FRANK WARREN’S SCRAPBOOK – 28.1.16
Just what is Gennady Golovkin’s game? Football, it would seem, as well as boxing.
The Kazakh who is reckoned to carry more clout than any other current champion turned up at Upton Park on Saturday to watch West Ham earn a split decision with Manchester City.
Didn’t know he was a Hammers fan. And, neither, I suspect, did he, though he was soon draped in a claret and blue shirt with no 34 – his total of undefeated contests – on the back. Some smart PR work by the club.
All very entertaining and Golovkin clearly enjoyed the fame and the game. But what was he doing there?
It was reported that he had come to try and do a deal for a unification fight with new WBO middleweight champion Billy Joe Saunders yet I am Bill’s promoter and I certainly didn’t hear from him, though previously we have had discussions with his people.
Triple G, holder of the WBA and IBF titles, clearly wants the fight and says he would prefer to go after the belt worn by Saunders rather than chase a super-fight in America against WBC champion Canelo Alvarez.
Well, if they can come up with some serious money there’s certainly business to be done. Bill’s up for it but in the meantime he’s set to take a London fight in April to stay in trim.
Golovkin was quoted as saying he’d love his next fight to be at Upton Park, so was he simply doing a recce of the stadium which last saw a big fight when I promoted David Haye against Dereck Chisora in July 2012.
He’d better get in quick if that’s the case – unless Galliard Homes are going to promote it – because the Boleyn ground will be taken over for housing redevelopment when the Hammers move to the Olympic Stadium at the end of the season.
It seems Golovkin charmed the club’s fans, directors and players. I understand he had been invited to the UK for a few days by a British buddy who happens to know West Ham co-owner David Gold, himself a fight fan.
No doubt after watching the Hammers throw away what would have been a significant victory in the closing minutes Sullivan and manager Slaven Bilic must have wished for some Golovkin-type punch up front.
Talking of punch power, it will be interesting to compare the ever-smiling assassin’s with that of fellow European slugger Sergey Kovalev on Saturday night.
The Krusher from Russia has his triple light-heavyweight title return with Jean Pascal in another ‘biggie’ featured exclusively on BoxNation.
Kovalev will be seeking at least a repeat performance of his eighth round stoppage victory over Pascal two years ago.
But Haitian-Canadian Pascal, a former WBC light-heavyweight champion, believes the adjustments his new trainer, the esteemed Freddie Roach, has made to his game will bring about a different outcome.
I think that’s unlikely as Kovalev is in the G-Force class when it comes to body punching, as Nathan Cleverly will be the first – but not the last – to testify. It will be fascinating to see what difference Roach has made, though.
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In Frank’s Scrapbook tomorrow: Why we have the best boxing academy in the land.