Golovkin, 28-0 (25), returned to the States and dispatched Matthew Macklin in as many rounds before meeting Curtis Stevens on HBO last November. Adama, who was a backup plan in case the Stevens fight couldn’t be arranged, saw his opportunity to face Golovkin shelved again. Golovkin’s promotional team went with the bigger draw in Stevens.
At long last, Adama will get his shot at the foe he has been chasing for 15 months on Saturday in Monte Carlo.
“I was supposed to fight him for a long time but that’s something we can’t worry about,” Adama said. “Everything happens for a reason. I just let the promoters handle it and I knew it was going to come.”
During that timespan, Adama and the rest of the boxing community has seen the birth of Golovkin’s stardom. The WBA champion has been backed by HBO and is now regarded as one of the best fighters in the sport. Golovkin is seen as such a monster that oddsmakers set the line at +3000 for Adama and -7000 for “GGG.”
Despite being such a heavy underdog, Adama said the status doesn’t bother him.
“People can’t talk about what I can do and what I can’t,” Adama said. “They don’t know me yet. If they talk about me that way, I’m going to prove them wrong. I’m going to prove them wrong.”
Instead, Adama’s been focused on his preparation for the fight. This is Adama’s second chance at a world title, previously losing a unanimous decision to then-IBF middleweight champion Daniel Geale in March of 2012.
In the Geale fight, Adama was outworked. Geale applied pressure throughout and Adama couldn’t adjust. By the time the Ghanaian-born fighter tried to rally, Geale was too much in control and already too far ahead on points.
“That fight, I wasn’t myself,” Adama said. “The way I fought wasn’t the same. I don’t think I can be the number one at 160 fighting that way.”
Adama has spent the last three months in training camp in his adopted hometown of Chicago. He’s seen the months go from cold to frozen, all with Golovkin on his mind.
While training, Adama relies on what his two trainers, Sam Colonna and Joseph Owinongya tell him. He and his trainers say this training camp hasn’t been out of the ordinary. Adama does the usual routine. He hits the heavy bag. He does his pad work. He spars. It’s the same preparation done at a longer rate, putting Adama in better shape, said Colonna.
“We’re coming prepared mentally and physically,” Colonna said. “We’re coming very prepared. He’s always had problem with his weight but he’s already on weight. He knows this is do-or-die. He’s right on the money already.”
Adama doesn’t watch tape of his opponents and looks for weaknesses. He lets his co-trainers handle that for him. How his trainers view Golovkin, however, actually differs. Colonna, like many others, views Golovkin as a serious challenge and a major obstacle for Adama to overcome.
Owinongya, on the other hand, isn’t buying the hype and thinks Golovkin is overrated.
“The media is making him seem like he’s difficult,” Owinongya said. “He can punch. He has very good punching power but a good boxer has a chance to beat him.”
Still, Owinongya’s thoughts of Golovkin being overrated are the exception in Adama’s camp. His promoter, Cynthia Tolaymat of Chicago Fight Club Promotions says this will be the toughest fight of his life. This is his opportunity, she said, for Adama to make a huge impression on the boxing world.
“We hope the best,” Tolaymat said. “[Adama]’s really going to be on his toes and on his best. This is the best person he’s ever fought. We never know what’s going to happen. If Adama goes all 12 rounds with him, that’s still a great accomplishment seeing that Golovkin has stopped his last 15 opponents. We hope for the best and we hope it goes in his favor but you never know what happens in that ring.”
Cooling down from a final sparring session, Adama agrees that this is his chance. On the exterior, he remains calm but there’s a subtle hint of confidence in his voice that tells us the 33-year-old boxer has big things in store.
“Fighting Golovkin isn’t something scary,” he said. “If I want to be middleweight champion, I’m eventually going to have to fight everybody.”
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