BERNIE BAHRMASEL: Good afternoon and Good Morning to the international media and thanks very much for joining us on this Media Conference Call promoting the highly anticipated World Middleweight Championship between Unified Middleweight World Champion GENNADY “GGG” GOLOVKIN, (36-0, 33 KO’s) and WBA Middleweight World Champion and Mandatory Challenger DANIEL “The Miracle Man” JACOBS, (32-1, 29 KO’s) set for Saturday, March 18 from THE Mecca of Boxing, Madison Square Garden in New York City.
The Championship Event presented by K2 Promotions will be produced and distributed by HBO Pay-Per-View starting at 9pm ET, 6pm PT. Tickets for the live event which are moving fast, may be purchased online through Ticketmaster and TheGarden.com
Since bursting onto the boxing scene in America in September 2012 on HBO, Gennady “GGG” Golovkin has become the most talked about and most exciting international boxing superstar in the sport.
In addition to his world titles and distinction as the Unified Middleweight World Champion, Gennady is also known as the sports’ ‘Peoples Champion’. In his last three fights, Gennady has sold over 55,000 tickets, drawing packed houses to three of boxing’s most iconic venues, The O2 Arena in London, England, The Fabulous Forum in Los Angeles, California and The Mecca of Boxing, Madison Square Garden where he will fight for the fifth time on Saturday, March 18th.
With a record of 36-0 with 33 knockouts, Gennady has stopped his last 23 opponents inside the distance over a period of 9.5 years.
Joining Gennady on the call today is his longtime trainer, the 2015 & 2016 Yahoo Sports Boxing Trainer of the Year, Abel Sanchez—both are joining us from Big Bear Lake, California.
Also joining us on the call is the architect of Gennady’s meteoric international rise in becoming one of boxing’s most marketable fighters, Tom Loeffler, the Managing Director of K2 Promotions.
A couple programming notes before we get started;
“24/7 Golovkin/Jacobs” is available on the HBO On Demand® service, HBO GO®, HBO NOW® and on HBO Boxing’s YouTube channel (www.YouTube.com/HBOBoxing)
“2 Days: Chocolatito Gonzalez premieres Saturday, March 11 at approximately 1:00 a.m. (ET/PT) or immediately following the Live HBO BOXING AFTER DARK card on HBO.
TOM LOEFFLER: We are really excited now as we head into the home stretch. Fight week is next week and all of the fighters are flying in over the weekend. The main event press conference will be Monday with Gennady, Danny and Michael Buffer ringing the bell that morning for the New York Stock Exchange. We are really excited about Golovkin vs. Danny Jacobs at Madison Square Garden – there was a tremendous response from the HBO 24/7 piece that aired last Saturday. Everyone is excited and anticipating the two best middleweights in the world along with the tremendous undercard we have headlined by ‘Chocolatito’ Gonzalez vs. Srisaket Sor Rungvisai and Carlos Cuadras vs. David Carmona along with Ryan Martin vs. ‘Pee Wee’ Cruz. It’s going to be a full action packed show. Andy Lee is coming back to MSG on the undercard – he is a favorite with the Irish and New York City boxing fans.
ABEL SANCHEZ: Camp has been going great and I would like to thank all of the people for coming to the fight. We are looking to start the year off great with Gennady and hopefully fight three or four times in the year. We have had very good sparring – with David Benavidez and John Jackson. We have had no issues and hopefully everything goes good and we have a great fight on the March 18th.
GENNADY GOLOVKIN: I feel great and training camp has been great. I’m ready for March 18th to fight Danny Jacobs, he’s my biggest test.
I’ve watched the video of Gennady hitting the pad you were holding. Can you describe the power of Gennady?
ABEL SANCHEZ: In forty years I have never had a fighter that hits as hard as Gennady but I am fortunate that he doesn’t hit me as hard as he can and as hard as he has hit someone in a fight. I have seen him hit someone 100% with protection on but I have never seen him hit someone 100% in a fight. He hits very hard and I feel it at night when I go to bed. My shoulder hurts but that is part of the job. On that particular video that you saw – it was taken in Santa Monica and I just had him hit the round pad and it was just a couple of rounds. It does hurt and I feel for the guys that catch it in the ring with small gloves and wraps - but that’s part of his business. It is fortunate that I have a guy that fights with dramatic endings and fights dramatic rounds and I am glad to be part of it.
