- Dan Rafael, ESPN Senior Writer
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Fearsome power puncher Gennady Golovkin, owner of a middleweight world title, insists he will fight anybody between junior middleweight and super middleweight but he has been unable to get the biggest names to sign on the dotted line. The risk for potential foes seemingly outweighs the reward.
So while fighters such as middleweight champion Miguel Cotto, super middleweight champion Andre Ward and super middleweight contender Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. have been shown little interest in fighting Golovkin, the same can't be said for interim titlist Marco Antonio Rubio, who may not have the biggest name in boxing but he is willing to step into the ring with GGG.
They will meet on Oct. 18 (HBO, 10 p.m. ET/PT) at the StubHub Center in Carson, California, K2 Promotions, Golovkin's promoter, announced on Tuesday night. The deal had been in the works since shortly after Golovkin knocked out former titleholder Daniel Geale of Australia in the third round on July 26 in New York to retain his world title for the 11th time.
A 12th successful defense against Rubio would tie Golovkin with Marvelous Marvin Hagler and Felix Sturm for third-most in middleweight history. Carlos Monzon defended his title 14 times and Bernard Hopkins owns the division record with 20 defenses.
Golovkin (30-0, 27 KOs), 32, of Kazakhstan, has fought five of his last seven fights in the United States and become one of the cornerstone fighters of HBO, which has him under contract. But all of Golovkin's American fights have taken place in the Northeast, four in New York and one in Connecticut. The fight with Rubio (59-6-1, 51 KOs), 34, of Mexico, will mark Golovkin's first fight on the West Coast and he is pumped about it.
"I'm very excited to fight in California," said Golovkin, who trains in Big Bear Lake, California. "I always enjoy attending fights at the StubHub Center and look forward to a Mexican-style fight against Marco Antonio Rubio."
Said K2 Promotions managing director Tom Loeffler, "We're looking forward to promoting the West Coast debut of Gennady Golovkin. His growing popularity across the country compels us to bring this highly anticipated fight to the StubHub Center, which has hosted so many exciting boxing events in recent years.
"Marco Antonio Rubio is among the toughest fighters in boxing and this battle with Gennady should provide fireworks from the opening bell."
Rubio is riding a six-fight winning streak since losing a unanimous decision to then-middleweight titlist Chavez for his belt in February 2012 in San Antonio. He is 16-1 in his last 17 fights. In his last fight, on April 5, Rubio knocked out Domenico Spada of Italy in the 10th round to claim a vacant interim belt.
"I'm excited to fight another world champion," Rubio said. "I always accept the biggest challenges and without a doubt this will be the greatest of my career. I will show Golovkin a real Mexican style fight on Oct. 18th."
Said Rubio promoter Oswaldo Kuchle of Promociones Del Pueblo, "It will be a tremendous fight. I can assure you that Rubio will make this a war."
It's hard to imagine it being anything else for as long as it lasts. Rubio is a no-frills straight-ahead banger with a powerful punch and a questionable chin, getting knocked out in three of his six defeats. Golovkin, who has scored one highlight-reel knockout after another, owns the highest knockout ratio (90 percent) of any active world titleholder. He will open training camp in Big Bear next week with trainer Abel Sanchez.
The fight will be Rubio's third shot at a full middleweight belt. Besides the loss to Chavez, he also challenged Kelly Pavlik for his two world title belts in 2009 and was knocked out in the ninth round.
8hBy Ian O'Connor