Don King, on Mike Tyson

"Why would anyone expect him to come out smarter?
He went to prison, not to Princeton."

"To me, boxing is like a ballet, except there's no music
and the dancers hit each other."

Monday, May 4, 2015

Abel Sanchez and Gennady Golovkin

Gennady Golovkin destroying the mitts with Abel Sanchez 

Abel Sanchez has quietly become one of boxing's best trainers

By Kevin Iole

Abel Sanchez

.View photo  Sanchez has helped Gennady Golovkin emerge as one of the toughest boxers to hit in the sport. (Courtesy of Abel Sanchez)
All these years later, after training 14 men to world championships, including one to the International Boxing Hall of Fame, Abel Sanchez still remains relatively anonymous.

WBA middleweight champion Gennady Golovkin's coach proved many years ago – long before Golovkin made the windy trek nearly 7,000 feet up the San Bernardino Mountains to The Summit Gym in Big Bear Lake, Calif. – that he is one of the sport's best.

Golovkin had great physical gifts when he first met Sanchez three years ago. He was 18-0 when he met Sanchez in June 2010.

He's beloved by American fans for his aggressive, hard-punching style. Golovkin is constantly on the prowl and has one of the sport's highest knockout ratios.

But when he got to Sanchez, he didn't fight that way. He was more erect and vastly more economical with his punches. He fought behind a jab and wasn't looking to necessarily mix it up.

"Gennady has a completely different style than when he first came to me," Sanchez said. "We've been able to modify it and convert it into a fan-friendly style. If I'd have kept him how he was – the best way to describe it is that he came over here boxing like a Klitschko – we wouldn't be talking now.

"I was able to make a dramatic change, but I had to have a fighter who was willing to make that change with me. All of my guys fight similar styles, but they're similar because we feel, well, I feel, they need to entertain."

Fight fans should exult whenever they see Sanchez in a boxer's corner because rare is the Sanchez fighter who doesn't put on a good show.

Sanchez fighter, Terry Norris made it to the International Boxing Hall of Fame under his tutelage and the likes of Paul Vaden, Miguel Angel Gonzalez and Lupe Aquino won world championships with him.

This could be the year that, for the first time, Sanchez wins the Trainer of the Year award.

Sanchez, who owns a construction company, built The Summit in 2000. It is a 4,000-square-foot gym with a pair of homes on the property.

He has a trining system that he is fully committed to using. It's been proven to work over time and, because he knows he'll be the fall guy if things go wrong, he demands his boxers use it or he won't take them on.

Sanchez gives a lot to his fighters, but he expects a lot in return, and he doesn't think twice about it.

"I run a very disciplined camp," he said. "I'm the boss. If the fighter wins, they're going to credit the fighter. If he loses, it will be my fault. So if it's going to be my fault, then I am going to run things my way and do things the way I think they should be done."

He's routinely made his fighters better, but his best work clearly has been Golovkin.

He's molded Golovkin into the consummate two-way fighter. Sanchez is eager to point out that, according to CompuBox, Golovkin is one of the toughest men to hit in boxing, behind only Floyd Mayweather.

"People say he gets hit, and I have to laugh a little," Sanchez said. "He's not really getting hit that much. He's better at not getting hit than someone like [Andre] Ward, who is known for his defense. But because of Gennady's come-forward style, it appears he gets hit more than he does."

Sanchez is a stickler for details.  One of the reasons he's been so successful with Golovkin is because of Golovkin's near-total dedication.

He said many young fighters are put on a pedestal way too early, far before they've learned the sport well, and definitely before they've become complete fighters.

As a result, he said those boxers think they know it all and aren't receptive to coaching.

Golovkin, Sanchez pointed out, is the rare fighter who is eager to learn.

"It concerns me the way things go with this business now, where when a young kid wins nine, 10 fights in a row, he's fighting 10-rounders and they're talking about title fights," Sanchez said. "We treat them like stars way too soon and then they don't want to train.

"Give Gennady the credit: In 2013, even though he has a wife and a young boy, 3, 4 years old, he was with me [training] for 10 months out of 12. Think of that. That's a commitment few fighters have.

"And when you have a fighter who is so eager to learn and so committed to being better, as a trainer, you can do a lot of things. Whatever credit I get for Gennady's improvement, you have to go back and look at him. I can tell him what to do, but he's eager to listen and eager to learn and he's the one who does it."


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