Before entering the ring on Saturday night at Madison Square Garden, boxing’s pound-for-pound superstar Gennadiy “GGG” Golovkin (38-1-1, 34 KOs) from Karaganda, Kazakhstan and undefeated Top-10 contender Steve Rolls (19-0, 10 KOs) from Toronto, Canada, spoke to media and took the podium on Wednesday afternoon to discuss their preparation and mindset heading into their 12-round rumble. The fight will be contested at a maximum weight of 164 lbs. and streamed live on DAZN beginning at 7:00 p.m. ET / 4:00 p.m. PT. GGG vs. Rolls kicks off the exclusive six-fight, three-year global partnership between GGG Promotions and DAZN, the world’s fastest-growing sports streaming platform.
Undefeated super middleweight contenders Ali Akhmedov (14-0, 10 KOs) and Marcus McDaniel (15-0, 2 KOs), facing off for the vacant WBC International Super Middleweight title in the co-main event, as well as undefeated rising star Brian Ceballo (8-0, 4 KOs) of Brooklyn, against Bakhtiyar Eyubov (14-0-1, 12 KOs) originally from Kazakhstan, now fighting out of Houston, Texas, also gave remarks. Ahkmedov, from Almaty, Kazakhstan, enters this fight having claimed six of his last eight victories by knockout while McDaniel, from New Orleans, enters this fight fresh from an impressive unanimous decision victory over Brian Vera in February.
Gennadiy “GGG” Golovkin
“Thank you Madison Square Garden, I feel like this is my second home. This is awesome. Not just for me, but for sports. This is a big chance to show boxing fans my experience. You’re right, I had a long break, but I feel right now I’m still smart, and am coming back more strong. I feel my power. And of course Steve Rolls, my opponent. He’s an undefeated guy. This is serious business, very dangerous sport. I believe he’s ready for Saturday night. This is real life, real fight. Please welcome to MSG this Saturday night, June 8. It’s going to be an amazing show, amazing atmosphere.”
“I’m very cautious and very respectful of my opponent. I understand his situation. I always think of my opponent as a professional. It’s very serious so I really understand it’s a dangerous situation, and I’m conscious of that.”
“If you look at it partially, Joshua was terrible, Ruiz was great. You can look at various elements. It will probably be a big lesson, an important lesson for Joshua to learn. And also, I know Andy Ruiz. I’m not surprised of the outcome of that fight.”
Johnathon Banks – Trainer of Gennadiy “GGG” Golovkin
“I think it’s going to be a very interesting matchup, because with Steve Rolls, he’s fighting for his chance to a new life. And that never should be overlooked. It’s the same thing I said two weeks ago about Andy Ruiz, when I was asked about that. I said, I just hope Joshua is focused and ready to go because Andy Ruiz is fighting for his life. When you have a guy who has nothing to lose and everything to gain, that becomes the most dangerous man you’ve ever faced. And that’s Steve Rolls. There’s nothing about Rolls that’s being overlooked, there’s nothing about him that’s being underestimated. GGG and I do plan on being successful on Saturday night. The fact that we’re not overlooking him, that’s not going to change our plan to be successful on Saturday night. I hope the crowd is satisfied with the victory.”
“This man is already a complete package. My goal, my vision is to get the knockout. The goal is always the knockout. Only difference now is it’s a different way of going about it. We’re doing multiple things, and hoping to still get it. And if we don’t, still get that decision.”
“We had such a short period of time. I think we jived together right away. For me and GGG, it was like ice cream and cake. I think certain things just fit well together, there’s no explaining.”
“It was my dream to fight here at Madison Square Garden. We worked very hard, and I’m very grateful. We’re ready to fight and I think it will be a great evening.”
“Nine months ago today I was on my way home and a car pulled up alongside of me and shot at me 15 times. I was hit twice in the back and grazed in the head. I broke six ribs, punctured my lung, and broke my clavicle bone, and the doctor told me told I’d never be able to fight again. Five months later I fought Brian Vera and now I’m fighting at Madison Square Garden on the GGG undercard, one of the biggest meccas in the world. Coming from New Orleans, a small kid dreaming about this…fighting at Madison Square Garden in New York on an undercard like this – it’s life-changing.”
“Come Saturday, we trained hard, we did our thing in the gym, so we’re just waiting for Saturday to do our work.”
“This here is an opportunity of a lifetime, I think this fight is really going to showcase my skills. We’ve been working extremely hard at the gym just making sure that we perfect everything that’s happened at previous fights just to make sure nothing goes wrong at this fight. I’m so grateful. GGG, thank you for having me here on your show. I will not disappoint. And we look forward to what they call a scrap – 14-0 against 8-0, against someone who has 12 KOs…it’s going to be a tremendous fight, and you guys can’t miss it.”
“It’s been a long road coming, a long time coming. Camp’s gone very well, and I’m more than ready to take on this huge task and opportunity presented in front of me. As I said many times, this isn’t a tune-up fight. On June 8th, I look forward to solidifying myself as one of the best in the division.”
“Even before I saw [Joshua vs. Ruiz], I had every plan of coming here to pull an upset. I know exactly what I’m capable of. I understand when you get two guys in the ring, anything can happen. When you count anyone out, I just don’t get that. Anything’s possible when you get in a ring with another man.”
“I’ve always been very motivated and I’ve always seen myself mentally getting to this level. I’ve wanted all these fights, I wanted name guys, so for me to finally get this opportunity, it means everything, it’s what I’ve worked hard for my whole life.”
