Former world middleweight champion Gennady ‘GGG’ Golovkin 38-1-1 (34) insists he isn’t overlooking his little-known opponent Steve Rolls 19-0 (10) ahead of their 12-round clash at Madison Square Garden in New York this Saturday night.
The fight will be contested at a catchweight of 164-pounds and will be streamed live on DAZN beginning at 7:00pm ET/4:00pm PT.
Golovkin, 37, said Andy Ruiz Jr’s upset win over Anthony Joshua for the IBF, WBA and WBO heavyweight titles on the weekend only served as a reminder to what is at stake.
“I’m very cautious and very respectful of my opponent. I understand his situation. I always think of my opponent as a professional. It’s very serious so I really understand it’s a dangerous situation, and I’m conscious of that,” Golovkin said.
“If you look at it partially, Joshua was terrible, Ruiz was great. You can look at various elements. It will probably be a big lesson, an important lesson for Joshua to learn. And also, I know Andy Ruiz. I’m not surprised of the outcome of that fight.”
Golovkin left long-time coach Abel Sanchez ahead of this camp and is now trained by Jonathon Banks.
“I think it’s going to be a very interesting matchup, because with Steve Rolls, he’s fighting for his chance to a new life,” Banks said. “And that never should be overlooked. It’s the same thing I said two weeks ago about Andy Ruiz. When I was asked about that I said, ‘I just hope Joshua is focused and ready to go because Andy Ruiz is fighting for his life’.
“When you have a guy who has nothing to lose and everything to gain, that becomes the most dangerous man you’ve ever faced. And that’s Steve Rolls. There’s nothing about Rolls that’s being overlooked, there’s nothing about him that’s being underestimated.
“GGG and I do plan on being successful on Saturday night. The fact that we’re not overlooking him, that’s not going to change our plan to be successful on Saturday night. I hope the crowd is satisfied with the victory.”
Despite the sort time working together, Banks says he has already established a strong working relationship with Golovkin.
“This man is already a complete package,” he said. “My goal, my vision is to get the knockout. The goal is always the knockout. Only difference now is it’s a different way of going about it. We’re doing multiple things and hoping to still get it. And if we don’t, still get that decision.
“We had such a short period of time. I think we jived together right away. For me and GGG, it was like ice cream and cake. I think certain things just fit well together, there’s no explaining.”
The 35-year-old Rolls from Toronto, Canada, who has fought five of his last eight bouts in the United States, insists he won’t be overwhelmed by performing on the big stage.
“It’s been a long road coming, a long time coming. Camp’s gone very well, and I’m more than ready to take on this huge task and opportunity presented in front of me,” he said. “As I said many times, this isn’t a tune-up fight. On June 8th, I look forward to solidifying myself as one of the best in the division.
“Even before I saw [Joshua vs. Ruiz], I had every plan of coming here to pull an upset. I know exactly what I’m capable of. I understand when you get two guys in the ring, anything can happen. When you count anyone out, I just don’t get that. Anything’s possible when you get in a ring with another man.
“I’ve always been very motivated and I’ve always seen myself mentally getting to this level. I’ve wanted all these fights, I wanted name guys, so for me to finally get this opportunity, it means everything, it’s what I’ve worked hard for my whole life.
“I rate [Golovkin] as one of the best. He’s been one of the most dominant middleweights in this last era and I still think he’s one of the top guys. He has so much experience, even dating back to his amateur career.
“I think he’s really an all-around fighter. He’s very strong. From seeing his training and stuff like that, it looks he’s trying to be a little more fluid, but who knows what happens when he gets hit in the ring, he might roll back to his old style.
“I’ve sparred with cruiserweights that knock people out and I was able to handle their power, so I’m aware of his power but I’m not worried.”