Exclusive Interview With Tom Loeffler - “Gennady Golovkin Is One Of The Hardest Punchers I’ve Ever Seen”
By James Slater - Currently in Las Vegas with his fighter, WBA/IBO middleweight king Gennady Golovkin, Tom Loeffler very kindly spoke to ESB last night. Talking about Golovkin’s upcoming fight with the likewise unbeaten Dmitry Pirog and other things, Tom had the following comments:
Article posted on 10.06.2012
ESB: Thanks for taking the time to speak with the web site, Tom. Fans are excited about Gennady Golovkin. The fight with Dmitriy Pirog is official now? And where will the fight take place?
Tom Loeffler: Yes, the fight is set for August 25th on HBO. The venue for the fight is not determined yet. We’re co-promoting the fight with Art Pelullo and he and Gary Shaw are working on the venue. It will be in the U.S and we’ll probably know exactly where in a week or two.
ESB: Will the fight be a unification, for Pirog’s WBO belt and Golovkin’s WBA?
T.L: It’s not clear what the position is with the WBO title, but Gennady’s WBA and IBO titles will be on the line. It’s not clear yet what will happen with regards to Pirog’s mandatory defence against the WBO interim champ, Hassan N’Dam N’jikam (of France). Gary Shaw is working on getting the [August] fight sanctioned by the WBO also..
ESB: Talk to us about the Felix Sturm situation. Sturm is the WBA “super” champion, but fans are still waiting for him to fight Golovkin. How long has Sturm been “ducking” Golovkin?
T.L: Gennady has been Sturm’s mandatory challenger for two years now. It’s frustrating [not getting the fight], but Gennady is happy this fight with Pirog has come about. This fight will be Gennady’s coming out party, so to speak. This fight will establish him in the U.S - Gennady only wants to fight top level guys. The fight with Pirog is a big deal, with two unbeaten guys fighting on HBO. Pirog already has a big win on HBO, over Danny Jacobs, and now Gennady wants to break through. I’m not taking anything away from Felix, he has a good fight coming up himself against Daniel Geale - but he’ll have to face us some time.
ESB: Is Golovkin the best middleweight on the planet in your mind?
T.L: There is no doubt in my mind. I have a lot of respect for Sergio Martinez - I took Gennady to his fight against Macklin at Madison Square Garden - but myself, Gennady’s trainer Abel Sanchez and the whole team feel Gennady is the best middleweight in the world. He makes my job easy, in as much as he will fight anyone; he has no qualms about agreeing to fight anyone. Even at 154-pounds, if the fight made sense, Gennady would fight there. And that’s how we want to market him: as a fighter who only wants the best fights all the time.
ESB: Gennady’s sure looked great his last two fights: destroying Lajuan Simon, who I don’t think had ever been stopped before, in a round, and then stopping Makoto Fuchigami inside three. We saw those fights in the U.K, on BoxNation.
T.L: Yes, Simon had not only not been stopped before, he had never been down in his whole career. And he’d been in with a lot of top guys; Arthur Abraham for example. And Fuchigami was the best middleweight coming out of Japan, he’d won his last nine, I think eight by stoppage. These weren’t household names, but they were solid guys.
ESB: At age 30, is Gennady at his peak or can he get even better?
T.L: I only see him getting better. He’s been with Abel for two years now, and he says he can see the difference since he got him. But he was a tremendous fighter before then; he had that great amateur career, when he beat guys like Lucian Bute, Andy Lee and Andre Dirrell. Gennady picked Carl Froch to beat Bute, he said he knew Froch would be too strong for him. But he’s getting better all the time now with Abel. Abel says he is trying to enthuse in him the Mexican style of fighting, the aggressive style. Gennady is one of the hardest punchers I’ve ever seen. He has to spar with light-heavyweights because no-one his own size is able to last. With his style of fighting, his KO style, Gennady will definitely catch on with the U.S fans. And as you say, his last two fights went out on BoxNation, so he has a following in England. As a matter of fact, there are some good middleweight names in the U.K, and Gennady is the kind of fighter who will come to the U.K, or Canada, or the other guy’s country, to fight. HBO and Showtime have a lot of interest in him.
ESB: How do you see the Pirog fight going?
T.L: Well, it’s not a given that Gennady wins the fight. Of course, we all definitely see him winning, but Art Pelullo sees Pirog winning. This is why it’s such a great fight - the type of fight that can’t fail to please the fans. It’s a great match-up.
ESB: It’s been great speaking with you, Tom. We look forward to Gennady’s upcoming fight with Pirog and then hopefully he gets the big, big fights.
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