You have a streak of 23 consecutive knockouts…at what point in your career did you realize that you have incredible power compared to the other guys in the ring?
GENNADY GOLOVKIN: Of course I feel that I have power and it is very important to me and I can feel the power in my punches. I get that from hard work and practice.
Do you feel you have better punching power than all of your opponents?
GENNADY GOLOVKIN: Yes, sometimes but it is not just power. It has a lot to do with timing and distance. It is not all in the punch.
Danny has him own streak going – he has 12 in a row. Do you feel a knockout is inevitable?
GENNADY GOLOVKIN: I don’t know, this is boxing. He is a very good fighter and maybe has a little bit more power than me. He has big power and he is a very good boxer.
How happy are you to have an opponent that has a chance of beating you?
GENNADY GOLOVKIN: I am happy because I work hard every day for the last two months to three months. Right now is my last week and next week is the fight. Of course – this is my first fight of the year and he is a tough guy and a great fighter and I am very excited for this fight and this year.
ABEL SANCHEZ: I think that all of these fighters like Kovalev and Andre and Gennady – they need a challenge. Not just a physical challenge but also a mental challenge and he presents that for us. He is the first guy in a while since maybe Lemieux and Stevens that got Gennady fired up. Not that he trains any harder because he trains hard for all of his fights, but mentally motivated to have a guy across from you that is going to be a great challenge that could outbox him and we’ll see what happens. He has good power, so does Gennady, and we’ll see who can impose their will on the other guy. That’s what makes these fighters fight at their best and the kinds of fights that people will remember for years.
What is your opinion of the strength of Daniel Jacobs’ chin?
ABEL SANCHEZ: When he fought Pirog and he went down he was probably thinking to himself ‘dammit I got caught’ and he was being held down. I didn’t think he was not able to continue. Every fighter in history, except for Gennady so far, every great fighter has gone down and gotten back up, gone down and gotten back up to fight. Now when he fought Quillin, he did to Quillin what people thought Quillin would do to us, it was very impressive. That’s not our plan – his chin or weakness is not what we are concerned with. We are concerned with his punching power and his ability to move and his ability to box. I don’t think that should be an issue for him.
Where do you expect Jacobs to rank among the fighters you have fought to this point?
GENNADY GOLOVKIN: He is one of the most dangerous for me. He is very good in the ring. He is a good boxer with good technique. I respect him too, he is a very good man.
What lessons did you learn in the Kell Brook fight?
GENNADY GOLOVKIN: The Kell Brook fight was a different fight. I remember the first round and I remember the last round. It was five rounds and it was a good five rounds and that’s it.
When you are asked about Canelo you seem to be more critical him him…
GENNADY GOLOVKIN: Right now I am focused on Daniel. I don’t know – my promoter, he talks with Golden Boy. It might be this year it might be next year, but right now my focus is on Daniel Jacobs, he is my next fight. Of course I would like to fight Canelo but we will talk about that later.
There are reports you have a deal in place to fight June 10 in Kazakhstan against Billy Joe Saunders if he wins…
TOM LOEFFLER: There is no deal in place and everyone is focused on the Danny Jacobs fight on the 18th. However, it is my job, because it has been so difficult to get fights for Gennady to look forward and it has always been his goal to unify all the titles. If there is a possibility for Saunders in the future and he’s ready, we would want the fight, but right now were focused on March 18th. If everything goes right on the 18th for Gennady then we will see what the next highest profile fight will be and that is the one title (WBO) that has eluded him so far.
Is the plan to fight Saunders?
TOM LOEFFLER: As I said the plan is, if Gennady is successful on March 18, to fight the highest profile fight. We will see who is willing to get in the ring with him. A lot of people talk about fighting Gennady but very few people actually sign the contract. We know everything that happened last year with Canelo and Billy Joe Saunders with Chris Eubank and finally, Kell Brook was the one to step up and take the fight. We have a lot of respect for Kell Brook and we have a lot of respect for Danny Jacobs – he actually signed the contract to get in the ring and he was a mandatory challenger; Gennady also fulfills all of his mandatory obligations. This is the highest profile fight and the most dangerous fight Gennady has had. There is no way anyone could look past this fight but I am certainly in discussions with many different promoters to see who would actually be available and willing to fight him if he is victorious in March.
