Felix Sturm will be in a ring with Gennady Golovkin this year, if Golovkin and K2 Promotions have their way. (Photo by Lars Baron/Bongarts/Getty Images)
Gennady Golovkin's team says that he's been trying to force Felix Sturm into a fight for two years running, and now they're trying to make that bout a reality by September 30. Dan Rafael at ESPN.com reports that Golovkin is itching for the fight he feels should have happened by now, and his new promoters at K2 are working on forcing the WBA to finally push "super champion" Sturm into a mandatory title defense.
From Tom Loeffler of K2:
"At this point, Sturm is running out of options. Sturm, at this time, holds the record for being a champion the longest without having a mandatory defense. Two years ago, Gennady was the interim champion and Sturm was the WBA champion. Sturm then got elevated to super champion. For the last two years, Gennady has been trying to fight him."
Golovkin (23-0, 20 KO) fought on May 12, smashing unqualified challenger Makoto Fuchigami in just three rounds of a blatant mismatch. But a win is a win, and there's no doubt that the 29-year-old Kazakh fighter is as ready as he's going to get.
The true questions now, are whether or not Sturm wants to fight him, and whether or not the WBA will actually force the issue as they've allegedly promised.
Golovkin states clearly that he wants the fight, and says that he believe Sturm doesn't want to fight him. The two trained in the same gym when both were with Universum, but Golovkin says they never sparred, and that Felix "knows (him) well and knows that he can't beat (Golovkin)."
Sturm (37-2-2, 16 KO) almost erased rocky 2011 performances against Matthew Macklin and Martin Murray -- a controversial win and a draw, respectively -- with his April 13 domination of Sebastian Zbik, but that may have been a smoke-and-mirrors sort of performance. Zbik has never really been a true contender, with a very fluffed-up record and no really memorable performances in his career save for his close loss to Julio Cesar Chavez Jr in 2011. Since people left that fight thinking Zbik was good and that Chavez was also good, they thus left the Sturm fight thinking Felix had turned back the clock, it seemed.
That may not be the case. At 33, Sturm is still a sound technician and a good fighter, and really, he's probably underrated in terms of toughness. We got to see him fight hard last year against Macklin and Murray. He can take some punishment. And given that he's been in with far tougher competition than has Golovkin, it's really a 50-50 fight at worst, I believe.
But so far all we've had is the up-and-down ride of trying to forecast what that fight would be. At one point, I was sure Golovkin would smoke Sturm. Now I'm not, and it's more to do with the career stagnation of Golovkin than the allegedly revitalized Sturm we saw against Zbik.
My point is, wouldn't it be great to actually find out? Sturm now promotes himself, so he's free to do whatever he wants, really, and it's up to the WBA to actually make this happen. Sturm takes his status as a "champion" seriously and won't want to shrug off his belt. If the WBA forced it, I'm sure he'd fight. The WBA has to force it though.