|Abel Sanchez: "Fighting Pacquiao would be more unfair than GGG fighting Cotto. I don't see anyone but Mayweather having a shot at Gennady" - Doghouse Interview
By David Tyler, Doghouse Boxing (Aug 8, 2014)
Abel Sanchez and GGG
Beyond any doubt Abel Sanchez is the best trainer in boxing. Look at the magnificent job he has done with the best fighter in the business, Gennady Golovkin. Abel has been training fighters for over 30 years. Abel's work has resulted in 11 world champions including the great Terry Norris. Please welcome the 2014 trainer of the year into the Doghouse...
David Tyler: Abel I would like to congratulate you on the great work you have done with the top middleweight in the world, Gennady Golovkin. I have many questions about the triple G but first, would you please tell our readers how you become interested in this sport?
Abel Sanchez: Thank you for the kind words about my work with Gennady. I started in a boxing gym in El Monte as a kick boxer when I was about 18 years old. I fought amateur fights for a few years. I am a moving contractor by trade and the fighting aspect of boxing interfered with my schedule as a contractor. What time I did have, I would help out in the gym with Ben Lira who is my assistant in my corner. I started learning the training aspect of the sport and that was back in 1977.
DT: How long have you been training fighters in Big Bear?
AS: I started coming to Big Bear in 1992 with Joe Goossen and his team to train fighters. In 1996 I brought Miguel Angel Gonzalez to train for the De La Hoya fight and stayed. In 1996 and 1997 I purchased property up here and started development of a gym. I have been a permanent resident since mid 1996.
DT: Let's go to the main event...Gennady Golovkin. How did you get the opportunity to train this exceptional boxer?
AS: I opened up my current gym in 2008. I was training some young fighters like Carlos Baldomir and other young undefeated fighters. When people found out I had a house and gym in Big Bear, I started receiving offers to train fighters. This took up so much of my time that I had to give up the construction business and focus on boxing. In 2010 I received a call from Max Herrman who along with his brother Oleg are the managers for Gennady. They weren't pleased with the way Universum was handling Gennady, and they wanted to bring him to the United States and try their luck here.
DT: Did you meet them in Big Bear or go to Germany?
AS: Here in Big Bear. The Herrman brothers wanted to meet me and see my gym. Gennady brought some videos of his previous fights. He and I studied those fights while the brothers looked over the local area. Gennady and I had a good discussion about his current style of fighting and what we could do for improvement. That evening we all went out to dinner and talked more about boxing. The next morning we had breakfast and they left by saying "we will see you in a couple of months." I really didn't think much would happen but a couple of months later I got a call from one of the brothers who asked me to pick up Gennady at the airport Sunday.
DT: That must have been a great feeling?
AS: I pulled the phone away from my ear thinking this must be a joke. Two months later we fought in Panama for the title and it's been a great ride from the beginning. This kid is just unbelievable!
DT: I have never seen a fighter cut off the ring as well as Gennady. Did you teach him this tactic?
AS: When I first saw the tapes of his fights, I had no idea that he had heavy hands and other type skills. We had spoke about the areas of improvement and about a month later I show him a tape of Julio Cesar Chavez vs. Edwin Rosario. I told him at that point, if you stay with me for three years, you will be undefeated, the most feared fighter in boxing, and we won't be able to get you a fight. I can mold you like Chavez except you can punch, you will be able to knock out fighters with body shots. Then we started with the footwork.
DT: Did he believe you?
AS: He said, Coach that's not going to happen. I said, "son you give me three years without interruptions and it will happen." Sure enough we are at that point. It was a lot of work to complete the process. Gennady is a very intelligent young man which made it easier to mold him to be successful at the top level.
DT: Let's talk about some possible opponents for Golovkin. How about Miguel Cotto?
AS: No, I don't think that Miguel's people are considering a fight with Gennady. At least for now. If he fights Canelo and beats him then maybe he will be in position to fight Gennady. The fight would have to be so lucrative for Miguel that he couldn't turn it down. I doubt that fight will ever happen.
