All photos by Will Hart/K2
“A lot of fighters, when asked if they want to fight Gennady Golovkin, say ‘we’ll fight him any time, no problem; except it can’t be on Saturdays and it can’t be on HBO,'” quipped Peter Nelson, executive vice president of HBO Sports.
Nelson’s tongue-in-cheek remarks hold water in the case of unified Middleweight world champion Gennady “GGG” Golovkin. The Kazakhstan-born superstar is widely considered to be one of the sport’s pound-for-pound greats, having amassed a perfect 34-0 record with 31 knockouts.
It may come as a surprise, then, to see GGG take on Dominic “Lights Out” Wade, a native of Washington, D.C. who most recently won a split decision over 41-year-old Sam Soliman. The two Middleweights continued their “Undefeated” tour in New York City on Thursday, each elaborating on the fight and squaring off before media.
“Everybody thinks I’m young, so that’s going to play a part of it. I definitely want the title. I ain’t scared,” said Wade, gesturing at Golovkin’s camp. “I’m going to put in this work.”
Overcoming significant odds was a recurring theme among Wade’s camp, and for good reason–the 25 year old is currently listed as a 35-to-1 underdog.
When Wade’s trainer, Jay Stencil, said “He’ll shock the world,” of his young fighter, he wasn’t exaggerating. Golovkin merely described his opponent as his “IBF mandatory challenger” at Tuesday’s press conference in Los Angeles. If Wade were to turn this would-be tuneup fight into an upset victory, it would send shock waves through the sport.
“I think you should be cautious in every fight you step into, but I think you should also take chances too,” said Wade in a media scrum Thursday.
“They’re making him [Golovkin] seem like he’s superman.”
Golovkin and his camp were characteristically diplomatic throughout the press conference, speaking warmly of their opponent in his first tour appearance (flight delays caused Wade to miss Tuesday’s presser).
“This is a position we find ourselves in right now, but we were once on this side,” Golovkin’s trainer Abel Sanchez said of Wade’s team.
“We’re going to train like it’s the best fighter in the world, because we know he’ll [Wade] be ready. We look forward to the challenge that is Dominic Wade.”
“New year, new fight,” Golovkin added, casually summarizing the sentiment of many boxing fans. The matchup fans have been clamoring for–against the 46-1-1, Saul “Canelo” Alvarez–won’t occur until at least September, paving the way for GGG’s interim bout with Wade.
“I am very excited for April 23rd, because this is boxing. I respect Dominic Wade, he’s an undefeated mandatory challenger for me,” said Golovkin.
“This is very serious. I have no emotion, I don’t know who will win. I am not God, this is boxing, guys.”
Golovkin and Wade’s bout, taking place on April 23 at The Forum in Los Angeles, CA, will be bolstered by an excellent co-main event; a WBC Flyweight Championship showdown between Roman “Chocolatito” Gonzalez (44-0, 38 KO’s) and McWilliams Arroyo (16-2, 14 KO’s).