Is there anything new with Golden Boy regarding Canelo?
TOM LOEFFLER: Same situation – we are having discussions but there are two big ifs’ there. Gennady has got to win March 18 and Canelo has got to win May 6 and if those two things don’t happen there is no fight. If Golden Boy is ready and if Canelo is ready to make the deal then we would be open to it but it is my job to look forward. If Gennady is not successful next week then it doesn’t matter what plans I make or Abel or the Hermann brothers make – that all goes out the window. We have a lot of respect for Jacobs and he is the biggest challenge for Gennady. He has great hand speed and he is physically bigger than Gennady and will present a tremendous match-up.
Have you game-planned for Jacobs’ size?
ABEL SANCHEZ: Other than Kell moving up to middleweight, I think everyone that Gennady has fought has been bigger than him. He has learned to adapt to the bigger guys because that’s what he’s had to do his whole career. Danny’s size has not been my concern but his punching power has been my concern because he can crack so what we have in front of us at the beginning we have to be able to deal with it. We have some big guys in camp. David Benavidez is probably about 6’3” and John Jackson is about 6’ tall like Danny. We are trying to emulate what we will see on March 18. Until we get in the ring when Danny feels his power and Gennady feels Danny’s power we won’t know if size is going to make a difference.
It seems that Gennady at some point in the early parts of the fight-- Gennady will take a punch to feel the other’s power. Is this something you would caution him about against Jacobs?
ABEL SANCHEZ: No, I don’t caution him to do anything. We have a game plan and we are going to follow the game plan. If it gets to a point where Gennady has no respect, that is something he feels in the ring himself and it has never been planned. But when he feels the punch that is not at the level where it may hurt him, he will do what he feels he needs to do not only to please his fans but also to make a fight of it. He wants to make a dramatic fight. He wants to make a fight where the other guy needs to come forward to make it a fight where he is not leery of his punching power but that is up to him.
How does being challenged mentally and physically translate into his training?
ABEL SANCHEZ: He trains the same, he is one of those guys I am fortunate to have in the gym because the other guys see him train hard for every fight whether it is Kell Brook or Lemieux or Curtis Stevens – we are going to prepare him for the best that he can be. The best that Golovkin can be and whoever is in there is going to have to deal with that. Nothing changes according to the opponent. We train to be the best that we can be and if that doesn’t work then we have more work to do.
What do you think about Danny and what he has overcome with cancer and what he has done for boxing?
GENNADY GOLOVKIN: Daniel was sick but right now he is a great boxer. I have watched a couple of his fights and he looks good. He looks strong and he looks very focused. I think he is the best that I have been up against in my career.
How is it that you can go into a fight and not have any personal feeling of anger or hate against an opponent? Why don’t you need that to get up for a fight?
GENNADY GOLOVKIN: This is my job and that’s the way I look at it and that’s it.
What are your thoughts on coming back to the Garden to fight again?
GENNADY GOLOVKIN: I am very happy and very excited about it. Madison Square Garden is my second home. It is a great atmosphere. It is the best place in the world for me. I am very excited for next week.
There was about 16,000 at Barclay’s the other night – is boxing on an upswing?
TOM LOEFFLER: I think when you have the right match-ups in boxing the fans respond. We are expecting – we sold out the last time with Lemieux but we are expecting a larger crowd this time because we added floor seats so there will be more people there than any other ‘GGG’ fight we have had at the Garden. It was a great night of boxing at Barclays – you’ve got the Wembley Stadium fight coming up at the end of April with Klitschko vs. Joshua with 90,000 tickets sold. When you have big fight match-ups the fans will respond and they are definitely responding right now to Gennady fighting Daniel Jacobs. The best two middleweights in the world fighting each other, both in their primes, both having over a 90% knockout ratio. You add Chocolatito and all of the other great boxers on the show, it is going to be a tremendous night and we expect a sold out Madison Square Garden next week.
Is defense more of a priority in this fight?
