This site reported last December that Billy Joe Saunders was lining up Canelo Alvarez and Gennady “GGG” Golovkin for his next fights, and even interrupted the press conference for their first fight back in 2017 when he confronted Golovkin for not agreeing to fight him. Canelo-GGG II took place this week, and, inevitably, commanded much of the attention of the international boxing community before and after the rematch. Spectators are still split on who they believe won the fights, with a draw being ruled in the first meeting and Canelo winning the return.
Both fighters are fairly well-known in the ring, but Canelo has been the poster boy ever since his one and only conqueror Floyd Mayweather Jr. retired. With the moniker “GGG,” a hard-hitting reputation, and a name in Golovkin that makes him sound like either a mythical monster or a Cold War villain, he is sometimes regarded only on a surface level. That is, we know him as a menace in the ring and an almost folk-like character in the world of boxing - but even some dedicated fans of the sport don’t know very much about him beyond that. So, with Canelo-GGG II still causing a stir, we’re doing a look at 10 interesting facts you may not know about the 36-year-old Kazakhstani.
1. Golovkin Is Of Russian & Korean Descent
Many realize that Golovkin fights for Kazakhstan, and many more likely assume he has a Russian or Soviet background simply because of his name. As a matter of fact however, he was born to a woman from Korea (with a Russian father).
2. He Trains In California
Gennady Golovkin supposedly still speaks with limited English, yet he’s made a home in California where he trains for much of the year. Famous boxing trainer Abel Sanchez actually wrote about Big Bear, California for the Players’ Tribune, noting that it’s long been a favourite spot for training because of its high altitude and its general remoteness from the rest of society. He cited Mike Tyson and Lennox Lewis among the fighters who preceded Golovkin in the area.
3. Golovkin’s Amateur Record Was Insane
According to multiple sources, Golovkin fought an astounding 350 times before ever turning pro, and lost only five of those fights. That means he stepped into a ring and won 345 times before he became a professional puncher.
4. He’s One Of History’s Most Proficient K.O. Winners
Golovkin famously had a streak of 23 knockouts in a nine-year span from 2008 to 2017, ultimately elevating him to status as one of the best pound-for-pound fighters on Earth. According to his Wikipedia page, citing numerous articles about him, it also gives him an 87.2% knockout-to-win percentage, which is the highest in middleweight championship history and even listed in the Guiness Book of Records for the fearsome feat.
5. He Has Trouble Finding Sparring Partners
This makes perfect sense given Golovkin’s aforementioned reputation as a heavy hitter. It was actually stated in a preview for the second Canelo-GGG fight that Golovkin’s best chance was to entice Alvarez to go toe-to-toe with him in close, which actually worked in the Mexican's favour instead. This is where his reputation for power precedes him, and it’s where - apparently - no one wants a piece of him in practice!
6. Golovkin Has A Twin Brother
His name is Max, and he doesn’t just help with Golovkin’s fights because they’re brothers. He had an amateur boxing career himself, and was actually successful for his age up to a certain point.
7. Their Other Brothers Were Killed
In what we can only imagine is the tragedy of Golovkin’s like, he and Max’s older brothers, Vadim and Sergey, both died while serving in the Russian army. Gennady was still a child, but was old enough to remember his brothers.
8. His Son Is Named After One Brother
Golovkin and his wife have two children - a son and a daughter. The son, who is the elder of the two, is named Vadim.
9. He's Never Been Knocked Down In A Fight
...Not even as an amateur.
10. Golovkin Was Born In The Soviet Union
We mentioned that some might assume a Soviet background because of his name, and while Golovkin is Kazakhstani, they’d ultimately be half-right. At 36-years-old, Golovkin was actually born in the then-Soviet state of Kazakh SSR, some seven years before the Soviet Union began to crumble.