In pursuit of professional boxing success, Gennady Golovkin moved from his native Kazakhstan first to Germany and now to the United States. Since making his HBO debut in September 2012, the 31-year-old middleweight champion has exploded into one of the most electrifying and talked-about athletes in boxing. He sat down with HBO.com to answer some questions about the man behind the powerful punches.
Do you remember your very first fight, perhaps as a child?
Yes, I remember. It was a very long time ago. Twenty-two years ago. I forget what weight division. I lost my first fight. Well, I didn't lose. I was very young; I had a fight with an older guy. I was beating him, and a lot of people watching were going, 'Wow,' but this guy, he had a platform and it was my first fight, so the referee said he won. Every month, my coach took a big interest in me, and I love the boxing gym, so I just fight, fight, fight.
If you could fight anyone, present or past, is there anyone who you wish you could have fought?
Gennady Golovkin: I think yes, Sugar Ray Robinson. I remember watching him on TV. I like him because he is in my division. I respect his speed, his tactics, his power.
Are there other sports that you like?
Swimming, tennis, soccer - and basketball.
Do you have any favorite athletes?
Three. In Russia, in wrestling, Alexander Karelin. He was a big name. Michael Phelps. And Michael Jordan. I could not say which is one, two or three.
If you weren't a fighter, what would you be?
Oh, I don't know. Good question.
Is there anything about you that your fans would be surprised to know? Do you have any hobbies?
I like fishing. I don't have time for hobbies; my spare time is for holidays with my wife, my family, my child. Going to Germany or to Kazakhstan to see my parents.
You have one child?
Yes, a boy. He is four years old next year.
One great thing with your success is that you can create a good future for your son. What would you like that future to be?
First, I would like that he goes to university, because that is very important.
In 2012, you were already a star on YouTube. For American fans, that was how we could see you. In a short space of time, you've gone from that to fighting in Monaco, and here in the United States and on HBO. It seems like it's all going to plan.
Yes. [Smiles] Exactly. Every fight is a baby step. Right now is my time at middleweight.