TWO of the world’s best fighters will soon headline another massive card in New York City, as pound-for-pound stars Gennady Golovkin and Roman Gonzalez prepare for their latest ring outings.
Both Golovkin and Gonzalez have become huge hits with fans from their exciting bouts in recent years, and American promoter Tom Loeffler has promised another boxing spectacle at Madison Square Garden on March 18.
Middleweight kingpin Golovkin is set to headline when colliding with latest challenge Daniel Jacobs, while close ally Gonzalez will defend his WBC super-flyweight crown against Srisaket Sor Rungvisai in the co-main event.
“We are absolutely expecting a great show and great performances from all the fighters on the show,” Loeffler told Boxing News.
“‘GGG’ and ‘Chocolatito’ are in very tough match-ups, but there is a reason why they are considered the two best pound-for-pound fighters in the sport and the best combination to headline a mega show like this at Madison Square Garden.”
Having rallied to the highest knockout percentage in the middleweight division’s history and currently boasting a fearsome 23 consecutive stoppage successes, Golovkin brings a wealth of excitement to the masses that now flock to arenas and tune in to witness his bouts.
“Gennady has become one of the biggest draws because he is always so exciting in the ring with 23 straight KOs,” continued Loeffler, the Managing Director of K2 Promotions.
“The fans know they are going to get action and not 12-round boring fights, plus he is very likeable outside the ring and someone you want to root for because he respects his opponents and the sport of boxing.”
The 34-year-old previously struggled to gain the bigger name opponents because of his own supreme streak, but an expected victory over ‘the Miracle Man’ in March should set up the huge showdowns he truly desires.
Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez is the one foe that the Kazakh bulldozer is gunning for later in 2017 – along with most boxing fans worldwide.
Although, after many setbacks in negotiations for what would surely be the biggest match-up in the sport, Golovkin’s representatives have become frustrated with so many fighters using his name for publicity.
“It makes my job easier [promoting Golovkin] because people want to see him fight. It makes my job harder because it is very difficult to get people to agree to actually get in the ring with him instead of just talking about fighting him,” stated Loeffler.
“That’s why we give guys like Danny Jacobs, Kell Brook and David Lemieux a lot of respect. Gennady doesn’t respect the guys that use his name for PR and never want to actually fight him.
“Martin Murray is another, I didn’t want to leave him off the list. And Mathew Macklin, all world class fighters that agreed to get in the ring with the most feared fighter in boxing.
“I think if he is victorious on March 18, it will open up the doors for the bigger fights that he’s been looking for.”
While Golovkin is eagerly eyeing up Canelo or possibly Billy Joe Saunders, his fellow undefeated world champion and friend Gonzalez could be set for a second helping with stern former challenger Carlos Cuadras, if he can deal with the threat of Rungvisai next.
The pair of KO artists have featured on two Madison Square Garden cards before. Gonzalez dominated and halted Brian Viloria in nine rounds as Golovkin stopped David Lemieux, before outpointing McWilliams Arroyo on the same night that ‘GGG’ crushed Dominic Wade in two last year.
‘Chocolatito’ also shared television coverage with ‘Triple G’ when the latter arrived on UK soil to stop game IBF welterweight champion Kell Brook in London.
The widely-regarded pound-for-pound number one got the better of rugged Mexican Cuadras that night to make history, as he became the first ever Nicaraguan fighter to win world titles at four different weight classes.
That also saw Gonzalez headline a show for the first time in his career at The Forum in California, as he gallantly surpassed compatriot, idol and mentor Alexis Arguello, a former three-division world titlist, on American soil.
The 29-year-old’s previously forged partnership with Golovkin has seen him gain the grander platforms he rightly deserves, on which he can showcase his elite fighting skills in the squared-circle. It has also given fans the opportunity to see another, much smaller KO specialist alongside ‘GGG’.
“I think ‘GGG’ and ‘Chocolatito’ are the best combination in boxing and having them on the same show gives the fans exposure to their top level talent and excitement they both bring into the ring,” outlined Loeffler.
Appearances can be deceiving in boxing. At 5 foot 3 inches and having contested in the lower weight divisions, beginning at minimumweight, Gonzalez perhaps doesn’t paint the picture of an intimidating knockout artist like Golovkin. Though, he’s devastatingly effective nevertheless.
Despite his small stature, ‘Chocolatito’ has been rampantly rallying his way through opponents with his brilliant blend of technical astuteness and hurtful power. An impressive 38 KO’s from 46 professional bouts isn’t bad for a man of his size.
The unbeaten WBC super-flyweight champion is tipped for a mouth-watering collision with Japan’s reigning WBO titlist Naoya Inoue in the near future, since making the jump to 115lbs.
Gonzalez’s possible Inoue bout or a rematch with Cuadras add to some of the intriguing fights potentially on the boxing horizon in 2017, along with Golovkin’s globally anticipated clash with Mexican superstar Canelo.
Although, such high-profile outings will depend on the duo getting through their next ring outings on March 18, on a night that promoter Tom Loeffler is promising will be another spectacle for the fans in the Big Apple.
“Fans are set to witness an exciting night of world championship boxing with a great atmosphere in the ‘Mecca of Boxing’ with some of the best boxers in the world.”
IBF world featherweight champion Lee Selby will appear on the David Haye-Tony Bellew undercard at the O2 Arena on March 4 in a non-title bout.
The Welshman will face Spain’s Andoni Gago over 10 rounds at a 129lb catchweight. Selby was scheduled to fight mandatory challenger Johnny Barros on January 28 in Las Vegas but the fight fell through at the last minute due to Barros failing a medical.
