The unbeaten Gennady Golovkin returns to the ring on Oct. 18 in California. | Photo Courtesy: Will Hart/HBO
Boxing fans who only follow Floyd Mayweather Jr. might want to give Gennady Golovkin a shot.
At 30-0 with 27 knockouts, Golovkin, who has KO’d his last 17 opponents, faces Marco Antonio Rubio on Oct. 18 (HBO, 10 p.m. ET/PT) at the StubHub Center in Carson, Calif. There, the WBO and IBA middleweight champion will make his first appearance in the boxing-crazed landscape of Southern California, as he takes on one of the sport’s Hispanic icons in Rubio.
In an exclusive interview with Sherdog.com, Golovkin spoke about what making his debut in California means to him.
“Fighting in California is really important for me because I live in Southern California,” Golovkin told Sherdog.com “My training camp is great. It’s hard work. I have tons of sparring partners. It’s hard work every day. I am running longer, so it’s not easy by any means.”
Golovkin trains at the high altitudes of Big Bear, Calif., under Abel Sanchez at the world-renowned Summit Boxing Training Center. While the a Kazakh boxer is obviously doing something right, he feels Rubio (59-6-1) is his toughest test to date and is by no means taking him lightly.
“I know Rubio. He’s a good opponent for me. He’s a great fighter. this is not an easy fight for me,” Golovkin said. “He is the biggest opponent for me right now. He is very smart. He is a champion, and I am taking him very seriously.”
Golovkin’s undefeated record will be at stake when he enters the ring against Rubio, along with his impressive string of consecutive knockouts. Rubio has not been knocked out since 2004 -- a first-round KO at the hands of Kofi Jantuah. For “GGG,” the streaks are important to his continued success.
“Knocking out my opponents is very important, not just for me but for everybody,” Golovkin said. “It’s good for TV, my fans [and] it’s good for my career.”
With the sport of boxing desperate for new stars and viable PPV draws, it will hard to deny Golovkin such a label if he continues winning in a decisive manner. Ticket sales for Oct. 18 have reportedly been strong, a victory perhaps setting the stage for a bout against an opponent with even more significant name value -- mainly HBO’s newest addition, Saul “Canelo” Alvarez.
While Golovkin refuses to look past his “Mexican Style” event, he relishes the opportunity to headline a card alongside a name like Alvarez.
“Of course I want a pay-per-view fight. I hope for one next year,” Golovkin said. “I hope it’s against either Miguel Cotto or Canelo Alvarez.”