Andre Rozier responded incredulously when he was asked about Gennadiy Golovkin’s last fight.
“What fight?,” a laughing Rozier replied.
The implication from Sergiy Derevyanchenko’s trainer was that Golovkin didn’t exactly face an imposing opponent June 8 at Madison Square Garden. Golovkin viciously knocked out Steve Rolls in the fourth round that night in what was widely lambasted as a mismatch between an elite, hard-hitting middleweight and someone who had never been tested at that level.
“That was just ridiculous,” Rozier told BoxingScene.com following the Golovkin-Derevyanchenko press conference Thursday at Madison Square Garden. “Honestly, for Triple-G to fight Rolls was like 14 steps back. And although he didn’t attack him early, when he did it was over. So, it was almost like, ‘Let me hold off a minute. I don’t want people to think [it’s a mismatch].’ But from the beginning, when the fight was announced, I was like, ‘What? He’s nowhere in this league. Why is he here?’ I’m a realist about it. People might fake the funk, but I’m real about it. That made no sense.”
Toronto’s Rolls (19-1, 10 KOs) had some positive moments versus Golovkin, particularly during the second of their scheduled 12-rounder. Rozier still wonders whether Golovkin carried Rozier temporarily, until deciding to unload and end their fight.
“In my opinion, it seemed that way,” Rozier said. “[Golovkin] has said that before. ‘I let the guy work a little bit, so the people can get excited.’ He has said that before. This was the perfect opportunity for that to be the case. And then once he let his hands go, the fight was over.”
Rozier expects Ukraine’s Derevyanchenko (13-1, 10 KOs) to give Golovkin (39-1-1, 35 KOs) a much more difficult fight when they square off October 5 at Madison Square Garden. They’ll fight for the unclaimed IBF middleweight title that was stripped from Canelo Alvarez once his handlers couldn’t come to an agreement with Lou DiBella, Derevyanchenko’s promoter, on a deal for Alvarez to make a mandatory defense of that championship versus Derevyanchenko.
By the time Golovkin and Derevyanchenko square off, Golovkin won’t have had a fight in which he was truly tested in slightly more than a year. Rozier believes the 37-year-old former middleweight champion still will be every bit as formidable as he was when he lost that 12-round bout to Alvarez by majority decision last September 14 at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas.
“I take nothing for granted,” Rozier said. “I think that we have to be prepared for the best Triple-G that comes, and that’s why we’re working as hard as we are right now.”