An exclusive interview with a Golovkin sparring partner who spent three weeks sparring ‘GGG’ ahead of his mega fight with Canelo.
Gennady Golovkin is one of the latest fighters on a long, rich, list of great pressure fighters.
From the seemingly infinite stamina and head movement of Joe Frazier, to the ultra aggressive Roberto Duran, Golovkin, like the men before him uses a pressurizing method to take out opponents.
A closer look at pressure fighters like ‘GGG’ will show that although many of their fights end by KO, there is much more work being done than appears.
For as much as a pressure fighter is looking to end his opponent’s night early, he must do some ‘planning.’
Pressure is designed to do one thing: disrupt. Making an opponent punch too soon or too early, incorrectly slip a punch, or a combination of the two are the more common ways pressure fighters get to their man.
The relentlessness, both psychologically and physically eventually becomes too much to withstand.
Ahead of the Golovkin vs. Canelo fight on September 16th at the T-Mobile Arena, I was able to talk with Tuscaloosa, Alabama native and Light Heavyweight fighter, Deon Nicholson, (5-0, 5KO) about his time in Big Bear Lake, California sparring Gennady Golovkin.
I would imagine working with GGG has to be one of the greatest feelings, especially as a young pro boxer. What were your very first impressions when arriving?
“It was wow! I’m really here with GGG! It was amazing to be able to share the ring with a world champion. Definitely something I won’t forget.”
So you were able to actually spar with him, correct?
“Yeah I was. We sparred the whole three weeks I was there.”
What was something he did that shocked you, something that made you go “wow” during the sparring? Everyone knows about the power, but what was something else that caught your attention?
“G can actually box man. He has a gift. The guy can really box. And his jab is amazing. Very hard jab. Overall he’s a very technical fighter. I knew he had power, but what a lot of people don’t know about him is how skilled he is. I mean the guy had over 300 fights and has a couple of Gold medals. You don’t get that unless you’re a great boxer.”
When you say great boxer, what was he doing exactly? Was he setting up his offence, slipping punches, etc. What exactly was it that you were impressed by?
“His boxing IQ. The timing, the accuracy. He throws very accurate punches. And he doesn’t waste anything. He doesn’t throw a thousand punches, but the punches that he does throw, land. And in the right places. If you look at his knockouts, they all were pretty much perfect shots. He does that on purpose.
And another thing. His footwork! The man is a genius in cutting the ring off. It’s mathematical. He knows how to step, how wide to step, how fast to step, and most importantly, when to step. In all of his fights, all of his opponents eventually have to just fight him, forget the boxing, just fight. When he cuts the ring off as good as he does you honestly don’t have a choice. Now that I think about it, his ability to cut the ring off as quickly as he does might be the most impressive thing I’ve seen.”
Your fight prediction and why?
“I think GGG will win because 160lbs is his natural weight. Canelo is having to put on weight to come up to this weight. He’s not experienced at the full 160-pound limit. I think the extra weight will have an effect beginning in the middle rounds. I think GGG is gonna wear him down. Physically and psychologically I think he’ll be broken down. Canelo will come out strong like he normally does but when he starts to get hit the fight will change.
If you watch Canelo, he does his best work when a guy is right in front of him. He’ll let his hands ago. Against GGG that’s the last thing you want to do. His defense is very underrated too; he does little things. Canelo fades in fights late anyway, so you combine that with the pressure of G and I think it ends with a late stoppage. Maybe even KO of the year.”