An off-the-cuff remark by Sky presenter Johnny Nelson sent social media into meltdown on Tuesday as Gennady Golovkin and Kell Brook went through their paces at a Covent Garden public workout.
Nelson was alongside Sky anchor Fraser Dainton as they ran the rule over Golovkin’s session with trainer Abel Sanchez for Sky Sports HQ, which halfway through the former world champion said the following: “I heard something happened in the gym. I didn’t want to say because I thought, I don’t want Kell to hear it but I heard in sparring that he (Golovkin) knocked out Sergey Kovalev. That’s what I heard. Kell won’t see this so it doesn’t matter.”
To make it sound more like it happened recently, Nelson said: “That’s how hard this guy is hitting. It’s a case of; how do you deal with someone who has got so much punch power and ferocious power. Kovalev is a light-heavyweight and this man we are looking at here put him down and had him on his heels.
“That could put the fear of god into Kell who will think; ‘Right, I’ve got to do this.’”
WBN contacted Sergey Kovalev’s promoter Kathy Duva to get her view on the comments and the Main Events boss quickly cleared up any sort of incident between ‘Kusher’ and Golovkin in recent times.
“Have they sparred this camp? Absolutely not!” Duva exclusively told World Boxing News.
“With the exception of the first week of August when he came here to do interviews in NY, LA and Florida, Sergey has been in Russia since the first week of May. Sergey arrived back in the US late on August 31st but he doesn’t go to training camp until mid-September.”
Nelson may have been mistakenly informed by someone in the build-up or indeed been referencing to an incident back in 2011 when Golovkin had supposedly dropped Kovalev as the two were under the guidance of Sanchez at Big Bear.
Duva did elude to something going on between Golovkin and Kovalev during their less heralded days as the latter was in the early stages of training, which Sanchez also seemed to verify.
“Sergey and Golovkin used to spar all the time when they were both trained by Abel,” explained Duva.
“At some point, many years ago when Golovkin was a world champion ready to leave camp for a fight and Sergey was still a young pro on his first day back in camp after a long layoff, they sparred. Sergey quickly deduced that agreeing to spar a world champion who was battle ready on his first day of camp was a very bad idea.
“But this is why sparring stories should stay in the gym. They mean nothing, although I find it interesting that the promoters of the Golovkin v Brook fight are trying to use Sergey to get publicity this week. I shows that Sergey has come a very long way.”
Golovkin’s current trainer, Sanchez told WBN the following when asked about any sessions this year: “I can say this; they did spar a half dozen times, but that was back in 2011 and I haven’t spoken to Sergey since 2012.”
Rumours the knockout/knockdown in question happened during Kovalev’s camp for the Bernard Hopkins bout were also been shot down by Duva when asked by WBN if there was any truth to it.
“Sergey and GGG did not spar together leading up to the Hopkins fight. Sergey trained in Florida for that fight and Golovkin’s trains at big Bear,” said Duva.