Gennadiy Golovkin is hoping some Kronk influence will help him get the better of bitter rival Canelo Alvarez.
The 40-year-old Kazakh KO star takes on the Mexican in a blockbuster battle this weekend in Las Vegas for all four world titles at super-middleweight. The pair have shared the ring twice before with a controversial draw the outcome of the first fight and an Alvarez win in the second leaving Golovkin angry.
But now, four years on from their last meeting, Golovkin is looking to avenge his only career defeat in 44 fights and he will have a disciple of the legendary and late trainer Emanuel Steward in his corner.
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Golovkin teamed up with Johnathon Banks back in 2019 after his loss to Alvarez.
Banks fought under Steward and then took over the reins as trainer of Wladimir Klitschko when his mentor fell ill and passed away in 2012.
Steward had formed the legendary Kronk gym and trained some of boxing’s best in Thomas Hearns and Lennox Lewis.
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“I had the honour of knowing him personally,” said Golovkin. “He was a big man, a true expert and Banks grew up in that school with that experience of the Kronk Gym.
“He’s brought that into my training, he’s been sharing it, it's a grand experience, it’s enormous and unforgettable. We look back at what he did for fighters like Lennox Lewis, Wladimir Klitschko, all the training and preparation from that.
“JB is able to use those experiences and bring them to my camp. I’m extremely grateful to him for that. Any fighter would appreciate what JB does.”
Whether or not it can be the key, at 40, to finally getting a win over Canelo and ending their rivalry will be proven at the weekend at the T-Mobile Arena in Sin City. But the Kronk magic adds another plot line to this well-told story in what will go down as one of boxing’s best trilogies.
The Detroit gym is part of boxing folklore. Banks continues the legacy along with Steward’s nephew and Tyson Fury trainer SugarHill as well as Irishman Andy Lee, another Kronk fighter, who is making his way as a coach now.
“I think it’s amazing that we are all continuing his story but also you have to put Manny Steward on a new level,” said Banks.
“Look how many people it takes to carry on his legacy? That’s how special he is. One person can’t do it. It takes multiple people from multiple countries.”
Banks remembers watching Golovkin with Steward when the Kazakhstan fighter was winning amateur world championships and Olympic silver.
“We talked about him a lot,” said Banks, who challenged for a world title at cruiserweight. “We would watch him together when he was an amateur.
“Manny was impressed with his boxing and Manny was impressed with him as a professional and how he would finish fights, with the power he had but he was a laid back, nice guy.”
Banks insists he hasn’t added too much to Golovkin’s repertoire since replacing Abel Sanchez as trainer but has made adjustments to refine the powerful puncher and ensure he is not searching for just one knockout shot.
GGG will fight in Vegas for the first time since those two controversial decisions with Alvarez but he has no fears over the judging in Sin City. The laid-back boxer is just anticipating the win he feels he has deserved in each of their previous two fights and becoming undisputed super-middleweight champion.
“This victory would mean more than anything else,” added Golovkin.
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