Knockout King Gennady Gennadyevich Golovkin, notoriously known as "GGG" (Triple G) in these boxing streets, is looking for his 22nd-straight knockout when he returns to the Fabulous Forum in LA on Saturday, April 23 to defend his IBF Middleweight World Championship belt against undefeated challenger Dominic “Lights Out” Wade.
The event is presented by K-2 Promotions and GGG Promotions, in association with TGB Promotions. The clash is titled, “UNDEFEATED” and will be televised live on HBO World Championship Boxing.
When the two boxers entered Thursday’s media press conference at Madison Square Garden’s DeltaClub Sky Room and stepped to the podium, it was easy to differentiate between the high profile champion and the hungry challenger.
GGG, a 34-year-old vet of 15 consecutive title defenses, is the WBA, IBF, WBC and IBO middleweight champ. He was dressed for a black tie affair, clad in a tight-fitting, dark grey suit with a neat black button-down shirt and some slick, shiny black shoes.
The 25-year-old Wade had on a black V-neck T-shirt, some black jeans and a hooded flight jacket. He did rock some sick jewels on his pinky, arm and neck, but they were just mere symbols of his situation. To win, he will have to do the impossible and shine brighter than boxing's brightest war star. But don't get it twisted. It won’t be Wade's DC swag that is tested on April 23, it will be his pain threshold and his will to survive.
(Photo Credit: USA Today)
I first interviewed “GGG” through an interpreter in July of 2014, before he dropped two-time world champion Daniel Geale with a vicious one-punch KO in front of a huge crowd in his Madison Square Garden debut.
He was already a multiple world title holder and probably the most ducked fighter in the business. He was quickly becoming a household name and his drawing power was evident due in large part to his aggressive, electrifying and uninhibited brawling style.
Golovkin enters the ring with the sole intention of destroying his competitors, who have been more like prey as the undefeated champ and Kazakh icon has the highest knockout ratio in the history of the middleweight division (91.2%).
He’s 34-0 with 31 KO’s and he provides the crowd with something Floyd Mayweather never did, and that’s constant engagement with intent to body the opposition. He’s not the type of guy to sell his tickets by engaging in pre-fight shenanigans. He let’s his fists do the yapping.
Golovkin’s broken a lot of jaws, hearts and spirits along the way and according to Joel Fisher, Executive Vice President of MSG, Golovkin has also broken Madison Square Garden drawing records and has elevated himself to one of the faces of the MSG boxing family.
“Back in 2012, Tom Brown (TBG Promotions) represented Wladimir Klitschko so we were familiar with each other," Fisher said. "Tom came to my office with GGG and I could immediately tell there was a confidence about him. Tom was convinced he'd be a great fighter and that encounter resulted in Gennady’s 2013 fight at The Theatre against Gabriel Rosado.”
Golovkin has now fought at MSG four times. He set a pre-sale record of 7,000 tickets sold in less than a week in his last MSG fight against Geale and he came “damn close on this one too. Another sell out at The Forum,” Fisher said.
Around that same time, GGG and his manager Oleg Hermann didn’t like a situation they had going in Germany and wanted a new promoter. That’s how they hooked up with K-2.
GGG was not only an MSG hit, but he’s been a great draw for HBO as well. Network VP Peter Nelson is the guy who got Golovkin in the door when HBO's top execs were initially reluctant to sign him.
“When GGG first showed up at the network, Nelson told TSL, "he said he would fight anyone anywhere at anytime and just wanted HBO to roll the dice and give him a chance."
Everyone agrees it has been a match made in global heaven. With former “Trainer of the Year” Abel Sanchez in Golovkin’s corner and honing his raw power and ferociousness into a poised and accurately aggressive combination of boxing and brawling, Wade will be in for the battle of his life.
Wade, undefeated in his own right but less battle-tested than Golovkin, was praised for his willingness to step into the ring with a fighter that turns the spines of most potential challengers bright yellow.
Wade’s manager, Jerry Vine, told Nelson years ago that Wade would be on HBO one day. When the opportunity arose, they had to go for it. Wade says he jumped at the opportunity to fulfill his dream and fight for a world title.
“They could have fought someone of a lesser caliber than Dominic,” Vine said, “but Golovkin stepped up to take the challenger a lot of people wouldn't ..It only took a week to get this deal done.”
Dominic’s trainer Jay Stancil straight-out predicted an upset.
“Mentally, Dominic is prepared and more dedicated than he's ever been,” Stancil said at the podium.”I think we will pull an upset and he will shock the world that night.”
Wade didn’t have that much to say. It was hard to tell if he was a bit leery or just quietly confident. The closest he got to talking junk was when he told a group of reporters, “I don’t think (Golovkin) is Superman. He’s human, just like me, eats the same things I do. So I’m going to take this shot. … This is my opportunity to shock the world and that’s what I’m going to do.”
On June 26, 2015, Wade won a gritty ten round split-decision over former world champion Sam Soliman (44-12) at Little Creek Casino Resort in Shelton, WA. The Al Haymon product gained a world of experience against an awkward veteran. Wade hopes his growth spurt will continue in his stiffest challenge to date.