Tureano Johnson (19-1, 13 KOs) is apparently ready and willing to face WBA, WBC, IBF and IBO middleweight champion Gennady Golovkin (34-0, 31 KOs), but would he be able to defeat the beast from Kazakh if given the chance? That’s a question we may see answered sooner rather than later.
Golovkin would like to unify the 160-pound titles by taking on newly crowned WBO champion Billy Joe Saunders, but the latter may not be willing to accept GGG’s challenge. If Saunders doesn’t agree to face the lineal champion, Triple G appears to have an intriguing backup plan.
Per ESPN.com’s Dan Rafael, Golovkin’s promoter, Tom Loeffler of K2 Promotions says he is in talks with Johnson, the WBA’s No. 4-ranked middleweight contender. Johnson is a rugged 31-year-old native of the Bahamas who scored a 12-round unanimous decision victory over Eamonn Kane on the undercard of Golovkin’s October 17 TKO win over David Lemieux. He’s not a world champion, but he is a respected opponent.
There seems to be a strong belief that Saunders will ultimately turn down Golovkin’s offer, which is said to be £2.2million, according to Nick Parkinson of ESPN.com. Saunders has said he believes he can beat Golovkin, but he acknowledges the risk and has asked that the Kazakh’s camp increase the offer or agree to face him in his home country of England. Because Golovkin is clearly the A-side in these negotiations, that seems to be a long shot.
With this dynamic at play, it appears a clash with Johnson is more likely. The target date for a potential Golovkin-Johnson bout, again according to Rafael, is April 23 at Madison Square Garden, and the fight would be televised by HBO.
Johnson doesn’t lack confidence. Despite the fact that his lone loss came by KO (April 2014) against a fighter Triple G has already stopped (Curtis Stevens in November 2013), the former Olympic qualifier (2008 Beijing) believes he can beat Golovkin.
After watching Golovkin stop Lemieux, Johnson seemed even more confident he’d dethrone the king of the division.
“When that opportunity comes,” said Johnson after the fight, “you won’t be disappointed. I will definitely bring it and give all I can. I ain’t just going to fight Triple G for fighting’s sake. I’m going to beat Triple G. I hope you all enjoy it. We’re going to make that happen. I definitely saw a lot of things I can capitalize on when I watched David Lemieux and Triple G tonight. You guys saw what I did tonight. Yes, I have a better Mexican style than Triple G. I’ve got a cast iron chin, and it has been tested. Has Triple G been tested?”
Some would say Golovkin has yet to face a true test. Johnson could be the man to push him further than anyone else has been able to. If Saunders doesn’t step up and seize the opportunity to topple the middleweight kingpin, Johnson will likely get his chance to do what 34 others have tried and failed to accomplish.
This article was penned by the author who is not related to the WBA and the statements, expressions or opinions referenced herein are that of the author alone and not the WBA.