon
 meeting Golovkin, who'd previously topped out in the computer rankings with
 the skidding Ouma - a loser in five of his previous seven en route to a No. 33
 slot at 160.
 
 But in spite of the absence of truly elite foes, Loeffler still claims the
 competitive high ground and a willingness to massage the scales to maintain
 it.
 
 "Gennady and his trainer, (the) highly-regarded Abel Sanchez, have made it
 clear that they would fight anyone from 154 pounds to 168 pounds," he said.
 "There are not many fighters that will be willing to move or down from their
 ideal weight, depending on the opportunities in the ring. If it were up to us,
 we would continue to take the biggest fights out there for Gennady.
 
 "First would be to fight the biggest names in the middleweight division and
 defeat all of the other champions. Then he could move down to 154 depending on
 who is still champion or move to 168. I have never seen a fighter who carries
 so much power in the middleweight division and can move up or down and keep
 the same power."
 
 
 This week's title-fight schedule:
 
 No fights scheduled.
 
 NOTE: Fights previewed are only those involving a sanctioning body's full-
 fledged title-holder - no interim, diamond, silver, etc. For example, fights
 for WBA "world championships" are only included if no "super champion" exists
 in the weight class.
 
 Last week's picks: 2-0
 
 Overall picks record: 415-141 (74.6 percent)
 
 Lyle Fitzsimmons is a veteran sports columnist who's written professionally
 since 1988 and covered boxing since 1995. His work is published in print and
 posted online for clients in North America and Europe. Reach him at
 fitzbitz@msn.com or follow him on Twitter: @fitzbitz.
 
 
 
 
 
 08/08 23:40:41 ET

Powered by The Sports Network.