Boxing’s next big thing trains in Big Bear, a double-handed puncher and unbeaten world middleweight champion from Russia.
Gennady Golovkin (24-0, 21 knockouts) is adored by executives at HBO because he’s willing to fight any man –- champion or top challenger –- ranging from super-welterweight (154 pounds) to super-middleweight (168 pounds).
Not that anyone else in those weight classes is clamoring to fight Golovkin.
The 30-year-old is riding a streak of 10 consecutive knockouts, including four successful defenses of the World Boxing Assn. middleweight belt he won in Kazakhstan in 2010.
Golovkin on Saturday finalized a deal to fight Puerto Rico’s Gabriel Rosado (21-5, 13 KOs) on Jan. 19.
Rosado has beaten seven consecutive opponents, including tough Jesus Soto-Karass, and has been a mainstay on the NBC Sports Network boxing shows.
Golovkin-Rosado will be on HBO as the second of three fights, headlined by the World Boxing Organization featherweight title bout between Oxnard’s Mikey Garcia (30-0, 26 KOs) and Orlando Salido (39-11-2) at Madison Square Garden’s theater.
“I feel good, knowing that I’m a little stronger than he is, and that I’ll be better in this second fight in the U.S. for me,” Golovkin said.
That’s saying something, since Golovkin knocked down Grzegorz Proksa (28-1) three times en route to a fifth-round technical knockout Sept. 1 in New York.
“Rosado is someone who’ll come to fight Gennady with no hesitation,” Golovkin manager Tom Loeffler said. “He believes he can beat Gennady. So it’ll be an interesting match.”
In Big Bear, Golovkin is schooled by respected veteran trainer Abel Sanchez.
Golovkin arrived at camp at 169 pounds, meaning “we can work on things to practice rather than worrying about training to lose weight. And he’s only here to work,” Sanchez said.
“He’s going to be as good or better” than Manny Pacquiao, Sanchez said. “I have said … the next big star is here with me in Big Bear. He shows me things we can still develop to make him the most complete, feared fighter in a long time. He hurts you with both hands.”
Golovkin has plans to fight four times this year, and is willing to shift to whoever expresses interest in a bout, from Saul “Canelo” Alvarez at 154 pounds, Sergio Martinez at 160 or Andre Ward at 168.
“Martinez would be a great fight,” Loeffler said. So would unification bouts versus International Boxing Federation champion Daniel Geale or WBO champion Peter Quillin.