In looking at how flat middleweight champion Gennady Golovkin has been in his last two fights against Daniel Jacobs and Kell Brook, I’m under the impression that the 34-year-old was over-trained in both instances, especially for his last fight. Trainer Abel Sanchez talked about how much sparring Golovkin had done for both fights, and how he’d been sparring light heavyweights like David Benavidez in his last camp.
It’s pretty obvious to me that Golovkin was worn down by having to take huge shots from big guys like Benavidez, who is a very hard hitting guy and young at 19. At Golovkin’s age, he really shouldn’t be sparring that much for his fights, because it wears you down. Golovkin is said to have sparred 75 rounds in getting ready for the 30-year-old Jacobs (32-2, 29 KOs) for their fight on March 18. That’s too much sparring.
I think Golovkin needs to take a hint from how former two division world champion Sergio Martinez would prepare for his fights during the latter part of his career. Martinez wasn’t sparring at all, because he realized how much it takes out of you. Martinez was still very effective until he suffered a knee injury in his fight against Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. in September 2012.
Golovkin sparring 75 rounds is the equivalent 6 fights of 12 rounds in the course of 2 months. It doesn’t matter that Golovkin’s sparring partners wore bigger gloves, and that he wore headgear during the sparring sessions. Golovkin still got hit a lot obviously, and those were by light heavyweight. By the time that Golovkin got to the fight with Jacobs, he looked worn down like he’d left the better part of himself in training camp.
When you see a great fighter like Golovkin looking depleted like he’d looked in his last two fights, you have to look at the training that he’s doing to identify whether he’s overtraining, I like Sanchez as a trainer, but in this case, I think he believes that more is better, and that’s just not the case. I think Golovkin is hurting himself by training hard and going through grueling sparring sessions to get ready for his fights.
If Sanchez is smart, he’ll reduce the amount of sparring that Golovkin is doing to no more than 25 rounds in camp, and focus instead on building up his strength and giving him lots of rest. Golovkin is turning 35 in April, and he can’t be training like he’s 25 anymore.