DT: Have I put the cart ahead of the horse? By that I mean is Golovkin a big enough name to draw fans for a PPV event?
AS: David we have only been on HBO for a couple of years. If you think about Floyd Mayweather and Manny Pacquiao, it took them a long time to get where they had a huge following on PPV. We are not in a hurry for a big PPV event. The big names will come eventually but the bad part is Gennady is 32 years old.
DT: If Cotto fights Canelo, who wins?
AS: Canelo would have the advantage in my opinion. But Cotto is a master that's been around a long time and gets the job done. I still see the younger man, Canelo winning by a close decision.
DT: I have seen Canelo on HBO saying that all he wants is a fighter that will stand and throw down with him. You have such a fighter in Golovkin.
AS: Yeah he may say that but I don't think it will happen. Mayweather stood in front of him and Canelo did not fight him. Canelo wants to react to what you do, he doesn't seem to want to initiate or make it a fight. It seems like he wants to be a counter puncher. As much as he says he wants to be the aggressor, he is certainly not the aggressor.
DT: Speaking of Mayweather, how will he do in the rematch against Maidana?
AS: It will be an easier fight for Mayweather because he is the type fighter that can size up an opponent after a few rounds and he has had 12 rounds to figure this guy out. I think Mayweather won the first fight 8 rounds to 4. He should have an easier time with Madiana this time.
DT: Mayweather's father is on record saying he doesn't want his son to fight Golovkin. Your thoughts?
AS: I agree because Mayweather doesn't gain much weight. There is also the business aspect and Mayweather is certainly a businessman. If there is a lot of money out there and Mayweather is about the money. He wouldn't fight Gennady like he did Canelo but he is a very clever fighter. You never know what he will do.
DT: You have many years with this sport. Have you ever seen a better boxer than Floyd Mayweather Jr.?
AS: No, certainly not at lightweight to welterweight. I have noticed that when he tries changing his style to please the fans, he gets hit a little too much.
DT: Gennady takes a punch well, how about his head movement?
AS: I get asked that all the time. If you look at the stats Gennady ranks third for taking the fewest punch. Because his game is aggressive, he will take some shots to get his shots. If you look at the other side of the coin, his connect percentage is up at the top.
DT: He certainly has answered most of the questions about taking a punch and we all are aware of his power. That's a scary combination. If Miguel Cotto doesn't fight Gennady, who's next?
AS: Hopefully we have a middleweight unification in his future, I know his team is working on that goal which would possibly include fighting one of the other champions in the fall. I will say this, there is nobody out there that that would make me say no. Make us an offer and we will consider all offers.
DT: Abel, has Gennady had a million dollar payday?
AS: The purse numbers you see on TV are the numbers negotiated for the commission. Every fighter on that level has many sponsors and they get a percentage of the TV money. So by the time all money is in the pot, yes he has had several fights where he has made a million dollars.
DT: Good for him! Abel is it fair to say that if Gennady was from one of the boroughs in New York City or from Mexico...he would be the biggest star in boxing today?
AS: I agree with you 100% but hopefully his style will cross boundaries. He has only been on the American scene for less than two years. In time we hope to gain a large following. His style resembles that of a Mexican warrior and the fans like this type of fighter. All he needs is one marquee name on his resume and that will put him over the top. Unfortunately the marquee fighters are not coming to us and signing contracts.
DT: After Gennady's last victory on HBO, some comments from Carl Froch were read and it doesn't appear like he wants to fight Gennady?
AS: If Carl Froch is able to get by Chavez Jr. here in America, then I think his thoughts will be that he is near the end of his career and maybe take a chance on a fight with Gennady. I think he would want the fight in England where he is a very good draw. He recently put 80,000 fans in Wembley Stadium. Maybe he could pull those kind of numbers with Gennady and we could fight him there. We've made the statement that Gennady will fight anyone from 154 to 168 as long as it is finically feasible and we still stand by that statement.
DT: Even Andre Ward?