Re: the Raptor current run and representing Toronto during this time: “I think it’s tremendous. I think it’s epic. A lot of the younger kids, to see a guy from where I’m from, and to say – look where he’s at, look what he’s done. I definitely want to inspire the youth. And have more cameras and media pointed towards Ontario.”
On GGG: “I rate him as one of the best. He’s been one of the most dominant middleweights in this last era and I still think he’s one of the top guys. He has so much experience, even dating back to his amateur career. I think he’s really an all-around fighter. He’s very strong. From seeing his training and stuff like that, it looks he’s trying to be a little more fluid, but who knows what happens when he gets hit itn the ring, he might roll back to his old style.”
“I’ve sparred with cruiserweights that knock people out and I was able to handle their power, so I’m aware of his power but I’m not worried.”
Joseph Markowski, EVP, DAZN North America
“I’m still catching my breath after Saturday night. It was one of the most historic nights in the history of DAZN and more importantly, in the history of boxing. We’re now walking into the second of our three week residency at the Garden, and the fight this Saturday for me just takes on a whole new significance.”
“For Gennadiy, this is his debut on the platform, and we’re very honored and proud to have signed a long-term deal with him. For Steve, it feels like this takes on a whole new significance – you can have your Andy Ruiz moment. What a moment that was, and what a reaction that’s been from the world of sports and entertainment. Many of you might have seen Ruiz on Jimmy Kimmel last night. I don’t think that’s something he was expecting to do last Friday afternoon.”
“What a transcendent moment in sports that’s transcended the sport of boxing. It speaks to exactly what we’re trying to do. We recognize the power that boxing has to transcend beyond its four walls, and capture the spirit of sports fans. Saturday was fantastic for us and we look forward to an equally fantastic night with GGG vs. Rolls back at the Garden.”
“GGG at MSG are just two names that go hand in hand. We built his career here and I think because he’s fought here so much, that really helped us elevate his profile here in the United States. He has a new broadcast partner in DAZN and we’re looking to continue his dominance in boxing with DAZN.”
“When we were going through who would be the right fit for this fight, the return of GGG to MSG, we went through a lot of names. Lou had called me up and proposed Steve Rolls. He’s actually proposed him a few times over the past, said he was never able to get a big fight for Steve. As soon as we gave the green light to Lou, there was no hesitation on his side or on Rolls’ side. He wants to show that be belongs with a world-class fighter like GGG. He wants to show he has the same heart that Andy Ruiz showed on Saturday night.”
“Johnathon filled impossible shoes to fill. People say these are impossible shoes to fill. How’s Johnathon going to improve upon that success? I’ve seen him in training camp, I’ve seen the sparring, and there’s definitely a twinkle in Gennadiy’s eyes. He’s learning some new things, you see how fast he is on his feet, and this is really what fans want to see – how is GGG going to look with this long of a break, and a new trainer? That’s what we’re looking for Saturday night.”
“I think as a fan, I’d rather see a guy who’s more untested but unknown and has never tasted defeat as opposed to a guy who’s been at this level three times but lost three times, because you know what you’re getting. There’s a joy to that and there’s a joy to what happened Saturday night – people didn’t know what to expect. At least there is intrigue here. Andy Ruiz – his grand-kids are set for life, off of one night. One night. That’s the drama of boxing, that’s the theater of boxing, that’s what makes this sport so different than anything else. There’s no sport more unforgiving than boxing. No sport where you can change the fortune of your children – Steve just had his first child – and your grandchildren in one night. I’m thrilled to see what happens on Saturday night. I’m thrilled as his friend and his promoter, but I’m also thrilled as a fan. This is going to a real fight. This is going to be fun.”
“Most people have written Steve off, but I tend to think Gennadiy hasn’t written him off. I’m sort of giddy that he got this opportunity because I think he’s going to rise to this occasion. I just think he has everything to gain and so little pressure on him. He has nothing to lose. He can just go in there and be Steve Rolls, and I think Steve is good enough to compete.”
“Steve may not be a recognizable name but he’s a real pro and he’s never had this opportunity. But, every challenge ever put in front of him he’s met. What you’re going to get in the ring is a terrific fight and people will see, win lose or draw, what kind of fighter Steve Rolls is. The people who’ve been around have already seen what kind of a man Steve Rolls is. He’s as good of a man as you can find in the sport, as hard-working of a man as you can find in this sport. On Saturday night, I know the decision to give Steve Rolls the fight is going to be justified by what happens in the ring. I’m not crazy enough to predict against a HOF’er and all-time great, but I am confident enough to say a real fighter will be standing across from GGG and he’s going to give 110% of what he has and that’s going to be enough to prove to the world that he’s good enough to be there.”
The official weigh-in will be streamed live on the DAZN platform and social media channels on Friday starting at 3:00 p.m. ET. For more information, fans can follow DAZN’s U.S. social channels: @DAZNUSA on Facebook, @DAZN_USA for Twitter, and DAZN_USA for Instagram.
Promoted by GGG Promotions, in association with DiBella Entertainment, remaining tickets to the latest action-packed episode of the Big Drama Show — the battle between Golovkin and Rolls — may be purchased at the Madison Square Garden Box Office, all Ticketmaster outlets, Ticketmaster charge by phone (866-858-0008), and online at www.ticketmaster.com and www.msg.com.