"Gennady is a professional. Gennady is 100% prepared and he's very confident going into the ring. Abel prepares him to put on an exciting fight and he's shown that he has the mentality every time out that he's gotta put on a performance. He wants to entertain the people...We are excited for the future of both Mike Perez and Gennady. I think this will be one of the best HBO shows of boxing and we expect the highest rated show this year," stated Tom Loeffler, Managing Director at K2 Promotions and promoter of undefeated WBA middleweight champion Gennady Golovkin, who talked about this Saturday's showdown with middleweight contender Daniel Geale. Check out what else he had to say Golovkin, Mike Perez, Wladimir Klitschko, and much more!
PC: You have two fighters both coming off of different types of adversities: Gennady Golovkin and the passing of his father and Mike Perez and the shoulder injury. How are both of those guys mentally and physically heading into Saturday's fights?
TL: They are both very focused. Gennady realizes that there is a lot of focus on him. He is fighting as the main event in a big arena in Madison Square Garden and Mike Perez, this will be his third time on HBO and the first time in a big arena against another undefeated heavyweight. They both realize that they have to put on great performances to continue success in their career.
PC: Starting off with Mike, I'm sure the shoulder is fine now. What was the steps to getting him back healthy and able to fight?
TL: My understanding was it was bursitis; the bursa sac was inflamed, which was very painful in his shoulder joint, so he had an injection, an anti-inflammatory injection. He has to rest it for...I think a two week period of no activity and then he had it checked out by a doctor again and apparently that worked where he could resume his training regimen. It was a small setback. It was gonna be the main event on HBO in Texas, but as things worked out, it actually has a bigger platform. Even though it's the co-feature, they are in Madison Square Garden now as the co-feature for the Golovkin-Geale fight, so it's actually a bigger platform.
PC: Mike looked spectacular in his HBO debut and just mediocre in his second fight on the network against Takam. How important is this fight for him?
TL: It's a big fight for both him and Jennings. The winner of this fight goes on to be at the top of this division. The winner of this fight gets a guaranteed title fight for the WBC championship. The winner gets to fight the winner of Wilder and Stiverne. There is a lot at stake. Both guys are putting their undefeated records on the line in order to have that opportunity to move forward, so there is a huge payoff for the winner of that fight.
PC: Moving on to Gennady, dealing with the loss of his father, what were some of the things you were looking for from him in training, or just in person, to assure you that he was ready to go?
TL: I already knew he was physically 100%. I just wanted to see how he was dealing with it mentally. I think it was clearly a personal setback for him in his family life. It definitely affected him and his twin brother, Max. It affected them greatly, but as time passed, he had the 40-day mourning period in Kazakhstan and now he's ready to get back to his career. He realizes through his boxing career, that's really what his passion is and how he supports himself and his family and he's seeing it now as an inspiration to get back on track with his career. He looks at the training camp as an outlet outside of the mourning where he is not so much focused on his father. He can focus on his career and take his mind off of the other things.
PC: How disappointing of a process for you and Gennady was the whole Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. negotiations and failed attempt to make that fight happen?
TL: He was very disappointed. Actually, we were all disappointed. That was one of the fights at the top of the list as far as named opponents for him. At the same time, we have had similar situations in the past. We were pretty far down the road with Chavez where we had our deal worked out with Top Rank; it was just a matter of Bob closing the deal on the Chavez side and we gave them a lot of time. We gave them about 2 months to try and close the deal and for reasons outside of our control, Bob wasn't able to close it. We have the philosophy of, we can't force people to fight Gennady or get in the ring with him. So when the Chavez fight didn't happen, it happened to where Geale became available because of the Perez injury. He became available and HBO had the thought to fight Daniel Geale, which is not what I thought was gonna happen because I thought they were gonna reschedule the fight with Macklin. It actually worked out where Daniel Geale became available and clearly it will be the most experienced and most dangerous guy Gennady has fought so far in his career, so we are excited about bringing this back to New York.
PC: What are you looking for from Gennady in this fight?
TL: Well, Daniel Geale is another opponent that Gennady is facing that's never been stopped in his career. In fact, his two losses, one he avenged to Mundine; it was early in his career and he came back and beat Mundine, and then his second loss was to Darren Barker where he had to get off of the canvas from a body shot. That was on HBO and he lost a very close decision. He brings a lot of experience. He beat Sturm in Germany, he beat Sylvester in Germany and won a world championship over there and had a number of title defenses. Daniel Geale is going to be one of those fighters that keeps coming. We've seen that he can go 12 strong rounds, which Gennady has never done in his career. The most Gennady has gone was 10 rounds with Ouma, so it's going to be interesting to see how Gennady reacts to someone like that. I think Daniel Geale throws over a hundred punches a round, so it should be interesting.
PC: Maybe only Gennady could answer this question, but I'll get your opinion. Do you feel there is any pressure on Gennady being that he has this long string of knockouts? He's been the center of attention on HBO and he does great numbers on the network.
TL: Gennady is a professional. Gennady is 100% prepared and he's very confident going into the ring. Abel prepares him to put on an exciting fight and he's shown that he has the mentality every time out that he's gotta put on a performance. He wants to entertain the people that are buying tickets to see him fight live and the people who are tuning in on television. When he puts on those exciting performances, it's my job to put him on the platform and the stage to perform and it's his job once he's on that stage to bring the excitement. He's done that exceedingly well. Every time he's been on HBO...he's the only fighter that every time he's been on HBO, he has had an increase in his ratings. He is the highest rated fighter that's never fought on pay-per-view on HBO. We're expecting in his fight against Daniel Geale, and with the amazing co-feature with Perez and Jennings, that his fight Saturday will exceed the last time we were on HBO.
PC: Before I let you go, I wanted to let you talk about Wladimir Klitschko's September return against Kubrat Pulev. How is everything with Wlad?
TL: Wladimir is doing great. He's doing his conditioning out in Florida, starting his training camp out in Florida, and in the beginning of August, he will move towards the boxing part of his training camp and move over to Austria. That's where he will finish up his sparring. Wladimir now is hitting the length of time where he's held the heavyweight championship and the number of defenses he's had is getting into the historic proportions. So now, every time he fights, he's making history. We're excited about that fight. That's September 6th against Kubrat Pulev. He's the IBF mandatory challenger. He is undefeated and he will be another big test for Wladimir.
PC: I appreciate your time. I wish you and your fighters the best of luck and we will speak after the event on Saturday. Is there anything else you want to add?
TL: No, that's pretty much it. We are excited for the future of both Mike Perez and Gennady. I think this will be one of the best HBO shows of boxing and we expect the highest rated show this year. We expect a lot of people with strong ticket sales in Madison Square Garden, so we are excited about that and I think it will be a good atmosphere on Saturday night.
[ Follow Percy Crawford on Twitter @MrFighthype ]