The former long-time Middleweight champion Gennady Golovkin (38-1-1, 34 KO) makes his highly-anticipated return to the ring on June 8, 2019. He will be taking on the undefeated, but relatively unknown, Steve Rolls (19-0, 10 KOs).
The contest is slated to take place at the famed Madison Square Garden arena in New York City and stream live on DAZN.
For Golovkin, he will be looking to bounce back from the first loss of his career. That loss of course, came at the hands of new Middleweight kingpin, Canelo Alvarez.
Both of these men engaged in two fight of the year candidate battles. Their first contest ended in a highly-debatable draw, while the second contest resulted in GGG suffering a defeat.
Many felt that GGG did more than enough to warrant a decision win in both contests.
For the first time in close to 10 years, Golovkin will enter the ring without any of his titles. He will also enter the ring with a new trainer since he has parted ways with Abel Sanchez.
Many have speculated that the split was due to money. Regardless of the reason, Golovkin will now have a new voice in his corner in the form of Johnathan Banks. Could the outside distractions be a factor for Golovkin going forward?
It is difficult to tell.
At age 37, the former Middleweight champion is in the twilight of his career. His opponent come June 8, Steve Rolls, is looking to take full advantage. In 19 professional fights, Rolls has fought no one of note. With that being said however, he has been praised for his abilities in the ring by great fighters.
Both Billy Joe Saunders and Adonis Stevenson have shared the ring with Rolls in sparring sessions and have deemed him a championship-caliber fighter. It isn’t just fighters who have given him much praise. Former hall of fame trainer Emanuel Steward once told Lou DiBella that Rolls is someone that he should keep an eye on.
“Rolls is an underdog in the fight but I’ll tell you this, Emanuel Steward once told me that I should sign Rolls,” said DiBella during a recent media session in New York City. “He told me that several years ago. If Steward speaks highly of you then that means that you are a very good fighter. Like I said, I think GGG should be the favorite, but Rolls has a shot.”
“You see what Ruiz just did and he was a huge underdog,” said Golovkin. “I’m not going to count this guy out at all.”
It seems as though the 2019 boxing calendar year is filled with upsets. Andy Ruiz took down Anthony Joshua and Julian Williams caused a major upset of his own when he defeated unified Jr. Middleweight champion Jarrett Hurd a few short weeks ago as well.
What seems to be a routine tune-up matchup for Golovkin could turn into something much more difficult.