Gennady Golovkin’s DAZN debut is official. The former middleweight champion will return to Madison Square Garden on June 8th, facing unbeaten Steve Rolls at a 164-pound catchweight.
“We went through a number of names, and for Gennady’s first fight on DAZN they liked that Steve Rolls is from Canada because they want to boost their subscriptions in the Canadian market. So that was one factor in Rolls getting the fight,” said Tom Loeffler, the managing director of GGG Promotions. “But they also liked that he is undefeated and that he is a hungry fighter.”
Rolls has been one of the finalists, alongside Hassan N’Dam, since first choice Brandon Adams elected to face Jermall Charlo. We know all about Golovkin (38-1-1, 34 KO), so let’s talk about Steve.
Rolls (19-0, 10 KO) is a 35-year-old who’s spent at least some time at the legendary Kronk Gym and bounced between middleweight and super middleweight since his 2011 debut. He’s had one appearance on a major stage, narrowly edging Demond Nicholson on a 2017 ShoBox card, and defeated KeAndrae Leatherwood last December in his first 10-rounder.
Rolls is easily the worst of Golovkin’s four major options, which included the three mentioned above and unbeaten Pole Kamil Szeremeta. BoxRec has him 94th in the division and 4th among Canadian middleweights. For reasons unknown to me, however, the IBF has him at #9 and Golovkin at #10.
But hey, he does have a two-inch reach advantage, so what do I know?