The prospect of fighting
Gennady Golovkin might not be appealing to most but to Osumanu Adama, there
have been three separate occasions in which the middleweight boxer saw his
chance to fight Golovkin slip away.
The first came in October
2012 when Adama was in the running to fight Golovkin January 19 on HBO.
Golovkin chose to fight Gabriel Rosado instead. Adama watched as Golovkin dismantled
Rosado in seven rounds, pummeling him to a bloody pulp before the fight was
stopped on cuts.
Rosado’s beatdown didn’t
stop Adama from wanting the fight. For Golovkin’s following fight, Adama was considered
the frontrunner to face the WBA champion in a tune-up fight in the luxurious
Monte Carlo. Adama, 22-3 (16), again was bypassed, resulting in Golovkin facing
Nobuhiro Ishida. Golovkin’s right hammered Ishida and jolted him to the canvas
in the third round, leaving the rich, well-dressed attendants with a “Knockout
of the Year” candidate.
Golovkin, 28-0 (25),
returned to the States and dispatched Matthew Macklin in as many rounds before
meeting Curtis Stevens on HBO last November. Adama, who was a backup plan in
case the Stevens fight couldn’t be arranged, saw his opportunity to face
Golovkin shelved again. Golovkin’s promotional team went with the bigger draw
At long last, Adama will get
his shot at the foe he has been chasing for 15 months on Saturday in Monte
“I was supposed to fight him
for a long time but that’s something we can’t worry about,” Adama said. “Everything
happens for a reason. I just let the promoters handle it and I knew it was
going to come.”
During that timespan, Adama
and the rest of the boxing community has seen the birth of Golovkin’s stardom.
The WBA champion has been backed by HBO and is now regarded as one of the best
fighters in the sport. Golovkin is seen as such a monster that oddsmakers set
the line at +3000 for Adama and -7000 for “GGG.”
Despite being such a heavy
underdog, Adama said the status doesn’t bother him.
“People can’t talk about
what I can do and what I can’t,” Adama said. “They don’t know me yet. If they
talk about me that way, I’m going to prove them wrong. I’m going to prove them
Instead, Adama’s been
focused on his preparation for the fight. This is Adama’s second chance at a
world title, previously losing a unanimous decision to then-IBF middleweight
champion Daniel Geale in March of 2012.
In the Geale fight, Adama
was outworked. Geale applied pressure throughout and Adama couldn’t adjust. By
the time the Ghanaian-born fighter tried to rally, Geale was too much in
control and already too far ahead on points.
“That fight, I wasn’t
myself,” Adama said. “The way I fought wasn’t the same. I don’t think I can be
the number one at 160 fighting that way.”
Adama has spent the last
three months in training camp in his adopted hometown of Chicago. He’s seen the
months go from cold to frozen, all with Golovkin on his mind.
While training, Adama relies
on what his two trainers, Sam Colonna and Joseph Owinongya tell him. He and his
trainers say this training camp hasn’t been out of the ordinary. Adama does the
usual routine. He hits the heavy bag. He does his pad work. He spars. It’s the
same preparation done at a longer rate, putting Adama in better shape, said
“We’re coming prepared
mentally and physically,” Colonna said. “We’re coming very prepared. He’s always
had problem with his weight but he’s already on weight. He knows this is do-or-die.
He’s right on the money already.”
Adama doesn’t watch tape of
his opponents and looks for weaknesses. He lets his co-trainers handle that for
him. How his trainers view Golovkin, however, actually differs. Colonna, like
many others, views Golovkin as a serious challenge and a major obstacle for
Adama to overcome.
Owinongya, on the other
hand, isn’t buying the hype and thinks Golovkin is overrated.
“The media is making him
seem like he’s difficult,” Owinongya said. “He can punch. He has very good punching
power but a good boxer has a chance to beat him.”
Still, Owinongya’s thoughts
of Golovkin being overrated are the exception in Adama’s camp. His promoter,
Cynthia Tolaymat of Chicago Fight Club Promotions says this will be the
toughest fight of his life. This is his opportunity, she said, for Adama to
make a huge impression on the boxing world.
“We hope the best,” Tolaymat
said. “[Adama]’s really going to be on his toes and on his best. This is the
best person he’s ever fought. We never know what’s going to happen. If Adama
goes all 12 rounds with him, that’s still a great accomplishment seeing that
Golovkin has stopped his last 15 opponents. We hope for the best and we hope it
goes in his favor but you never know what happens in that ring.”
Cooling down from a final
sparring session, Adama agrees that this is his chance. On the exterior, he
remains calm but there’s a subtle hint of confidence in his voice that tells us
the 33-year-old boxer has big things in store.
“Fighting Golovkin isn’t
something scary,” he said. “If I want to be middleweight champion, I’m
eventually going to have to fight everybody.”
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