Who will replace Abel Sanchez? Who will GGG choose as next trainer?

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We all know by now that Gennady “GGG” Golovkin (38-1-1, 34 KOs) and longtime trainer Abel Sanchez called it quits recently. Different stories have come out as to why the split occurred. Sanchez maintains that it was over a money dispute, even calling GGG “greedy”. He felt he was worth way more than what his former fighter was offering. GGG has been less vocal about the split, not engaging his former trainer in a battle of words.

Golovkin recently signed a six fight, 100 million dollar deal with DAZN. He is set to make his DAZN debut on June 8 against Steve Rolls (19-0, 10 KOs) at Madison Square Garden in New York City. The fight will be at a catch weight of 164lbs. Golovkin has stated that he plans to move up to super middleweight (168lbs) eventually and wanted to see how he feels at 164lbs before making that potential move.

GGG has made it clear that he wants to train close to his home in Santa Monica, California. With that being said, there’s a few candidates that make sense, both for location and what they bring to the table to help his style moving forward.

Trainer Buddy McGirt with current WBO Light Heavyweight champ Sergey Kovalev.

Buddy McGirt

I think he is the most ideal matchup. Golovkin is getting into the later stages of his career and just signed a six fight deal. He has been in some wars and he may want to switch up his style to more of an Eastern European one, more boxing, less slugging. McGirt specializes in this. McGirt is a world class trainer, and has trained other Eastern European boxers, including welterweight Sergey Lipinets (15-1, 11 KOs) and more recently – WBO Light Heavyweight champ Sergey “Krusher” Kovalev (37-3-1, 28 KOs), who also made a trainer switch late in his career. He’s also known to help guys who are prone to slugging transition into boxers.

To add icing on the cake, his gym is only 40min from Santa Monica, in Northridge, California. This option seems to make a lot of sense. GGG can train close to home and he can work with a guy who understands what it will take to perfect some of GGG’s deficiencies and take him to the next stage in his career.

Freddie Roach

He is probably the biggest name on this list. He runs Wild Card Boxing Club in Los Angeles, California, close to Santa Monica. He trained legendary, future hall of famer, Manny Pacquiao (61-7-2, 39 KOs) for most of his career. He has trained multiple world champions, both former and current. He’s a technician who always comes with a solid game plan and one of the best and most proven trainers on the planet. He’s more on the aggressive side, so he may just tweak Golovkin’s style and come with a more effective game plan versus someone like Canelo Alvarez or any top middleweight or super middleweight (if Golovkin decides to move up in weight).

If what Abel Sanchez stated about a money dispute with Golovkin is true, then I don’t see Freddie Roach being a good match, because I imagine he would come at a hefty price. It is still worth consideration, given who Roach is and the success he has had in the past and continues to have with his current stable of fighters.

Boxing Trainer Virgil Hunter with Andre Ward.

Virgil Hunter

This is another California based trainer, but in Northern California – The Bay Area. It’s a bit further away, but nothing major. It all depends on where Golovkin’s priorities lie. Hunter has trained the likes of Andre Ward, Amir Khan, Demetrius Andrade, Andre Berto, Abner Mares, and other fighters. I don’t know how he would feel about training GGG, given that Andrade would like a future fight with Golovkin, but he is still worth mentioning.

Hunter is known for helping fighters turn their careers around. He’s very good at constructing solid game plans, and making sure his fighters are ready for anything, any style, any type of fighter. He is a trainer who focuses on the basics – defense being the most important, something Golovkin could use help with, especially at this stage in his career if he plans to fight six more times at the top level. He also helps boxers perfect their jab, one of GGG’s strengths.

This would be a very interesting combination. It should definitely be considered by Golovkin and his team. He needs to prolong his career. He’s getting older and he needs to stop taking unnecessary punishment in his fights.

Robert Garcia’s interview with Fight Hub TV.

Robert Garcia

Garcia has said in an interview with Fight Hub TV that he was down to train GGG. It would make sense. One, Garcia has a gym about an hour away from Santa Monica in Oxnard, California. Two, he’s a really good trainer that has shown that he can improve guys and their boxing. Marcos Maidana would be the perfect example. He turned his career around completely.

In the interview with Fight Hub TV, Garcia talked about helping GGG improve his footwork, his jab, his speed. He said if Golovkin is serious about getting better, about improving his craft – Garcia sounded confident that he could help. He also said there are great trainers out there, that GGG needs to find the perfect fit, depending on what he wants to do. He didn’t sound like he was committed to the idea 100%, but he also said he would do it. So we will see what happens. It makes geographical sense and Robert Garcia is a highly respected trainer in the boxing community.

Ronnie Shields

This is my dark horse candidate. Shields trains his fighters out of Texas, a bit far from California, but style wise, he could help Golovkin tremendously. He doesn’t believe in changing a boxer’s style but rather seeing what he has to work with, seeing what their strengths are, and seeing where he can make slight changes to benefit them. He can help GGG get back to the basics, and get back to the Eastern European style of fighting. I think he could do a lot of good for Golovkin. He will not change him, but he could perfect him. GGG is a very underrated boxer. He is prone to slugging it out and going toe to toe, but we have seen him use his dominant jab and box, mixed in with aggression. Shields very well could find the perfect formula and balance for Golovkin to still be successful against the elite tier fighters in his division.

I think it’s an interesting pairing. It’s probably not something people are talking about, but it is something people should take a closer look at and if Golovkin can’t find the perfect match in California, he should definitely consider this hall of fame boxing trainer.

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