ABEL SANCHEZ: Defense is a priority from the first day I met Gennady. Defense is always a priority in our gym, but it is boxing and guys are going to get hit. If you look at the punch stats you would see that Gennady is one of the top 5 guys in the world of not getting hit compared to him hitting his opponent. For a boxer to land the types of shots he wants to land the way Golovkin fights, he is going to have to expose himself to put himself in a position where he could throw a punch. It’s always a concern and it’s always something we work on and it’s part of his game. If he was so defensive that he bored people to death, we wouldn’t be talking right now and we wouldn’t have him on this stage. He is the kind of fighter that by his choice and by the work that we do in the gym the type of fighter that the fans want to see.
It seems Gennady has been very quiet for this promotion…
ABEL SANCHEZ: We have a guy in front of us that Gennady respects 100%. A guy in front of us that poses a threat. He poses a chance of us losing a fight. We are trying to do as much as we can with Tom and Bernie to give as much accessibility as we can but there are times where I won’t allow it because we have a very difficult fight in front of us on the 18th. We are sorry if we haven’t been as accessible but we promise to put on a great night of boxing that night.
Gennady has always had the Garden crowd behind him but Jacobs is from Brooklyn – how much of the crowd do you think will be behind him?
TOM LOEFFLER: That’s a good question and a lot of people have asked me that. Gennady has sold out the Garden before and this will be his fifth time fighting there, but Danny being a native New Yorker from Brooklyn and having huge fan support as well, it will be an interesting dynamic on fight night. I still think because it is at The Garden you will see it leaning towards Gennady but you never know until the fans show up and certainly not the same as we had for the Lemieux where Gennady was clearly the hometown favorite. We are expecting a great atmosphere from both sides.
Did you ever discuss the moment that Gennady would get hit and go down and how you would handle that?
ABEL SANCHEZ: No, we have never discussed that because I don’t believe in discussing negative things in training camp and I believe that as a human you are going to do what your natural instincts tell you to do. If you are really hurt, you are going to stay down then get up. If you are halfway hurt then hopefully…he as always been told that if he knocks his opponent down he goes to the neutral corner and wait for instructions on what to do. Hopefully he would look at us and in the spur of the moment we will decide what we want to say to him and motion to him. But like I said every great fighter gets knocked down. I had a fighter Terry Norris back in the 80’s and he got knocked out in two rounds but this man is in the Hall of Fame. He had a great career even thought he had three or four losses. It’s part of the game and part of this business but I don’t discuss anything negative with my fighters at all, ever. Until it happens we don’t discuss it.
And for you Gennady has it ever crossed your mind?
GENNADY GOLOVKIN: No, I have no idea. Really.
What kind of plan do you expect from Jacobs in the beginning of the fight?
ABEL SANCHEZ: I think that Danny will be aggressive and that’s what we are planning on. If not, then that’s okay but I think Danny will come out and try to draw a line and say you are not going to cross this. If he doesn’t I think he’s got very smart people around him, with the addition of Virgil I think they know they are going to have to get Gennady’s respect. But I think that’s going to make for a great fight. I think he will test the waters then use his skills. He’s got great legs and very good distance and the fact that he knocked Peter Quillin out shows that he’s got great power. Maybe the first round is a crazy round and I think 2, 3, 4, 5 are more tactical then the fight starts in the middle of the twelve rounds. I expect him to come out and see what Gennady’s got.
What do you think about the Lemieux-Stevens fight that is on Saturday night?
ABEL SANCHEZ: Other than Gennady, with everyone in the gym that has been a topic of conversation. I think it’s a 50/50 fight – I think that David’s got a little more power and Curtis is a very good boxer with one-punch knockout power. It’s either going to be one of those great fights that we are going to remember or it’s going to be boring fight because they have so much respect for each other. If one of the two guys lands a good shot I think it’s a war. They are going to bomb and someone is going to go out.
Do you see yourself moving up to 168?
GENNADY GOLOVKIN: I don’t know; I feel very comfortable at 160. Right now I am at 165 and next week I will be at 164 or 163. I don’t know about going up.
Is Jermall Charlo in Gennady’s future?
TOM LOEFFLER: Any of the top middleweights are in his future. It was nice to see Charlo move up to 160 and it adds another great fighter into the mix. If successful March 18th we will look at the best fights possible.
