Triple G: Getting Better All the Time

By Gordon Marino on October 17, 2015
Triple G: Getting Better All the Time
“Once you get into their head, once you get that trust, everything becomes easier.”

Golovkin is a quintessentially well-rounded fighter — but no matter how good, fighters need to keep improving, tweaking their bruising game…

This week I was able to corner Abel Sanchez, Gennady Golovkin’s cornerman and trainer for a short interview about Triple G and his unification title bout with David Lemieux tomorrow night.

I asked Sanchez about the sources of Gennady’s preternatural power.

“I think his power comes from a lot of different things,” he said, “first of all from God-given heavy hands, from his mother and father. But his balance and timing are so good, and the preparation for his punches, just setting up where he wants to hit someone — it’s not one thing but a combination of all those things.”

Despite his sleep inducing punches, Gennady is famous for his patience and for coming in behind the jab.

“We do a lot of jab work in the gym,” observed Sanchez. “That sets up a lot of the punches. He knocks a lot of people down with the jab. That power jab kind of sets the pace and the tempo for the others shots, because when he feints and you’re expecting a jab he can drop quick right on you. Gennady knows that the jab is responsible for setting up a lot of shots, so he puts a lot of emphasis on the jab.” 

Triple G is a quintessentially well-rounded fighter — but no matter how good, fighters need to keep improving, tweaking their bruising game. I asked Sanchez, where his star has been making strides. He responded, “Gennady has improved in all aspects. He has improved on the situation, by that I mean, the fights are getting bigger and as they do he is becoming more relaxed, more confident. He is confident about what we’ve done in the gym, confident in his background, confident that he can get anyone out of there at anytime he also has the confidence of knowing that he can take a shot.”

Sanchez added that Gennady, who spars with cruiser and heavyweights, has never been down or really hurt in 350 amateur fights and 33 pro tussles.

As for which paw has more dynamite, the right or the left, Sanchez said,
“To me I think the right hand is the better punch, but for some reason he has been knocking out people with the left hook lately, but if you saw the Geale fight, Gennady knocked him out with a right hand even though he was off balance — that’s how powerful that right hand is.”

When pressed about the details of gym work, Sanchez volunteered, “I am not a big believer in the punch mitts. This entire training camp we have done maybe 20 rounds of mitts. We don’t se the mitts for conditioning. We use them when we are working on a technique, trying to develop something better or new.”

The one aspect of Gennady’s cruel art that trainer and fighter have been focusing on is footwork. Sanchez noted, “More than anything we work on the feet. I want him to be in a position where he can use his footwork for defense, to get out of the way and not stand right in front of the other guy. But we are also working on Gennady getting his feet in the best position to get full leverage on his punches.”

When I complained that you don’t see much head movement from his charge, Sanchez countered, “I do care about head movement. But I have to say, Gennady’s sense of distance is just remarkable even to me. I see him in the gym every day. That sense keeps him out of harm’s way and yet always close enough to do harm. That sixth sense does not just come from the work that we have been doing but also from his 350 amateur fights, from his huge amateur background.”

What is about Lemieux that gives the Golovkin team the most concern? Sanchez did not hesitate: “The fact that he is a world champion. He has a lot of skills. He has obviously done real well in the last five years after getting on with Mark Ramsey. But most of all he has one thing that none of the other fighters we’ve faced have — that’s a world title belt. When he put that belt around his waist that made him a better fighter, because now he has something to lose.”

Before closing, I asked Sanchez about his personal relationship with Gennady. “You know,” he said, “it’s so important to have the respect from them — once you have the respect from them that you can not only teach but protect them in the way that they become better, that you make sure that they know that they are your priority. I think that is important because once you get into their head, once you get that trust, everything becomes easier.”

As for conversation topics, Sanchez said that he and Gennady mostly talk about boxing but also soccer and Kazakhstan. But he wisely added, “I don’t spend much time outside the gym with him or my other fighters. I want them to have their own life. I am with them for two and a half hours in the morning with the running and exercise and then and for two and a half to three hours in the gym in the afternoon. But the rest of the time, I like them to be by themselves, to act like themselves not with the coach, not with big daddy there.”

A professor of philosophy at St. Olaf College, Gordon Marino writes on boxing for the Wall Street Journal. He is on the board and works with boxers at the Circle of Discipline in Minneapolis, as well as at the Basement Gym in Northfield, MN. His The Quotable Kierkegaard was recently published by Princeton University Press. You can follow him on Twitter at @GordonMarino.

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  1. bikermike 07:07pm, 10/27/2015

    ..about that using your head….....not as a weapon…aka Duran…Holyfield..etc…
    Used to call it ‘bulling’ your head on the side of your opponent you wish to exploit..and push or pull him .....or her…nyuk where you wish to lay leather…

    Best example…Rocky Marciano

  2. bikermike 06:58pm, 10/27/2015

    That Canadian kid…who was the most recent WIN….for GGG…caught more lefts….than my first six girlfriends at the ‘ol Drive Ins…when I was trying to use my free left hand to get under their sweater…or into their pants !!

  3. bikermike 06:48pm, 10/27/2015

    GGG is good…..hope to see him clean up a lot of dead weight in his weight range…..not bounce around for plus or minus eight pounds….and pick off the low hanging fruit.

  4. bikermike 06:44pm, 10/27/2015

    No disrespect to the Canadian kid…...but his strategy of smashing his opponent’s fists…with his face…didn’t succeed

  5. bikermike 06:40pm, 10/27/2015

    Hope to see GGG against more equal matches than against that over matched Canadian last time.

    Like beating the toughest guy in Viking , Alberta….ffs

  6. Irish Frankie Crawford Beat Saijo aka Gimpel 10:53am, 10/17/2015

    I am well thank you, hope and pray you and yours are AOK as well….just saw a very interesting Youtube video of GGG mentoring Sullivan Barerra on how to use the head inside….not as a weapon but to control his opponent in the clinch….in other words not just hanging on until the referee breaks it up.

  7. gordon marino 08:47am, 10/17/2015

    Andre Ward won’t talk to you if you mention his name——I know that “easy to hit” line is complete pull. Slips very well. And his offense sure makes opponents think thrice about letting their hands go. Hope all is well with you Irish.

  8. Irish Frankie Crawford Beat Saijo aka Gimpel 07:20am, 10/17/2015

    Lot’s of shit talk coming GGG’s way lately based mostly on one good round from Monroe which has morphed into “he’s easy to hit”. Also, in addition to the promotional hype, flat out professional jealousy from guys like Oscar and Hopkins. Hoping Jacobs/Quillan is not a blow out either way so he can take a turn at KOing both at some point.

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