AS: Certainly but Andre is going to want the lion's share of everything even though he doesn't have the fan base like Gennady. That's not financially feasible. If Andre comes to the table with an offer fair to both fighters then we are ready. However, Gennady wants to unify the title because it is in his best interest, he wants to be considered the best middleweight in the sport. Even if we went up to 168, he would come back down to middleweight and unify those titles.
DT: The Middleweight Champion of the World is a very sexy title. How great it would feel if Gennady were to unify the alphabet soup of middleweight titles?
AS: Yes it would be great. The middleweight and the heavyweight championships in all the history of boxing have been the most admired, and most desirable titles. Gennady is a enough of a boxing buff to know this.
DT: Abel, with 17 straight knockouts Gennady appears vulnerable only to Gold Kryptonite. Is there anyone who could go the distance with GGG?
AS: Just my opinion but there are three possibilities. Those three would be Chavez Jr., Froch, and Ward. But Gennady would easily win those fights.
DT: Let's fight one of those guys!?
AS: Right now Gennady is looking so destructive that it is near impossible to make a fight. Chavez Jr. turned down close to $17 million dollars and he didn't even have to win a round. That's just plain ridiculous. Very few fighters make that kind of money. I just don't understand the thought process when we have made legitimate offers to all three of these fighters but have no takers. Where else are they going to get those kind of paydays?
DT: A question about Gennady's conditioning. Is he a gym rat who is constantly working out or does he do nothing until training camp then work his tail off?
AS: When Gennady leaves camp and goes home, his family is his focus. Nothing about boxing or training is discussed. He is totally devoted to his family. When he comes to camp he has never been more than 10 pounds over his fighting weight. He is not a big middleweight but he takes care of himself and works very hard...he understands his part of the business. I run a tough camp and very few fighters are willing to work hard and I have a high dropout rate this is a serious business and I would not be the trainer of Gennady if I was anything less than tough. That's how I got to this point in my career.
DT: Abel, you trained Hall of Fame fighter Terry Norris, at what point in Terry's career did you start working with this future champion?
AS: Terry had only had a few fights when I started as his trainer. I took Lupe Aquino to France for a fight with Emanuel Steward's young fighter, Duane Thomas. When I came back, Terry and his people were in my office offering me the opportunity to be Terry's trainer.
DT: Pardon me for asking this question. Who wins this fight - Terry Norris vs. Gennady Golovkin?
AS: Gennady would knock him out. Gennady is a very special fighter. Terry was a great athlete, he went to Baylor on a baseball scholarship. Gennady's strength and determination would eventually wear Terry down.
DT: It's mandatory that I also ask about a fight with Manny Pacquiao. Is he just too small and the fight would be unfair. Something like George Foreman and Joe Frazier?
AS: Fighting Pacquiao would be more unfair than Gennady fighting Cotto. I really don't see anyone but Floyd Mayweather Jr. having a shot at Gennady in the lower weights. Again, Floyd is an exceptional talent. He is probably the only one at 154 who would be smart enough to not get stopped and make it an interesting fight.
DT: Last question. I have read that GGG has a contract to fight on HBO. Is that correct and are any of the fights PPV?
AS: Yes that is correct. He has about four more fights left on the contract. As far a PPV events that would be up to the network. Of course it would have to someone with name recognition in this sport. A lot of names are being tossed about but time has a way of sorting these situations out.
DT: I lied. I forgot to ask you about Peter "Kid Chocolate" Quillin. How does he fare against the triple G?
AS: They offered him a huge amount of money to fight Gennady on July 26 but for some reason his team turned down the money. I know that sounds crazy but that was during the Golden Boy/ Schaefer era. Now that (Richard) Schaefer is gone, there may be more of a possibility making the fight.
DT: Abel thank you for the interview. I look forward to visit you at the gym in Big Bear and watching GGG workout. You have worked very hard and it's all beginning to pay off for you and your team.
AS: David, thank you and yes I look forward to meeting you! I want all of Gennady's fans to know how much we appreciate their efforts. We will not stop trying to get him in the ring with the best in his division. Take Care.
***David Tyler replies to all his e-mails and loves to hear from the readers. Comments, Questions, Suggestions, E-mail David now at: email@example.com
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