Gennadiy Golovkin talks super middleweight debut ahead of Canelo Alvarez trilogy bout

Yahoo Sports' Kevin Iole interviews unified middleweight champion Gennadiy Golovkin, who faces Canelo Alvarez a third time Saturday at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas.

Video transcript

KEVIN IOLE: Hey, folks. I am Kevin Iole. Welcome to Yahoo Sports, and I'm bringing back one of the big fighters in the world. On September 17, you will see him fight Canelo Alvarez for the undisputed super middleweight championship. Of course, I'm talking about Gennady Golovkin. Champ, how are you doing, my friend?

GENNADIY GOLOVKIN: I'm great. I feel great. Amazing.

KEVIN IOLE: You've been at this for a couple of months now. Super middleweight debut is very close. What has training camp taught you about the difference in fighting at middleweight, compared to fighting at super middleweight?


GENNADIY GOLOVKIN: Indeed, it's a new weight division for me, and there are certain nuances, and we are making appropriate adjustments. My focus is on heavy training and my experience. I think the difference would be in making this weight, so I feel very comfortable making 160. From from time to time, I will have to probably wear this weight burning suit a couple of times, while, for 168, there is a chance that I will not need it.

KEVIN IOLE: Interesting. Gennadiy, is there a motivational factor in the fact that you have in front of you a guy that people think is one of the best fighters in the world, as opposed to someone, you know, you're a 15-to-21 favorite to beat? Now you have a guy that a lot of people think is going to beat you, right? You know, he has to win over you. Do you feel like that's a motivating factor and will bring out the best in you, and does it make it easier to train, given those circumstances?


GENNADIY GOLOVKIN: Yes, I would agree that there is a motivational factor, because you just see it as a challenge to yourself, and it speaks about how in-demand you are that you're getting this fight against, like, one of the best fighters, and it's probably the best fight in boxing right now. And, of course, you are ready to accept this challenge, and it motivates you, yes.

KEVIN IOLE: You are about 10 years in, I think, maybe, a little longer than 10 years into fighting in the United States. You came over in 2012, and you fought Gregor Prochazka in your debut on HBO. When you look back on that 10 years, are you happy, and did you accomplish everything that you wanted to do? Did you exceed your expectations? Are there things that you feel like still ought to be done that you haven't hit yet?


GENNADIY GOLOVKIN: I'm very happy with my career. I'm very happy with the results I've achieved during my time here, and I've been the world champion since 2010, and this is satisfying, to say the least. And, of course, there is always a desire to get more, to try some things, but, on the other hand, I'm very comfortable with what I got, and I have three belts in the middleweight division, and this is just great.

KEVIN IOLE: Your trainer, Jonathan Banks, made what I thought was an interesting comment to Ring Magazine. He was talking about comparing your third fight with Canelo to the third fight between Tyson Fury and Deontay Wilder, and he talked about how that was a brutal, violent fight, and while he didn't expect it to be quite as brutal as that, that he thought it was going to be more of a brutal and violent fight than it was the first two times. Those were both great fights. So what do you see being the difference, and do you agree with him that this fight is going to be more brutal?


GENNADIY GOLOVKIN: I'm sure that Jonathan can heat things up better than many promoters, including Eddie Hearn, and I'm also certain that there's going to be a very interesting fight, or be a lot of tension, and I'm just urging you not to miss the fight. Just watch the fight.

KEVIN IOLE: I hope I'll be there. Let me ask you this, Gennadiy. You know, your first two fights had huge gains. Both of them sold over a million on pay-per-view. I think one of them had 27 million, which is the third or fourth-biggest gate in the history of boxing, you know, an amazing thing. Is there an adjustment to those kind of atmospheres? Like, does it take a while to get used to fighting in that atmosphere, and does having done that now maybe make it a little easier for you this time, going into a pressure-packed fight?


GENNADIY GOLOVKIN: I would say that, being a big fan of boxing, I have high hopes that this fight is an opportunity to bring boxing back to the high level it deserves. Now, those four fights were on HBO. That was different times, a different approach, and when HBO decided not to continue supporting that, new companies appeared with a different vision. They made a number of mistakes, and I hope that this fight is an opportunity to bring boxing back to the heights it deserves, and thanks to the investments, to the selection of judges, to the selections of many components that are required.

KEVIN IOLE: I think, Gennadiy, boxing is doing great now. There's a lot of great young fighters. There's been a lot of great fights. And one of the great things about boxing has been your reign as a middleweight champion. And I want to ask you, for my final question, what are you most proud of-- as you go up in weight-- what are you most proud of about your middleweight championship reign? Is there something that sticks out to you that you tell family and friends, this is what I'm most proud of having done?


GENNADIY GOLOVKIN: I'm very happy, and I'm proud of being a champion in the middleweight division for such a long period of time. I have always been interested in the middleweight division and adjacent divisions. I followed legendary champions, and I have a number of achievements that I'm really proud of. I'm in the Guinness Book of Records for the largest percentage of knockouts in the middleweight division. I have the record number of title defenses, and I'm the most awarded boxer in the middleweight division. This is something that makes me proud, makes me excited, and I think that, yeah, those achievements in the middleweight division, yeah, this is great. This is something that makes me proud, and I hope it will make my children proud as well.

KEVIN IOLE: Well, I said that was the last question, but let me follow up with one more on that, then, Gennadiy, because you said you're a student of the middleweight division, especially. I always contend that there's been a lot of great middleweights, Carlos Monzon, Bernard Hopkins, Marvin Hagler. I still contend, to this day, that the greatest middleweight of all time is Sugar Ray Robinson, and I wonder who you think is the greatest middleweight ever?


GENNADIY GOLOVKIN: I think that they are heroes of their times, and you just cannot put them in a particular order. It just would not be right. How can you put one over each other, when you talk about Carlos Monzon, when you talk about Sugar Ray Robinson, when you think about Marvin Hagler, and his fight with Sugar Ray Leonard? It would just not be right. I think the fans would understand me.

KEVIN IOLE: I think you have a career as a politician, Gennadiy, when you're done boxing.


September 17, on his own, in Las Vegas, Gennadiy Golovkin against Canelo Alvarez for the super middleweight championship of the world. Gennadiy, thank you, and, Constantine, thank you as well.

GENNADIY GOLOVKIN: Any time. Thank you. Any time, sir.