• Boxing

Klitschko: Boxing needs fighters like Golovkin

Dan Rafael | ESPN.com
November 12, 2014
Gennady Golovkin remains has won all 31 of his professional fights, 26 by knockout © Getty Images

Middleweight titleist Gennady Golovkin, the knockout artist and rising star, has seen his TV ratings and the size of the crowds he draws increase over the past two years, during which he has mostly fought in the United States.

Surprisingly, Golovkin has done it with very little help, at least publicly, from Wladimir Klitschko, the world heavyweight champion who also happens to own K2 Promotions, which promotes Golovkin.

Typically, a star fighter or former fighter would do whatever he could to gain attention for his boxer, such as Oscar De La Hoya, Mike Tyson, Floyd Mayweather and Ricky Hatton, all of whom are heavily involved in their own promotional companies.

Klitschko, however, is more hands off, instead relying on capable managing director Tom Loeffler to guide Golovkin's career.

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But that does not mean Klitschko is not interested. In fact, he said he is a huge fan of his company's cornerstone fighter, other than himself.

"I think Gennady is exactly the person we need in boxing," Klitschko said. "He has this appeal that people respect and he is communicating in English better and better. He's so successful and so determined. People see that he is not fake. He's not David Haye. He's the real deal. Gennady trains hard, he fights hard. People love it and he has a million dollar smile on his face.

"He's humble, he's open, he's a true champion. I'm so happy K2 Promotions has a chance to work with him and be involved in his career."

However, even when Klitschko attends Golovkin's fights he does so with about as low a profile as the heavyweight champion can keep. He does not attend the news conferences or do photo ops with him.

Klitschko's perspective is to allow Golovkin to have the spotlight to himself during his events, even if Klitschko's presence might drum up some additional interest.

"I know Oscar, for example, is at the Golden Boy fights but I don't bring myself in the front. This is Gennady's show," said Klitschko, who defends his title for the 17th time when he faces Kubrat Pulev on Saturday at the O2 World Arena in Hamburg, Germany. "I was at Golovkin's [July] fight at Madison Square Garden. I couldn't make it to some of the other fights because of my schedule and my training. But I don't need to put my face there. It's my company, but K2 provides the services to bring the fighters to the front.

"I've learned you are better to stay in the background. Everybody knows K2 is out there and he is a fighter of K2. But it's his show and he is the star of his show, not me. They don't need my face right there next to him, so I am staying in the background."

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