Gennady Golovkin, who might be the best middleweight -- hell, one of the best boxers, pound for pound -- who you don't know, was at Madison Square Garden scouting Sergio Martinez Saturday night. The Kazahkstan-born hitter, who lives in Stuttgart, Germany, and is trained by Californian Abel Sanchez, told ESPN New York, in halting English, that he thinks he's the best middleweight out there right now, including Martinez, and that he would like an opportunity to prove it by fighting Martinez.
Asked whom he thought would win in the main event -- Martinez or Matthew Macklin -- Golovkin picked Martinez. "He has more power," he said. "I think by KO."
Tom Loeffler, who helps run the Klitschko brothers' promotional company, told me that K2 wants to do Golovkin-Martinez, but down the line a bit. First, the company would like to whet the U.S. fans' appetites by showcasing Golovkin on HBO. That could happen in November, Loeffler said.
Golovkin (22-0, 19 KOs), the 29-year-old WBA world middleweight champ (who happens to look nine years younger), stood by as I queried Loeffler, Golovkin's baby face not at all indicative of his chosen trade.
Golovkin wants WBA super world champ Felix Sturm first, and that could happen in September. Golovkin said he has been chasing Sturm (who also lives in Germany, so catching him shouldn't be that hard to do) for two years. Sturm next fights Sebastian Zbik, on April 13, while Golovkin will fight in May against an opponent to be determined. Loeffler also said he'd like, ideally, to see Golovkin take out Daniel Geale, the IBF champ, and/or WBO champ Dmitriy Pirog, to consolidate the crowns.
Sanchez, who trained Terry Norris and Miguel Angel Gonzalez, said Golovkin is better than Norris right now. He told me he has superstar potential, and more.
"He is by far the best fighter I've ever worked with," Sanchez said. Golovkin, Sanchez said, is more cerebral and a better technician than Norris, the ex-junior middleweight champ. "He's the biggest puncher you've ever seen, bar none. Nothing wild, nothing long, everything is compact."
I don't think I've ever come across a trainer as enthused about his client as Sanchez is about Golovkin. He said his fighter has already run Julio Cesar Chavez Jr., Peter Quillin and Alfredo Angulo out of the ring in sparring. Sanchez also told me he has a written list at his gym, with Muhammad Ali being No. 1, a blank for No. 2 and Sugar Ray Robinson at No. 3. Give it some time, Sanchez says he told Golovkin, and you will take that slot behind Ali. For that matter, I don't recall the last time I heard a promoter offer to put his guy in against anyone at 154, 160 or 168 pounds, as Loeffler did.
"Andre Ward?" I asked.
"Maybe, yes," Golovkin said.
Hey, I report, and hopefully soon we'll see this kid on American TV, and we'll all decide.