Gennady Golovkin Training Is a Team Effort


Gennady Golovkin and Canelo Alvarez last met four years ago. It was their second bout after the first in 2017 ended in a draw. The rematch in 2019 would be determined by a controversial judge’s decision that awarded Alvarez (57-2-2, 39 KOs) the win.

Golovkin (42-1-1, 37 KOs) doesn’t dwell on that night but like all great fighters, you rather not leave things in the hands of judges. With the trilogy slated for Saturday, Sept. 17 from the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, the 40-year-old will finally have a chance to leave no question who is the better of the two.

To get this opportunity, Golovkin moved up to super middleweight and has only fought four times since he last saw Alvarez compared to the seven bouts of Alvarez.

Alvarez is coming off of losing a 12-round decision to Dmitrii Bivol in May and Golovkin is expecting a fully focused and motivated opponent. Muscle and Fitness spoke with Golovkin, strength and conditioning coach Chris Camacho, trainer Johnathon Banks, and nutritionist James Lockwood on why the prep for this fight began way before it was even confirmed, the prep to move up to 168 and what you can expect to see from this version of Triple G.

Gennady Golovkin vs. Canelo Alvarez Rematch Officially Set for May 5
Al Bello / Getty

Chris Camacho’s Strength and Conditioning Strategy

Camacho has worked with some of the biggest names in the combat world and begin working with Golovkin a few months before the fighter defeated Kamil Szeremeta in 2020 to break the middleweight record for most title defenses. Mentally, he’s been preparing Golovkin for Alvarez for years and gave insight on getting him ready to fight at 168 and why we should never discount a champ based on age.

Prepping for 168

When we were getting ready for [Ryota] Murata, the fight got postponed and he told me that he needed me to start preparing me for him now. In my mind, I had already been preparing him for Canelo. A lot of people don’t understand that eight weeks is going to do nothing for you when you move up in weight class. We’ve been preparing G for this since I met him those two and a half years ago. When we met, we both had an idea that we were going to get this fight, but we didn’t know when. That’s when I started working on the strength that carried over to power and then carried over to power endurance. It takes months in each phase — when I say phase, I mean the strength phase, the atrophy phase to power. These things don’t happen overnight. You can’t just have an eight-week camp and think that you’re going to move up in weight and dominate.

Age Ain’t Nothing But A Number

You have to know your athletes and know the injuries of the past. You have to be smart in your selection of exercises and training. In programming, I don’t think about the age, I think about what his ability is, what he needs to get done, how much time we have and then I write out the program. My selection of exercises are very simple because I don’t want to be complex as we don’t want to be coaching too much. When G allows the younger guys to work with us, he puts them in the dirt. There hasn’t been one workout that I haven’t gotten what I needed from him since the day I met him. It was the same thing with Daniel Cormier. These guys that are older and still doing it are cut from a different cloth. They find a way to win in anything. Not just in the ring but in training, and it’s the mind that ages first before the body.

Boxer Gennady Golovkin getting his hand wrapped from trainer Johnathon Banks
Tom Hogan/GGG Promotions

Johnathon Banks and Gennady Golovkin Training Plan

Banks joined Golovkin in preparation for his matchup against Steve Rolls in which Golovkin scored a fourth-round knockout. The fighter is 4-0 with Banks in his corner. The pair knew of each other years before their pairing as they were previously under the same promotional company. Banks gave his approach to working with such an established fighter and why he not looking back on the first two bouts against Alvarez.

Approach To Training GGG

It’s the equivalent to taking a kindergartner to the zoo and taking a 10th grader to the zoo. With one, you have to hold their hand and make sure they don’t touch anything. The other, you tell them something and they do it. The only surprise that I got was how much he loves being in the gym and working. The only reason that was a surprise was because of all of the things he’s already accomplished in the sport. He can retire now and he’s a first-ballot Hall of Famer. There’s no question about the things he’s already accomplished.

Throw The Last Two Fights Out

There are only four things I can use from the first two fights and that’s three judges and the referee. I take nothing boxing-wise away from those first two fights. I tell [Golovkin] to act like he’s a duck in the pond because a duck wakes up in a new pond every day. He doesn’t remember shit from yesterday. Both fighters fight differently now than when they first met each other. Canelo had a quote saying, “I will destroy him.” I guess he didn’t come to destroy him the first two fights. We can’t look at the [Dmitrii] Bivol fight because he didn’t destroy him, but he’s coming to destroy this time? I think this fight is going to be significantly different than the first two. I think some of it will remind you of the first two because they’ll trade some shots. Canelo says he wants that, but I tend to disagree.

Essentially, it’s going to come down to who wants it more. I think they both fight a little differently now than they did four years ago. Usually, when you have a trilogy, it’s not this long of a gap in the third fight. With the gap in this third fight, both guys have accomplished different things. Both guys styles have changed since the second fight. I think one thing Canelo desires to do is taking away the feeling out process. He doesn’t want G moving around, feeling him out with his jab. He wants to come in and get right to work.

