Matchroom Boxing promoter Eddie Hearn showed up to the press conference in a “Team ‘GGG’ Golovkin.” Gennadiy Golovkin seemed flattered.
But Kamil Szeremeta didn’t. You could even say that he looked pissed.
On paper, Szeremeta (21-0, 5 KOs) is the overmatched mandatory challenger to IBF World Middleweight Champion Golovkin (40-1-1, 35 KOs), who at age 38, is still among the most feared competitors in the sport. And Szeremeta is also the man standing in the way of what this weekend is really about: Could Golovkin have one final run at Saul “Canelo” Alvarez, who also fights this weekend, before his eventual retirement?
Though Golovkin won his first World Middleweight Championship in 2010, and is making a record 21st middleweight title defense on Friday night on DAZN, his true arrival into the mainstream came with his first HBO PPV bout in 2015. That October, his eight-round dismantling of world title challenger David Lemieux sold-out Madison Square Garden, accumulated over 150,000 PPV buys, and generated more than $8 million in revenue. Then, Golovkin held two of the major World Middleweight Championships, along with an interim strap.
Though he’s put forth an abundance of impressive victories throughout his Hall of Fame career, his two most significant high-profile bouts came in his fights with Alvarez. The first being a controversial draw in 2017, followed by a scrutinized narrow loss 12 months later. Many argue that Golovkin won the first bout, and some will say he was screwed out of both victories.
But Hearn entering the presser with the GGG apparel speaks to the stature Golovkin still maintains at his stage in boxing, even after a near-loss against rugged challenger Sergiy Derevyanchenko, who has more almost championship victories than the Houston Rockets. Golovkin still possesses enough mystique, ability, and fan interest to warrant a third contest with Canelo. In fact, he’s probably the guy to stand opposite Canelo, even today.
Golovkin didn’t say much at the press conference, but did promise his best.
“I don’t want to talk a lot. I just wanna show you everything on Friday,” he said, before later adding. “And I do take this seriously. I trained for this specifically, and I do believe that it will be a Big Drama Show. You will see the best Gennadiy Golovkin on Friday.”
Golovkin had been calling for a third Canelo fight since the 2018 loss, even having reiterated his claim after 2019 victories. And even though his Banks suggested that the Canelo fight should wait after taking care of mandatory challenger Szeremeta, he also acknowledged that this fight is a tune-up in the same breath.
Depending on who you ask, Golovkin ranges from being a -3,000 to a near -3,400 favorite. By most accounts, Canelo currently varies as a favorite in the -650 vicinity against fellow undefeated challenger Callum Smith. More outlandish undertakings have occurred, specifically in this sport, but conventional expectations suggest both GGG and Canelo should come away with victories this weekend, ideally setting up a Cinco De Mayo weekend trilogy fight between the two. Because that’s really what this is about, with respect to both Szeremeta and Smith.
If it wasn’t, Hearn — again, the promoter for the event – wouldn’t have worn GGG gear.