If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.
Trainer Abel Sanchez stated in a recent interview that he believes his former longtime protégé Gennadiy Golovkin did not make “the right choice” when they decided to part ways in 2019. The break-up, which followed Golovkin’s close points loss to Canelo Alvarez in their heated rematch, was ugly and, in Sanchez’s words at the time, came down to Golovkin’s “insulting” compensation package.
Sanchez was with Golovkin for nearly a decade and witnessed first-hand how the Kazakh puncher rose from obscurity to become a household name in the boxing universe.
But since they parted ways, Sanchez has not been pleased by what he has seen from Golovkin’s performances inside the ring. Golovkin, who is trained by former heavyweight contender Johnathon Banks, has had three fights since the Alvarez rematch: a fourth-round TKO of Steve Rolls, a close unanimous decision over Sergiy Derevyanchenko, both in 2019, and a seventh-round stoppage of Kamil Szeremeta in 2020.
“Seeing some of the results of the last three or four fights, I don’t believe it was the right choice,” Sanchez said of his split with Golovkin in an interview with FightHubTV. “Not because I’m …a supreme coach. But sometimes when you’re doing particular things that are successful, as soon as you change those things…all of a sudden you change the routine and change the things you were doing, and things don’t go so well.
“Not that you’re gonna win [if you stick with what’s proven], but you have to think about your age: One, the opponents that you’re fighting now are just as hungry as you were when you were younger. The punishment you take may affect you later on in life.”
In previous interviews, Sanchez said he believed Golovkin had gone away from his offensive strengths since their split. But here Sanchez stated that he is more disturbed by Golovkin’s seemingly diminished defensive capabilities. Sanchez was particularly concerned about the damage Golovkin sustained in the Derevyanchenko fight, which took place at Madison Square Garden in 2019 and ranked among that year’s best fights. After appearing to be in control in the first half of the fight, Golovkin found himself in deep waters in the latter portion.
“The [pictures from the] Derevyanchenko fight showed me that…he wasn’t doing the things necessary to take care of himself,” Sanchez said. “Who cares about anybody else, who cares about the uncle, the brother, the wife. He’s the one who’s going to suffer all these things in the future. Nobody else.
“I don’t want to see him hurt. I just talked to (former fighter) Terry Norris a couple of days ago. I want to see him live a fruitful life, have fun, retire, enjoy his kids to the fullest. I don’t want to see him get hurt.”
Sanchez admitted that he was initially bitter about their break-up. But now he carries no ill feelings toward his former charge.
“The first week there was resentment,” Sanchez said. “Once I gave it some thought, listen, everybody goes different ways. I don’t want to see him hurt. But things happen.
“I have no animosity now, if that’s what you’re asking.
“I’d give him a hug [if I saw him in the street]. Nice to see you. You look good.”
Golovkin (41-1-1, 36 KOs), who holds the IBF middleweight title, is scheduled to return to the ring April 9 against Ryota Murata (16-2, 13 KOs) in Japan. Should he come out victorious, Golovkin may find himself in a trilogy against Alvarez in the fall, but that would also be contingent on whether or not Alvarez (57-1-2, 39 KOs) defeats Russian light heavyweight titlist Dmitry Bivol (19-0, 11 KOs) on May 7 of their 175-pound title clash at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas.