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Middleweight champ Golovkin wants 4 fights in 2015

January 13, 2015

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Gennady Golovkin always wants to stay in motion.

Even when the WBA middleweight champion broke away from his near-constant training camp in Big Bear, California, to spend a few hours in downtown Los Angeles last week, he still managed to squeeze in an NBA game when he wasn’t talking up another big year in his rising career.

One of the busiest champions in recent boxing history intends to stay incredibly active in 2015, starting with his bout against Britain’s Martin Murray in Monte Carlo on Feb. 21. Golovkin (31-0, 28 KOs) wants to fight four times this year, keeping up the frenetic pace he has set since 2008.

And after 18 consecutive stoppage victories and 12 defenses of his 160-pound title, his team is determined to land the big-money shots at Miguel Cotto, Saul “Canelo” Alvarez, Julio Cesar Chavez Jr., Carl Froch, even Andre Ward — anybody who will test Golovkin’s entertaining brand of perfection in new ways.

“I respect all champions, and they are all champions,” Golovkin said. “I want to show my style to the world.”

Golovkin believes he deserves a fight with Cotto or Alvarez, who are circling a bout against each other in May. But Golovkin’s camp realizes the two bigger-name fighters are still wary of the Kazakh knockout artist promoted by Tom Loeffler and the Klitschko brothers’ company, K2 Promotions.

“The excuse that people don’t want to fight him because he’s too high-risk with too little reward is out the window,” Loeffler said. “His opponents are among the best-compensated in the sport because of HBO.”

Indeed, HBO realizes it has a star in Golovkin, and the pay-cable network has made the former Olympian into a prominent feature of its boxing coverage — a highly unlikely scenario when Loeffler and trainer Abel Sanchez took charge of his career just a few years ago.

Sanchez’s goal for 2015 is to make Golovkin impossible to avoid. Golovkin’s camp also still hopes to leverage his status as the mandatory challenger for Cotto’s WBC belt, although such distinctions often mean little in big-money matchmaking.

“In 2015, it’s going to get to the point that these guys are going to stop making the excuses that they’ve been making,” Sanchez said. “They’re going to have to get into the ring with Gennady. Martin Murray is a tough opponent, but Gennady is going to do what he needs to do on a different level. ... There are guys that are threats to him, but we have to get them in the ring.”

Along with the hefty checks written to Golovkin’s opponents by HBO, Sanchez and Loeffler point out Golovkin’s drawing power last year, when he drew more than 8,500 fans to Madison Square Garden and sold out the outdoor StubHub Center in Carson, California. Although he hasn’t sold out a huge arena, the numbers are impressive for a Central Asian-born fighter who was virtually unknown two years ago while living and training in Germany.

“What does he have to do, sell out Dodger Stadium before he’s a draw?” Sanchez asked.

Golovkin is a growing star in his adopted hometown as well. He moved to Los Angeles late last year with his wife and young son, giving up Stuttgart’s brutal winters for year-round sun and surf.

He nearly landed a big-money bout with Chavez at the Forum last summer, but Chavez eventually decided not to take the fight. Loeffler hopes Golovkin will land a fight worthy of that famed building this year, and he expects an enthusiastic reception in L.A.

“People are starting to run out of excuses, because Gennady brings big numbers now,” Loeffler said. “I’m optimistic that this is our breakout year.”