LAS VEGAS – Gennadiy Golovkin arrived for fight week Sunday in a better mood than usual.
Golovkin’s sunnier disposition directly correlated to his 168-pound debut because for the first time in 16 years as a pro, the IBF/IBO/WBA middleweight champion hasn’t had to squeeze himself down toward the 160-pound limit. At 40 years old, that was a welcomed change for the Kazakhstan native.
Carrying extra weight this close to his third showdown with Canelo Alvarez hasn’t necessarily made Golovkin feel stronger. Eating more has helped, however, as he prepares to battle Alvarez at the super middleweight limit of 168 pounds Saturday night at T-Mobile Arena.
“It’s hard for me to say whether I feel stronger or not,” Golovkin told BoxingScene.com through a translator. “When I’m in shape, I usually feel great. It’s just that probably I feel less annoyed by people because I eat better and I can enjoy more food. I don’t have to suffer [to make 160], so I guess it’s just a more comfortable environment and there are less annoying factors around me.”
Golovkin prepared for this 12-round DAZN Pay-Per-View main event at the gym owned by his former trainer, Abel Sanchez, in Big Bear Lake, California. He mostly had trained at Shane Mosley’s nearby facility since his acrimonious split with Sanchez in April 2019, but he felt right at home inside The Summit Gym, where Golovkin trained for his first two fights against Alvarez in September 2017 and September 2018.
“I’ve been very focused in this camp and I’ve worked very hard,” said Golovkin, who had no interaction with Sanchez after his handlers arranged to rent out Sanchez’s gym. “I can now see that 168 is a little bit different from 160. But at the same time, it’s no time to make any drastic changes. I think the biggest difference would be how I make this weight. I need to wear a suit to burn the weight less than when I make 160 this time around.”
Though Golovkin (42-1-1, 37 KOs) has never weighed in at more than 163 pounds for any of his 44 professional fights, Alvarez (57-2-2, 39 KOs) has competed at the super middleweight maximum five times and the light heavyweight limit of 175 twice. Alvarez won the first six of those bouts, but WBA light heavyweight champ Dmitry Bivol (20-0, 11 KOs) defeated Alvarez by unanimous decision in his most recent appearance, a 12-round championship match May 7 at T-Mobile Arena.
While Golovkin has remarkably remained a middleweight for his entire 16-year pro career, Alvarez has competed in six divisions – junior welterweight, welterweight, junior middleweight, middleweight, super middleweight and light heavyweight. The iconic Mexican champion began his career as a 15-year-old junior welterweight in October 2005.
Most sportsbooks have installed Alvarez as at least a 4-1 favorite over Golovkin as their long-awaited third encounter nears. Their 12-round fight for Alvarez’s IBF, WBA, WBC and WBO super middleweight titles will headline a pay-per-view show that’ll cost DAZN subscribers $64.99 to watch via its app and non-subscribers $84.99 through cable and satellite providers.
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.