Abel Sanchez is coming off of an impressive 2015 as not only did he take IBO middleweight champion Gennady Golovkin to a unifying title win, but he also came away with a personal award, being named 2015 trainer of the year. This year Sanchez has an opportunity to rise even higher as one of his other fighters Sullivan Barrera has a chance to unseat long time pound-for-pound standout, Andre Ward, and Golovkin may end up having a huge PPV with Saul Alvarez in the fall.
In part 1 of my “On The Ropes” boxing radio interview with Abel Sanchez, I discuss with him Golovkin’s upcoming title defense against Dominic Wade and get his thoughts on the challenge that is in front of them. I also get Sanchez’s thoughts on Amir Khan vs. Canelo Alvarez and what he thinks Khan will have to do to win. Additionally, Abel breaks down the Barrera-Ward fight and talks about what could be next if Barrera wins. Here is what Abel Sanchez had to say.
Jenna J: Gennady Golovkin’s next fight will be against Dominic Wade. What do you think of the opponent Golovkin has in front of him?
Abel Sanchez: Well, unfortunately for us, we were looking for a unification bout but because we have no unification bout, we have to do our mandatory and this is our mandatory for the IBF. Tureano Johnson was supposed to be the fighter in front of us but he hurt his shoulder, so we go back to number three, an 18-0 kid that we don’t know much about, but sometimes those are the dangerous ones.
Jenna J: Have you had a chance to watch any video on Wade? If you have, what do you think of him?
Abel Sanchez: Yes I have watched some video. There was nothing special in the video that I was watching, he’s a solid fighter with good fundamentals and had a very good amateur career.
Jenna J: How do you keep Gennady focused for this fight with potential bigger fights down the road?
Abel Sanchez: The focus is very easy because his mandate to us as a team was that he wants all four belts, he wants to be the unified champion and this happens to be one of the belts that he worked very hard to attain.
Gennady’s completely focused on Dominic Wade. Losing this means the opportunity to be the unified champion, so he’s not looking past Wade. The Canelo fight is something that has been talked about for September, but that’s very far from it being done.
Jenna J: If Gennady wins this fight, would you keep him on the shelf all the way to September or would you look to try to get him into the ring before that?
Abel Sanchez: Oh no, there is an order that I have a copy of, that was signed by all parties concerned. Golden Boy, the Canelo group, K2 and Gennady signed it, and it says they have fifteen days after Canelo’s fight to say whether they want to fight or not. Once they say they want to fight, they have thirty days after that to negotiate terms.
If they can’t come to an agreement, then it goes to a purse bid. And once it goes to a purse bid, all of it is handled within WBC rules, as far as the winning bid, the percentages to each fighter. It’s already on paper, WBC rules are going to govern that.
Jenna J: Canelo has a fight coming up with Amir Khan. What did you think when that fight was announced?
Abel Sanchez: I don’t think that’s such a bad fight to tell you the truth. I think that Amir Khan being able to move up in weight, maybe it will give him a better chin. People say he has a glass chin but I think that the weight may have drained him in the past.
About thirty years ago, a man named Roberto Duran moved up two divisions and fought Ray Leonard what was at the time the darling of the media, and he beat Leonard in Montreal. Then he moved up another thirteen pounds and fought Marvin Hagler at 160lbs, and lost a very close decision.
The weight may make a difference, but also you have to remember that Canelo will be 25lbs heavier after the weigh in. He’ll be slow afoot and Khan’s hand speed and foot speed may make the difference. Khan just can’t get brave.
Jenna J: Do you think Khan is the type of fighter that can pull of the game plan that Mayweather used to beat Canelo?
Abel Sanchez: That’s a job that Virgil Hunter is going to have to make sure that he’s on top of because I think that Virgil can keep him focused in the corner. Khan just has to listen to Virgil and not get brave. He has to listen because I’m sure that Virgil has looked at those tapes and I’m sure he has a game plan for them, and that involves staying on the outside and not getting brave, just fight your fight.
Jenna J: Sullivan Barrera will be taking on Andre Ward, a fight that a lot of people are looking forward to. What do you see happening in that fight?
Abel Sanchez: I have to give it to Andre and Virgil for taking a full 175lb’er on, a solid guy who is 17-0. We have a great opportunity for Sullivan, he’s thirty four years old, so we’re at the point where we have to take those chances with Sullivan.
I think we have a great shot at Andre. Andre hasn’t fought in a while and his opposition has been very limited. He’s had some injuries and some operations, so all that is a bunch of pluses for us. We’re very aware of the fact that we’re fighting one of the best fighters in the world, but we’re going to give it everything we got and hopefully that night the Sullivan that I thought that we had shows up that night and upsets one of the best fighters in the world.