After a run of upsets over the past month in boxing, middleweight star Gennadiy Golovkin isn’t taking unbeaten but unproven Steve Rolls lightly ahead of Saturday’s fight at New York’s Madison Square Garden, where just days ago, Andy Ruiz Jr shocked the world and upset Anthony Joshua.
Golovkin (38-1-1, 34 KO) is making his DAZN debut on Saturday, with the hopes that a win over Rolls (19-0, 10 KO) will set up a much-desired third clash with Canelo Alvarez in September.
GGG is 5-0 at MSG, including fights at the Theater, last fighting at the building in March 2017, when he outpointed Daniel Jacobs.
“I’m happy to be here again, I feel like I’m at my second home,” Golovkin said at Wednesday’s press conference. “I’ve had a long break and I feel ready to come back strong.”
Golovkin and trainer Johnathon Banks both stressed that they’re not overlooking Rolls, a 35-year-old fighter with no major fights, but also nothing to lose.
“I respect my opponent. Steve Rolls is undefeated,” Golovkin said. “This is serious business. It’s a very dangerous sport. I believe he’s ready for Saturday night, this is a real fight.”
“Steve Rolls is fighting for his chance at a new life,” Banks said. “That never should be overlooked. It’s the same thing I said two weeks ago about Andy Ruiz when I was asked about his fight with Anthony Joshua. I said I hoped Joshua was focused and ready to go, because Andy Ruiz is fighting for his life.
“When you’ve got a guy with nothing to lose and the world to gain, he becomes the most dangerous opponent you’ve ever faced. Steve Rolls has literally nothing to lose and he’s got the world to gain. There’s nothing about Rolls that’s being overlooked or underestimated.”
Rolls and his team were praised for their professionalism and participation in promoting the bout, and the Ontario fighter kept things short and sweet on the mic.
“It’s been a long road, a long time coming,” said Rolls. “Camp went very well. I’m more than ready to take on this huge task. This isn’t a tune-up fight. On June 8, I look forward to solidifying myself as one of the best in the division.”
Since Rolls didn’t want to talk about himself much, promoter Lou DiBella was happy to speak up, as he usually is.
“We know Steve Rolls has a huge mountain climb,” DiBella said. “Steve may not be a recognizable name, but he’s a real pro. He’s in his mid-30s, he’s never had this kind of opportunity, but every challenge that’s ever been put in front of him, he’s met.”
DiBella added, “These guys have been begging for a fight. We offered (Rolls) to every contender for years. I’m not crazy enough to predict against a Hall of Famer and an all-time great. But I am confident that a real fighter will be standing across from Gennadiy Golovkin on Saturday night.”