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Golovkin rested, ready to take on brash Stevens

LOS ANGELES (AP) - Gennady Golovkin is already a nightmare matchup for the world's best middleweights. This time out, he's well-rested and maybe feeling a bit disrespected.

The champion intends to let it all out on Curtis Stevens when they meet at the Theater at Madison Square Garden on Nov. 2 for Golovkin's two title belts.

``I have a plan for a good, short fight,'' Golovkin said before heading up to Big Bear to begin his training camp for his fourth fight of 2013.

While many elite 160-pounders have avoided Golovkin (27-0, 24 KOs) in recent years, Stevens campaigned for a shot at the Kazakh champion, even jabbing at Golovkin on Twitter and elsewhere. Golovkin and Stevens (25-3, 18 KOs) were cordial Thursday when they met in a hotel penthouse near the Los Angeles airport, but the good-natured Golovkin has been surprised by Stevens' Brooklyn brashness.

``He has a big mouth,'' Golovkin said of Stevens. ``He's always saying things. I (never) fought somebody like that before. ... He doesn't understand the situation. I want a street fight. I think he doesn't understand how it works. We go into the ring, one punch, and maybe that's it.''

If necessary, Golovkin will be ready to throw plenty of punches.

He took seven weeks off after his third-round stoppage of Matthew Macklin in Connecticut in June. Golovkin crumpled the respected veteran middleweight with a single body shot for his 14th consecutive stoppage victory, entertaining another American audience with his two-handed knockout power.

Golovkin spent his down time at home in Stuttgart, Germany, with his wife and young son, Maxim. He also visited his family in his native Kazakhstan, where he is greeted as a civic hero.

The vacation was his longest in the past two years, ever since the 31-year-old Olympic silver medalist began his move up the world rankings with new promotional backing and a nonstop schedule of fights.

Stevens, although an underdog, is another solid challenge for Golovkin's ninth title defense. The Brooklyn-bred slugger has won four straight fights since returning from a two-year ring absence, stopping Saul Roman in the first round last month.

He's also the best fighter who would agree to take on Golovkin, who ranks alongside injured Sergio Martinez of Argentina among the world's top 160-pounders.

``For me, it doesn't matter if he's a big puncher,'' Golovkin said. ``Small, short, tall, it doesn't matter to me. I'll see him Nov. 2. Every fight, I feel better and better.''

Stevens plans to soak up the fun of his first headlining fight at Madison Square Garden and the accompanying television spotlight, but he also believes Golovkin will be surprised to feel his power after fighting smaller men.

``I don't know if he can box too much,'' Stevens said. ``I have one-punch knockout power. He has wear-you-down power. I've been watching him, and I'm very impressed with what he does, but he's been knocking out natural 154-pounders, and the middleweight he did knock out (Macklin) was scared. Everybody has been scared to fight him. I wanted him. I want to see if the myth is true.''

Golovkin has been a favorite among hard-core fight fans for a few years now, but other sports fans are starting to catch up. Tom Loeffler, the managing director of K2 Promotions, claimed Golovkin's bout with Stevens set a 24-hour record for ticket sales at the Theater at Madison Square Garden, likely to be Golovkin's home base for his U.S. fights.

``He has become a draw, and now we're looking at him being a crossover draw,'' Loeffler said. ``Every fight he gets on HBO, he takes on another dimension.''

After his long summer vacation, Golovkin isn't letting up on his pace, no matter the outcome of his bout with Stevens. He intends to fight again on Jan. 25 in Monte Carlo, where he was a big hit earlier this year, before another stateside HBO date, likely in the spring.

``Every fight I get older and smarter,'' Golovkin said. ``Every fight, my mentality is stronger. When I work more, I feel better.''

Copyright 2018 by STATS LLC and Associated Press.
Any commercial use or distribution without the express written
consent of STATS LLC and Associated Press is strictly prohibited.

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