Unified middleweight world champion Gennady Golovkin has officially opened training camp.
Golovkin has returned to trainer Abel Sanchez's Summit Gym high in the mountains of Big Bear Lake, California, to prepare for his hotly anticipated showdown with former champion Canelo Alvarez, whom he squares off with in the main event of an HBO PPV card (9 p.m. ET) on Sept. 16 -- Mexican Independence Day weekend -- at the sold-out T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas.
"Abel has new ideas for this fight -- exciting ideas -- and I need to be my best to perform in the ring," Golovkin said. "I don't care about pound-for-pound [recognition]. This is real. This is about being the champion of the world."
Golovkin (37-0, 33 KOs) is aiming for his 19th consecutive defense -- one shy of tying Bernard Hopkins' all-time middleweight division record for most defenses -- when he faces the Mexican star Alvarez (49-1-1, 34 KOs) in one of the biggest fights of the year.
Golovkin had his 23-fight knockout streak snapped in a unanimous decision win against Daniel Jacobs on March 18 at Madison Square Garden in New York. Then, on May 6, Alvarez cruised to a surprising shutout decision against countryman Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. in a super middleweight fight, also at T-Mobile Arena. After that bout, Golovkin joined Alvarez in the ring to announce their fight.
"I've been waiting 20 years to be in a fight like this," Golovkin said. "Canelo is a different guy than anyone I have ever faced. He is a huge fighter and a great champion. On Sept. 16, we will both put on a great boxing show."
Sanchez, who has trained Golovkin throughout his seven-year world title reign, has never had cause for concern when it comes to GGG arriving at camp in excellent condition, and this training camp he said was no different.
"I was very happy with the first week Gennady spent in camp for basic conditioning," Sanchez said. "The most difficult thing to do with Gennady is to hold him back. Starting slowly is just not in his vocabulary. Gennady has wanted this fight for so long.
"I can already tell he is going to pull out all stops in this training camp to be at his best on Sept. 16. This is war."