Mayweather over the weekend spoke of GGG’s deficiencies. Do you get frustrated that you can’t get a fight with him?
ABEL SANCHEZ: No we don’t get frustrated. It just shows me that he thinks more about Golovkin by talking about him and his deficiencies than talking about the mutt he wants to fight. I think Floyd having GGG’s name in his head is a thorn in his side that keeps him from being loved and will keep him from being loved as along as Golovkin is at the top of his game. If he is so flatfooted and if he is so beatable then he needs to call Tom Loeffler and sign a contract and make a date. We have three more dates that Tom wants to schedule this year.
Andre Rozier said Jacobs has one-punch power whereas Golovkin wears opponents down before stopping them…
ABEL SANCHEZ: I agree with him 100%. The difference is the quality of opposition. He has never faced a Golovkin so when he has somebody throwing back at him maybe it will be different. I agree with Andre. Jacobs has one punch power and has knocked out more guys in the second round but I don’t think the fighters that he has fought are on the level that Golovkin fought but we’ll see on March 18. But I am glad that Andre is talking that way and hopefully Danny is doing the same thing. Hopefully Danny comes to fight so we don’t have a bore fest like we had last week.
How has moving the fight from December to March helped the promotion?
TOM LOEFFLER: I would have liked to have had it in December but moving it to March fits better with the pay-per-view platform and also having Chocolatito on because he had just fought in September. It adds to the event as well as it being St. Patrick’s Day weekend – there is going to be a lot of people in New York City, plus you have the boxing writers’ dinner and Top Rank has Michael Conlan fighting on Friday and then the two best middleweights fighting on Saturday night.
Do you feel Jacobs is a bigger threat than Canelo?
ABEL SANCHEZ: I think that, as Andre has alluded to in the past, he has got one punch power. There is the chance he will knock you out – he is a big dude. Canelo is more of a combination puncher but they are both very good fighters. Both Canelo and Jacobs have fights coming up and Canelo has the bigger guy on May 6 and we will be able to tell then who is the bigger ands stronger guy.
GENNADY GOLOVKIN: Every fighter is different. Of course Jacobs is a big guy and right now all of my focus is on him.
GENNADY GOLOVKIN: Thank you very much for your support and attention. I am really looking forward to putting on a great show and I am very excited.
ABEL SANCHEZ: Thanks everyone for joining us. We are at the point where we have done all the talking and its time to get in the ring and show why March 18 will be the beginning of a great year for us.
TOM LOEFFLER: Everything has been said and we are looking forward to the two best middleweights fighting. The doors open at 7:00 pm ET and it will be a full night of boxing with the pay per view beginning at 9:00 pm ET / 6:00 pm PT.
Unified Middleweight World Champion GENNADY “GGG” GOLOVKIN, (36-0, 33
KO’s) defends his titles (WBC, WBA, IBF, IBO) against WBA Middleweight Champion and Mandatory Challenger DANIEL “THE MIRACLE MAN” JACOBS, (32-1, 29 KO’s) in a divisional showdown on Saturday, March 18 at The Mecca of Boxing, Madison Square Garden.
Golovkin and Jacobs have an extraordinary, combined 35 consecutive knockouts heading into this highly anticipated battle.
The Championship Event presented by K2 Promotions will be produced and distributed live by HBO Pay-Per-View beginning at 9:00 p.m. ET/6:00 p.m. PT.
The acclaimed HBO Sports feature series “2 Days” returns with an all-new edition on Saturday, March 11 at approximately 1:00 a.m. (ET/PT). “2 Days: ‘Chocolatito’ Gonzalez” will profile the consensus No. 1 fighter in the world as he prepared last September to challenge for a championship title in the super flyweight division.
The feature will also be available on HBO ON DEMAND®, HBO GO®, HBO NOW and affiliate portals.
GOLOVKIN vs. JACOBS is presented by K2 Promotions. Tickets priced at $1000, $600, $400, $300, $200 and $100, are now on sale and can be purchased at the Madison Square Garden Box Office, all Ticketmaster outlets, Ticketmaster charge by phone (866-858-0008) and online atwww.ticketmaster.com or www.thegarden.com