When middleweight titlist Gennady Golovkin and former titleholder Daniel Geale square off on Saturday night (HBO, 9:30 ET/PT) at New York’s Madison Square Garden, it will not be the first time they have duked it out.
Back in 2001, at the amateur East Asian Games tournament in Osaka, Japan, Golovkin (29-0, 26 KOs) and Geale (30-2, 16 KOs) met in the welterweight final. Neither fighter remembers much about the showdown other than that Golovkin won a decision.
It was a long time ago and both fighters had a lot of amateur bouts. Golovkin, of Kazakhstan, had more than 300 in an amateur career that included a 2004 Olympic silver medal. Australia’s Geale did not have quite as decorated an amateur career, but he was a 2000 Olympian, whose Olympics came in his home country of Australia.
Golovkin said he "vaguely" recalls the amateur fight with Geale. His scant memories are simply that he "won going away" in a four-round bout with no knockdowns.
Geale said, "It was a long time ago. The only thing I recall is that we got the opportunity to fight at a few different international tournaments, and, for me, it helped me to step up. I got a chance to fight some of the best fighters from places like Russia and Kazakhstan, and I improved. I think I made the next step after. The thing I remember about the fight [with Golovkin] was that it went the distance and I didn’t fight as well as I wanted to. I was disappointed in my performance."
Unlike some amateur rivals who meet as pros, where the experience with each other sometimes means something -- Vernon Forrest and Shane Mosley, for example -- the Golovkin-Geale matchup from 13 years ago has no bearing on Saturday night’s fight.
"This definitely means nothing as far as Saturday goes," Geale said. "It was early on for me. It was early in my international career."