Multiple-sanctioning body middleweight titleholder Gennady Golovkin and challenger Dominic Wade got together today in New York, going face-to-face at the second press conference for the fight, after Wade missed the first presser in Los Angeles earlier this week.
Wade (18-0, 12 KO), a considerable underdog and the mandatory challenger for Golovkin's IBF belt, is taking a massive step up in competition, but expressed no fear and no hesitation to face Golovkin (34-0, 31 KO), noted as the best and most devastating middleweight in the world today.
"It's gonna be a big day for me. It's a life changing event. I'm prepared, I'm ready," Wade said. "I'm just coming there to do what I gotta do. Everybody thinks I'm young, so that's gonna play a part in it. I'm definitely hungry. I definitely want the titles.
"Once they gave me the call, I was more excited than anything. I could've ran 30 miles right then and there. It's gonna be a show. I ain't scared. I'm gonna put in this work."
Golovkin was his usual self, calm and cool, thanking his opponent and the organizers of the event.
"New year, new fight," Golovkin said. "I feel [The Forum] is my second home. The last fight was an amazing time for me. I understand I can bring a great event, not just my fight, Chocolatito Gonzalez, too. I think this is a big gift, a big present to boxing people. I'm very excited for April 23. This is boxing. I respect Dominic Wade. He's undefeated, mandatory challenger for me. It's very serious. I don't know who wins. I'm not God. This is boxing, guys."
K2 Promotions' Tom Loeffler gave HBO Sports' Peter Nelson the credit for bringing both Golovkin and Roman "Chocolatito" Gonzalez to HBO, but Nelson deflected the praise.
"The people who deserve credit for Gennady Golovkin and Roman Gonzalez being on HBO are Gennady Golovkin and Roman Gonzalez," Nelson said. "These are two of the best fighters in the world, two of the top 10 pound for pound fighters. For us, it's a tremendous privilege to have two fighters who have been consistently knocking out every opponent that they've faced since 2012."
Nelson also discussed the difficulty of getting opponents for Golovkin, and praised Wade and his team for stepping up to the plate.
"A lot of fighters, when they're asked if they want to fight Gennady Golovkin, say, 'We'll fight him, any time, no problem, except it can't be on Saturdays, and it can't be on HBO.' So I really want to comment Team Wade for stepping up to the challenge, for fighting a fight that so many have turned down over the years, that we've seen again and again," Nelson said.
"When I first met Dominic Wade, he doesn't remember this, but it was in the Headbangers Gym way back when in Washington, DC, he had his arm in a sling at the time, he was recovering from something. And his trainer at the time said to me, 'One day, he'll be fighting on HBO.' And here we are, he's an undefeated challenger, he's fighting for a world title on HBO, for the unified middleweight championship."
Loeffler echoed the sentiments of Nelson, praising Wade's team.
"When the call came from the IBF, saying, 'OK, Dominic Wade now is the mandatory challenger for Gennady,' there was no hesitation from Gennady's side to face Dominic, but I also say, we did the deal with Tom Brown in about a week. There was no hesitation at all from the Wade side. Jerry Vines, I've known for a long time, a number of years. His adviser, Al Haymon, I've had a good relationship over the years. I have to give the Wade side a lot of credit.
"As Peter mentioned, not only all the different conditions, but one of the conditions is, 'We'll fight Gennady Golovkin, just not next. Not in the next fight.' With those kind of conditions, it's hard to put fights together, and there was really no hesitation at all."
"Like Tom said, there was no hesitation on Dominic's part," said Jerry Vines, Wade's manager. "They could've went in a different direction and got an exception to fight someone of lesser caliber than Dominic. But they wanted the fight, we wanted the fight, and April 23rd is on. I want to thank Dominic for actually stepping up to take this challenge that a lot of people didn't want to take, or wouldn't take.
"He said from day one, the first call I made to him and said, 'Do you wanna fight Golovkin?' He said, 'Hell yeah! Is it for his title?' So, yeah, he took the challenge from the gate. He never wavered. Like Tom said, it took a week to get this whole thing done, and we all know with the different camps and different networks, it can take a longer than that. But we got it done in a week."
The trainers also gave quick thoughts, with Wade's trainer Jay Stencil calling for the upset, and Golovkin's trainer, BWAA Trainer of the Year Abel Sanchez, saying that they wouldn't look past their opponent.
"We're getting ready, we're getting prepared for this moment. Dominic is working very hard," said Stencil.
"Mentally, he's prepared. He's a little bit more dedicated. I see he's very hungry for what he's trying to do and pull off. We'll be prepared for the moment of April 23rd. I think that we'll pull the upset. He'll shock the world this night."
Sanchez added a story element to the matchup, remembering a time in a gym years prior.
"This is the position we find ourselves in right now, but we were once on [Wade's] side [of the podium]. I know that these guys are gonna prepare to the utmost. I know that Jay will have Dominic ready," said Sanchez.
"Ironically, about five years ago, I was in a gym in LA, and one of the fellas that works out of your gym, one of the coaches, we were talking fighters. Gennady had been with me about six months, and we're talking fighters we had, and he said, 'There's this kid, Dominic Wade, who had a great amateur career, he's a young pro,' and he said, 'One of these days, maybe we'll be fighting each other.' And here we are."