'GGG has plenty left': Johnathon Banks interview

Ezio Prapotnich
08/05/2019 6:15pm

Photo: Richard Heathcote/Getty Images

Gennady Golovkin's new trainer Johnathon Banks speaks to Ezio Prapotnich about how he teamed up with GGG, what the middleweight superstar has left and much more...

Johnathon Banks is a man of few words and seems to apply the “back to the basics” approach he learned from Emanuel Steward to everything he does, from training fighters to answering interview questions.

He is also a man of great intuition, who recognises opportunities and catches them without over thinking or asking too many questions.

His new partnership with former middleweight world champion Gennady Golovkin (38-1-1, 34 KOs) was agreed in the blink of an eye, in a similar fashion to when Wladimir Klitschko called him on the telephone and he said yes to the heavyweight great's request to become his trainer despite having no previous experience or having ever even considered becoming a coach before.

When asked by Boxing Monthly about the terms and objectives of this new commitment with GGG, Banks keeps his cards close to his chest.

The only thing he makes absolutely clear is that anything his new charge has been through before has been scrapped off the books and they are writing the story anew.

BM: How did the deal with Golovkin come about? Did he choose you or did you reach out to him?
JB: He came to me. I have no idea why and I did not ask the question. He let me know he wanted to try working together and see what would happen. First he asked if we could have just a work out, so I flew out to California. We had the workout and now here we are.

BM: Any comment on the reasons for his split with Sanchez? Also, will you work at a fixed rate for match?
JB: I don’t care about why they split and am not commenting on it. About him and I, I am not discussing the details but everything is good with the business side of things as far as I’m concerned.

BM: Does he remain at middleweight or would you consider a step-up to 168lbs?
JB: No point going up, he is a natural middleweight. He is fine where he is.

BM: Do you support the view that he won both fights with Canelo?
JB: I don’t think it matters. Certain things in life you just have to live with, whether you think you deserve it or not. You can’t go back and change it. And if you can’t do anything about it, you have to put your head down, work harder and move forward. We are turning the page and starting anew.

BM: What are you going to bring to the table? Can he learn something new at this stage of this career?
JB: I teach what I know and what I know is what I learned from Emanuel [Steward]. Basics are the most important thing in boxing. I haven’t seen anything broken that needs fixing, there is no need to implement any changes. I am going to enhance and maximize what he already has and does good.

BM: How much does he have left at this point? What are your objectives as a team?
JB: From what I saw so far, he has plenty left. He is motivated and in shape. We are going for a world title. There is no point being in boxing at all if you are not aiming for a world title.

BM: So are you after an immediate rematch with Canelo? Or would you consider targeting Demetrius Andrade’s WBO belt to have more muscle in negotiations?
JB: It doesn’t matter who we go after. As long as he has a belt and Gennady is OK with it, I say let’s do it.

BM: How much time do you think you need to be ready to challenge?
JB: It’s too early to say. I will know better after we fight in June but I won’t be surprised if it happens immediately next.

BM: Talking about which, how do you feel about Steve Rolls (19-0, 10 KOs)? Is this a step down?
JB: I don’t believe there are any easy fights in boxing. He is a young guy hoping to make a big name for himself. He probably believes that he is catching GGG at the right time and he will come to win. We are taking everything in consideration and will be very cautious.

BM: What did you make of Canelo’s performance against Daniel Jacobs? Did the two GGG fights contribute to his development?
JB: Pretty strong performance. You have to take your hat off to him. He showed his heart. He looks like a different fighter from what he was at 147. And he is still growing. I believe the two fights he had with Gennady made him better. When you are in with someone like GGG who is at the top of his game, you can’t help learning.

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