Now that the hysteria surrounding the bout between Floyd Mayweather Jr. and Conor McGregor has finally died down, boxing purists can focus on the forthcoming super fight between Gennady “GGG” Golovkin and Canelo Alvarez. The fight pits two action-oriented fighters — with a combined 86-1 record — against one another to determine supremacy in the middleweight division.
For the undefeated 35-year-old Golovkin, it is undoubtedly his biggest fight to date and cements not only his willingness to put his WBA, WBC, IBF, and IBO titles on the line against Alvarez, but also illustrates the impressive training habits that first earned him a middleweight title back in 2009.
“Canelo is a good guy and a good fighter,” Golovkin says. “He is young. He is fresh. He is hungry. This is the fight I have been waiting for my entire life.”
Like with any athlete, Golovkin is a creature of habit; preferring a small, tight-knit team who finds solitude and a competitive advantage by training at 7,000 feet above sea level in Big Bear, CA (dubbed “The Summit”). Golovkin credits the camp, which has fueled the engines of past luminaries like Mike Tyson, Lennox Lewis and Oscar De La Hoya, with having positive effects on his endurance, speed and timing.
At this point, Golovkin and his longtime trainer, Abel Sanchez, have no reason to divert from what has worked for them in the past — they’re experts in training, nutrition and how to lighten the mood in the buildup to a fight like this.
Although Golovkin’s record suggests he has machine-like qualities, his day begins quite similar to anyone in a committed relationship. He calls his wife on the phone — who is pregnant with their second child — before getting right to training.
“The team meets at 6 a.m. for a run,” he says. “On Monday, Wednesday and Friday, I’ll run three to four and a half miles. It is up to Abel. On Tuesday and Thursday we do sprints. On Saturday, we run the mountain which is about nine miles. After the run, we do sit-ups and stretches. Then it is a shower and breakfast and rest.”
For fighters in the middleweight division, the magic number to hit is 160 pounds (72.5 kg). While most fighters opt for huge weight cuts in order to bring their prodigious power to lower divisions, Golovkin is a natural middleweight. Thus, he has a little more freedom in what he can eat during training camp.
“Abel wants me to eat what I normally eat, just not overeat,” he says. “I love eating Mexican food. There is a restaurant in Big Bear, Hacienda. We eat there several times every week. I like the red salsa, the ribs, shrimp and chicken. I will eat steak once or twice every week. I won’t eat bread, sweets or junk. No sodas. When I am not training I love steak. Lots of steak.”
To energize his training — which he admits is constantly evolving to improve himself both physically and mentally — Golovkin turns to music. Here he favors stylings with positive and upbeat messages, with influences ranging from Russian rap to Michael Jackson.
Additionally, he understands that if those around him are exuding positivity, it will have a positive impact on his preparation.
“I want to make sure we’re focused and inspired,” he says. “This is exactly what we are all about — supporting each other and staying devoted to the fight. I partnered with The Chivas Fight Club, an initiative that encourages sharing our success and winning the right way.”
For more morning routines by world-class athletes, check out how Sergio Ramos gets his day started.
- Featured/Main Image: Randall Slavin