To ensure Selby keeps active and his camp did not go to waste, the IBF granted him permission to box in a non-title fight while they make a decision over his mandatory obligations.
“It was important for us to get Lee back in the ring, first and foremost. He’d been out the ring a while and he’d had a long camp,” Jamie Sanigar, Selby’s manager, told Boxing News.
“Obviously after the disappointment of Las Vegas it was imperative we got him out quickly. It’s a good opportunity. David Haye reached out and with the links between Richard Schaefer and Al Haymon, we were able to get this opportunity for Lee. He’s back at the O2, a good hunting ground for him, he won the world title there.
“He’s a world champion so, ideally, he wants to be defending his world title but it’s just not possible at the moment with the IBF. We’re just waiting for a decision from them. They gave us permission to box as long as it’s over the featherweight limit.”
Selby had hoped to fight, and beat, Barros in Vegas on the Carl Frampton-Leo Santa Cruz II undercard with a view of facing the winner later this year. Santa Cruz defeated Frampton, and the Ulsterman has declared his next fight will be in Belfast, regardless of the opponent.
In getting an appearance in next week, Selby will put himself back on track to land a big fight in the summer.
“Lee Selby wants to be in the biggest fights possible, as soon as possible. Frampton, Santa Cruz, [Gary] Russell Jr, [Abner] Mares, that’s the four, we want to be boxing one of those four in the summer. By boxing on March 4, it puts him on the same timeline as those, and that’s critical for us. We didn’t want to be going into a big fight like that if Selby had been out for 12 months or so.”
Right now, Manny Pacquiao is a man in demand. Speculation is rife as to whom the ‘Pacman’ will fight next. While Broner is not in the frame, he is the type of controversial character who could play the villain if he took on the Filipino hero in what would be a headline grabbing fight across the world.
A high level, all American clash with Terence Crawford would certainly be appealing. As skilful as Broner is, Crawford has rarely placed a punch wrong. Broner though has not settled at his weight, he moved his most recent fight up to 147lbs. This should be a world title fight, whether it’s for super-lightweight gold or a chance for Crawford to announce himself in the glamorous welterweight division.
Winner of Danny Garcia vs Keith Thurman
If Broner is going to stay at welterweight there will be plenty of appealing opponents. The winner of Danny Garcia vs Keith Thurman will reach a new level of fame and Broner could be waiting in the wings to snare a big title fight at 147lbs.
Amir Khan is always in exciting fights. His hand speed and industry would surely make a clash with the American appealing. Khan is on stand by at the moment, looking to make his next move. After moving all the way up to 155lbs to fight Canelo Alvarez last year he has been inactive since that knockout defeat.
These two have been linked in the past and if the American can make it back down to 140lbs finally getting the clash on with Scotland’s three-weight world champion Burns would be great to see.
FRANK BUGLIONI has signed a promotional deal with Matchroom Boxing and will defend his British light-heavyweight title against Ricky Summers at The O2 in London on March 4, live on Sky Sports Box Office.
Buglioni ripped the crown from Hosea Burton in an epic clash in Manchester in December, stopping the local favourite in the last round of a gruelling fight of the year contender.
The former super-middleweight world title challenger makes the first defence of his crown against the unbeaten Tipton man Summers, and for “Wise Guy” his aims are clear as he prepares for his first fight with new promoter Eddie Hearn: claim the coveted Lord Lonsdale belt outright before targeting World honours again.
“I wanted to get the British title and prove to myself and the fans that I was championship material and could put on a performance,” said Buglioni. “I was very impressed with the whole set up for the Burton fight with Sky Sports, the build-up was great and as soon as the offer came from Eddie I jumped at it as Matchroom and Sky Sports are putting on great shows all year round, this is the platform to be on.
“I’ve worked hard to get the British title and I want to win it outright, I don’t think that it’s been done for over 25 years in my division, so I really want to achieve that. I’m looking to get this one out of the way and look for two more defences to make that happen.
“There’s no such thing as an easy British title defence as anyone that fights for the title is going to give it everything they’ve got. It’s one of the best belts out there and it means so much to win it – Hosea and I proved back in December just how much fighters give in order to land it. The immediate aim is to get the Lonsdale belt for keeps but of course, if European or world title shots present themselves, that’s something the team will consider and look at the options.
“I’m thrilled to be on the card, the main event is one that I’m really looking forward to. I rate Tony Bellew a lot, he’s improved massively throughout his career, he was told he wasn’t British, European or world level and he’s proved all the doubters wrong. David’s got the experience and he’s a massive puncher, so it’s going to be explosive.”
“I’m delighted to welcome Frank to the team in an exciting time for the British and world light-heavyweight division,” said Hearn. “Frank is one of the most popular fighters in London and has a real TV and fan friendly style that we of course saw in the Hosea Burton fight in December in Manchester.
“I’m very happy to have him in the stable and part of a huge show at The O2 next week and look forward to being involved in big fights and nights with him moving forward.”
Burton and Summers meet on a huge night at The O2 as David Haye and Tony Bellew meet in a blockbusting heavyweight grudge match.
There’s more London vs. Liverpool rivalry on the menu as Hackney’s Ohara Davies defends his WBC Silver super-lightweight title against Merseyside favourite Derry Mathews.
Stourbridge banger Sam Eggington faces the biggest night of his career against former two-weight World champion Paulie Malignaggi, while Irish amateur star Katie Taylor boxes for the third time in the pros.
Tickets for Haye vs. Bellew sold out in record-breaking time when they went on sale in December.