Gennady Golovkin intends to carry on boxing irrespective of whether he wins or loses against Saul “Canelo” Alvarez in Las Vegas on Saturday night.
Very few fighters have continued competing at the elite level into their fifth decade but Golovkin, who turned 40 in April, is heading into one of his career-defining contests at the T-Mobile Arena.
The only blemishes in his storied 44-fight career have come against Alvarez – a draw in September 2017 and a narrow points loss 12 months later – and the Kazakh now has a chance to set the record straight.
But the two-time unified world middleweight champion, whose 20 title defences in a row in the division before his defeat to Alvarez equalled Bernard Hopkins’s record, doubts this weekend will be a swansong.
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“I would love to have a fight in my home country of Kazakhstan,” Golovkin told the PA news agency. “You’ll see me in the ring [again], most likely I’ll continue.”
Golovkin is leaving the 160lb division where he has boxed since his amateur days in a bid to avenge the sole loss on his ledger and in the process dethrone Alvarez as undisputed super-middleweight champion.
Alvarez has vowed to send Golovkin into retirement as the pair, former sparring partners once upon a time, have traded verbal barbs in the lead-up to their trilogy showdown.
“What he says, how he behaves just shows who he is in reality, not a boxer but as a person,” Golovkin said. “When you see and hear that, you want to turn your face away and ignore him.
“He stops being interesting, instead of tuning in, you tune out. What I feel from his behaviour is just indifference. I am a reasonable person, I don’t have any toxicity in me, nothing affects me.”
While there is little sign of the animosity subsiding, Golovkin takes pride in his rivalry with Alvarez. Even though he is the underdog, this bout has been much anticipated for years.
“It’s an amazing achievement to have a trilogy, being 40 and having the biggest fight in boxing, currently,” Golovkin added.
“Trilogies are amazing. We see how they bring to light the best we have in boxing, that’s why boxing is so exciting and why fights like this go into history. People remember it for a very, very long time.”
While Alvarez was beaten by Dmitry Bivol on a foray into light-heavyweight in May, Golovkin has won all four fights since defeat to his foe, most recently defeating Ryota Murata by stoppage in April.
Many felt Golovkin won the first fight against Alvarez only for a controversial draw to be declared, with judge Adalaide Byrd’s scorecard of 118-110 in the Mexican’s favour sparking major controversy.
Alvarez had his hand raised in much less contentious settings second time around, although it is clear both results still rankle in Golovkin’s camp.
“I have notified the Las Vegas Police Department’s robbery division to be on-site at T-Mobile Arena,” Golovkin’s trainer Johnathon Banks said. “Hopefully they can prevent a third theft by the judges.”