Boxing trainer Abel Sanchez is one the most respected corner men in the game and he has IBO middleweight champion Gennady Golovkin on the verge of becoming a superstar in the sport. Golovkin is set to face Ring/WBC middleweight champion Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez in the fall and a win in the fight could see the 34 year old ‘GGG’ raise to a PPV attraction.
In part 2 of my “On The Ropes” boxing radio interview with Abel Sanchez, I get his thoughts on Sullivan Barrera’s upcoming fight with Andre Ward and if a win could see them facing Sergey Kovalev next. Abel also talks about Floyd Mayweather mentioning Gennady Golovkin in the press and if he could see Floyd facing Golovkin. Additionally, Sanchez shares his thoughts on Teddy Atlas training Timothy Bradley and if he sees that making a difference in the third fight with Pacquiao. Here is what Abel Sanchez had to say.
Jenna J: What do you think are Sullivan Barrera’s greatest strengths going into the fight with Andre Ward?
Abel Sanchez: I think at this point size is a big plus for us. Sullivan is a guy that works to get down to 175lbs, he’s a big light heavyweight. Andre is a super middleweight that has fought at a higher weight but he is a super middleweight. I think that will be an advantage and we have to use that in the fight, we have to muscle him and we have to make sure that we rough him up. It’s a twelve round fight so who knows what could happen in twelve rounds.
Jenna J: Andre is in line for a fight with Sergey Kovalev, but if you guys pull off the upset you may be next to challenge Kovalev. If Sullivan wins the fight with Ward, is there any type of rematch clause?
Abel Sanchez: After our last fight with Karo Murat, Sullivan became the mandatory for Kovalev, but I think it all depends on how the fight goes and if he looks well doing it and there’s a rematch, I don’t think Kovalev has to do a mandatory with us for a while. I think Mohammedi was the last mandatory for Kovalev, so he’s got maybe nine months.
We’re not looking at the next fight, we’re concentrating on Ward, but if the fight is a compelling fight and it’s a good fight for the public, why not make it a rematch? I think that both guys will come in even better in the second one, but if Ward happens to beat us, then maybe he deserves a fight with Kovalev. I think the public is looking for a justification for Ward to get those kinds of fights.
Jenna J: You worked with Sergey Kovalev in the past, what do you think about his rise up the division and him being regarded as the best light heavyweight in the world?
Abel Sanchez: When we had him in the gym, it was obvious that he was going to be something special. He worked hard, he was a very good student, a very good listener, great amateur pedigree. He wasn’t on the number one team but you could see that he was very skilled.
We had no clue that it was going to be such a great rise but Sergey deserves everything he’s getting. He’s done everything that’s been asked of him and hopefully he gets the big fights down the road that are going to make him even bigger.
Jenna J: I want to get your perspective on the upcoming fight between Manny Pacquiao and Timothy Bradley. Do you think Teddy Atlas will be able to get the most out of Bradley?
Abel Sanchez: I see the same thing happening that happened in the last fights. I don’t think Teddy is going to change a five time world champion. Teddy seems to just make it a show about himself and not about the fighter. Timothy Bradley is very skilled and he won five titles with Joel Diaz. If there’s anything that Teddy will do is make it more of a sideshow, I don’t think the improvement is going to be that dramatic for him to even come close to beating Pacquiao.
Jenna J: If Bradley somehow wins, do you think that is more due to Pacquiao being on the decline than the trainer being in his corner?
Abel Sanchez: Not only the decline but all of the side things that are going on right now with Manny. This deal with what he said about the bible and those comments that he made, sometimes those things take mental focus away from you. Freddie’s got a job to do to try to keep him focused, but if he gets beat, it will be because of all the side distractions and not necessarily because Atlas made a difference with Timothy.
Jenna J: Do you think Manny will really retire after this fight?
Abel Sanchez: It all depends on how he wins. If it’s a close fight and he barely wins, then yeah he retires. If he’s good and he beats Tim decisively then there’s a lot of good fights out there for him.
Jenna J: Are you surprised that Floyd Mayweather still hasn’t said anything about a comeback?
Abel Sanchez: He is saying things about a comeback, he just seems to be fixated on Golovkin. I’ve seen three or four pieces in the last couple of weeks where he’s talking about beating Golovkin, it looks like he’s laying the ground work for something, whether it’s Golovkin or somebody else. Floyd’s laying the ground works for a comeback.
Jenna J: Do you think he has general interest in a fight with Golovkin?
Abel Sanchez: I think you lay the ground work, you say things to see how people react, you say things to see if it’s something that the public wants and he’s gauging that. We’ve always known that Floyd was a great businessman, so it’s all part of a plan for him. There’s nothing that he says or does that is not calculated.
Jenna J: What is your prediction for Gennady Golovkin’s fight on April 23rd?
Abel Sanchez: We’re looking at Dominic Wade as the best fighter in the division. We’re looking at him as a tough challenge, and if he’s not then it’s because of our preparation. I look at Dominic Wade as a force to be reckoned with, whether it’s today or in the future.
I’ve been following Wade because he has a great amateur record and he’s 18-0. How he behaves on the big stage will determine how the fight goes. If he’s awed by the full house at The Forum or by Gennady Golovkin, then he may not fight his fight. If he’s not awed, I think it’s going to be a great fight.