Boxer Gennady Golovkin with his trainers
Tom Hogan/GGG Promotions

James Lockwood On Gennady Golovkin Nutrition Plan

Lockwood is the co-founder of Lockhart and Leith. The performance-based nutrition company has fueled championship fighters for some of their biggest matches. He has worked with Golovkin for four years and has a firm understanding of his likes, dislikes and what he needs when he needs it during training camp. Lockwood broke down his approach to fueling throughout camp.

Fueling GGG

There’s nothing that standard because it’s based on what’s going on in camp, how he’s feeling, how he’s training, what does the week look like. We’re really looking at protein, fats and carbs. The macro nutrients are also very important. I really like to spend a good amount of time focusing on the nutrient density of foods, cellular repair, and cellular energy. We’re going to eat eggs, oats, chicken and beef. We really don’t pull anything out of his diet unless it’s going to be taking backwards steps. What I mean by that is I don’t give my athletes dairy, cheese, or milk because it’s highly mucous forming and if you’re trying to breathe — we’re here at altitude — that’s going to get in the way of what we’re trying to accomplish.

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He’ll wake up, have a couple of eggs over easy. I like to make little salsas and relishes using raw foods, like raw garlic, raw cilantro, red onions, olive oils, citrus juice, and sea salt. Every meal that I make is going to have some raw food component. There’s what we call phytonutrients that are in these raw foods that I wouldn’t call essential, but they’re semi-essential in the sense that they can really help you with digestion and inflammation. I’m a really big fan of smoothies and fresh-pressed juices in the morning. I think that’s a great way to get nutrients into his body when he’s on a fairly empty stomach, so they’re easily absorbed. For lunch, we’re going to focus on carbs. If he goes for a long run and gets in the gym with Chris and he’s doing some strength work, we need to replenish those muscles and glycogen that he just burned. For Dinner, it’s really going to be based on if he did a late-night sparring session and what’s going on the next morning. Gennady likes to eat meat, so I’m a really big fan of grilled steaks and fresh seafood.

Proper Hydration Is Key To Performance

It changes daily. Climate is a huge part of it, especially if you’re in a dry climate – how much he’s sweating. But it’s a gallon or more a day for sure. There are things you can do such as added electrolytes, sea salt to help absorption to make sure he’s not depleted. If you’re just a little bit dehydrated, your performance is going to suffer greatly.

The Work Doesn’t Stop After Making Weight

The rehydration process is the most important thing. After that, nutrition is immensely important. I have seen a lot of athletes that will make the weight and be like, “let’s eat.” We all know the feeling after a big meal. You want to take a nap, you’re a little lethargic or slow. That’s the worst-case scenario for an athlete who’s trying to perform at the highest level in 24-30 hours after making that weight. After our athletes are rehydrated, we’ll do the same thing. We’re feeding them meals every couple of hours with some snacks. Making sure they have the proper fluids, vitamins, and minerals.

Gennady Golovkin, Triple G
Mike Stobe / Getty

The Big Drama Show

In terms of accolades, there isn’t much left for Golovkin to achieve. He’s achieved the largest number of knockouts in the middleweight division, countless fighters have avoided stepping into the ring against him and he’s a certified first ballot Hall of Famer. But at age 40, his love of boxing hasn’t waned, and he still feels there’s more for him to give. Through his translator, Golovkin spoke about the importance of his team, how this version of him is different than the last time he took on Alvarez and what motivates him to keep going.

Teamwork

I think team is extremely important because it’s the team that makes you. What James does is very important. His approach to diet is something that opens new possibilities for me. Without his experience and knowledge, it wouldn’t be possible to achieve what we’re able to. Chris Camacho is an integral part of the team. He does an excellent job. He has a great program and without it, it’s not possible to be a champion. Every member of the team is important, plays an integral role to making you a champion.

Evolution

From a psychological and mental standpoint, I believe I have an advantage. [Alvarez] had a chance to become a real man. What he became — and many people will understand what I’m talking about — is something that is below expectations. He had a lot of opportunities and all the cards in his favor. What he ultimately became is not something that deserves respect.

It’s difficult for me to say how different this fight will be from the first two. I would agree with Johnathon that a lot of time has passed and we’re different athletes because athletes evolve. I can only assure you that this will be a very competitive fight and a fascinating one. We both will give our best.

The Fire Still Burns Deep

First, it’s my attitude to boxing and my love of boxing. The fact that I feel strong, in demand and that I have the best and interesting fight in boxing right now motivates me a lot. Although I’m 40 years old, this is something that still motivates me and that I’m dedicated to.

Canelo Alvarez will face off against Gennadiy “GGG” Golovkin for the third and final time Saturday, Sept. 17 at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas. The event will be broadcast live on TV Azteca in Mexico. The fight will also be broadcast live on DAZN PPV in the U.S., Canada, UK, Ireland, Australia, and New Zealand as well as around the world on DAZN (excluding Mexico, Latin America, and Kazakhstan) and is in partnership with Matchroom, Canelo Promotions and GGG Promotions. 

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