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Steve Rolls shrugs off negativity before facing Gennady Golovkin: ‘I know who I am and what I can do’

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Steve Rolls is a virtual unknown in the boxing world, and he’ll take on Gennady Golovkin on June 8.

Steve Rolls has been chosen to face Gennady Golovkin in Golovkin’s return fight on June 8, which will also be Golovkin’s DAZN debut, live from Madison Square Garden in New York.

The fan reception to the 35-year-old Canadian Rolls (19-0, 10 KO) as Golovkin’s opponent has been lukewarm if we’re being kind, downright frigid more honestly, and that’s understandable enough, really. Rolls is unbeaten but unproven, and on paper doesn’t look like he’s near GGG’s level.

But take a few minutes to get to know a bit more about Steve Rolls here as he prepares for the biggest opportunity of his career.

On finding out he was fighting Gennady Golovkin

“Actually I was driving to the store one night and my manager contacted me, and he’s, like, ‘I’ve got some life-changing news for you.’ I was, like, ‘OK, really?’ And when he dropped it on me, I had to take a second to process it. I was losing my mind, man. I was happy. ... I didn’t call anybody (to share the news), to tell you the truth. Actually I had to keep it — I couldn’t let anybody know because it wasn’t official yet. I just kinda kept it to myself.”

“I put myself back together and I just was thinking about the opportunity, how I could capitalize, how much this could change my life, and how long I’ve been working hard and waiting for an opportunity like this.”

On the feeling to get this chance

“It’s very satisfying. It’s very relieving and it’s very satisfying. It gives you that feeling that, you know what, all this is starting to work out. It’s gonna pay off, all this hard work you’ve been investing in the gym for so long.”

On working as a personal trainer while fighting professionally

“The good thing about that was I was able to make my own hours and I did a lot of it in the boxing gym. I love doing gym stuff, I’m always fit, I’ve always been athlete. It wasn’t actually that hard. It would’ve been much harder if I got (an office job) where I had to clock in every day and stuff like that. That would’ve been too hard. But I knew couldn’t do that and be able to fight on this level. So I did something that was accustomed to myself and I was able to still focus on boxing full time.”

On whether he’ll keep working while he trains for GGG

“This is 100 percent Golovkin. No matter who I fight, it’s strictly put everything else aside, and it’s full training camp.”

On what he needs to do to prepare for GGG

“We’re working on bringing in the right sparring. That’s basically it. I’m always mentally strong, I’m always mentally preparing, as well. But there’s a few guys we’re looking at bringing in that I feel are really going to help us for Golovkin.”

On making 164 pounds

“I’ve fought at 168 — I’ve fought between 160 and 168. I don’t feel this is going to be a problem for me at all.”

On whether fighting over 160 favors him

“I don’t think it’s going to be a big advantage, to tell you the truth. If it is, he’s got so much experience that I think he’ll level it out that way.”

On what he thinks GGG has left

“I think he has a lot left. I’m training for the best Gennady Golovkin. People have been saying that he’s been declining slightly, but he just took a break. He might have rejuvenated, he might feel a little bit better. We’ve got to prepare for the best Gennady Golovkin possible for June 8.”

On dealing with all the media attention

“I like it. It’s something that I’ve prepared for, too. It’s something where I said, listen, when you get to this point, there’s gonna be a lot of cameras and stuff in your face. It’s good with me. I’ve prepared myself for it. If it gets too much, I just turn my phone off and do my own thing.”

On the cold fan reception to the fight

“I feel that if I was fighting anybody else besides Golovkin or Canelo, I would’ve gotten more of a fair shake. I think it would’ve been, like, ‘OK, let’s see what this guy’s about, he’s undefeated.’ But because it’s a guy like Golovkin and they want to see him in there with certain names, they’re going to start attacking him and I’m going to catch the flak for it as well. It’s negative, a lot of negative stuff, but I don’t pay (attention) to it. I know who I am and I know what I can do and what I’m capable of.”

On if the negativity bothers him

“It is upsetting, just because I’m not like that. It’s not like I went out calling Golovkin out and saying I deserve it over this guy or whatever. The opportunity was presented to me. For anybody that has an opportunity presented to them after so long, and they’ve been working so hard, I ain’t gonna crap on a man that takes advantage of it to support a better life for his family or get closer to the dreams he’s had forever, that he’s been working hard to get to — basically, to crap on somebody for taking an opportunity, that’s just not my style.”

On what he brings to the table for the fight

“I’m a well-rounded fighter but I’m unknown. I don’t think Golovkin or anybody’s really seen a lot of me. They really don’t know what to expect. And I’ll tell you the truth, even with the footage there is out there, it’s nowhere near my best. I feel I’m the type of fighter that rises to the occasion. The better the opposition, the better comes out of me.”