Middleweight Steve Rolls, who faces Gennady Golovkin on June 8, believes he's the best-kept secret in the middleweight division. Steve Kim ESPN
Former unified middleweight champion Gennady Golovkin is set to make his 2019 debut against Steve Rolls on June 8 at Madison Square Garden in New York.
But who is Steve Rolls? And why is he facing Golovkin?
The late Bert Sugar might have joked that Rolls isn't even a household name in his own household. It's no surprise that Golovkin had no idea who Rolls was before signing the fight contract.
"I don't know right now," Golovkin said when asked about his awareness of Rolls' ability during a news conference in Los Angeles. "It's not funny. This is dangerous for me."
Perhaps Golovkin is afraid of the unknown, but who is Rolls, really?
"I'm a guy that doesn't give up. I'm coming to fight," Rolls said. "I'm a dangerous situation for any fighter in the world that overlooks me."
"After my last fight a couple of months ago, I was saying, 'I love doing this, but I've got to make a living. When am I going to break out? When am I going to get that breakout fight that's going to get my name out there?'"Steve Rolls
Regardless of the outcome, this is, in many ways, the culmination of a dream that began for Rolls in 2001, when he was in the 11th grade at John McGregor Secondary School in Chatham, Ontario. As he and his friends were playfully slap-boxing in the cafeteria, something that they did often, something just clicked for Rolls.
"I really got the best of somebody," Rolls recalled. "I went to the gym, [started training] and I fell in love with it."
By the summer of 2002, he was competing in his first amateur tournament. With an amateur record of 83-14, he was good enough to make the Canadian National Boxing Team in 2009 and 2010 before embarking on his professional career in 2011.
"I really feel I'm one of the best middleweights in the world," he said. "I just haven't had my time to shine."
He boasts an undefeated record of 19-0 with 10 knockouts, but he hasn't faced anyone remotely at the level of Golovkin.
This opportunity is a massive shock to Rolls' current day-to-day life. As a personal trainer, he enjoys working with clientele from all walks of life. He plans to open up his own gym, but for now he travels to various fitness facilities around the Toronto area to provide his expertise. He even makes house calls.
The fight is a chance for Rolls to turn all of his attention toward himself and his boxing pursuits. His passion for the sport is undeniable, and he admits that he really doesn't know what he'd be doing if it weren't for boxing.
"If I need to box, I can box," he said of his capabilities. "If I need to bang, I can bang."
Looking at the tape, Rolls is more solid than spectacular. He has good fundamental technique, but you wonder how he will fare against the upper echelon of the division.
After Brandon Adams, who was the front-runner to face Golovkin, decided to sign a contract to face interim middleweight titleholder Jermall Charlo instead, Rolls stepped in to face GGG in his first bout with DAZN.
While he may have considered himself to be in the running to face Golovkin, Rolls was cautiously optimistic until he got the news. Then his manager, Todd Christie, told Rolls about the massive opportunity that had fallen into his lap.
"I couldn't believe it. It was an unbelievable feeling. I mean, this is a life-changing thing," said Rolls, who in recalling that moment thought for a quick second that it may have been an extended April Fools' Day joke. "But my manager is pretty serious about this kind of stuff, so I knew it was real. It was a great feeling, it's what I've worked my whole career for.
"It is surreal. I'll be honest: I was thinking even about a month ago, 'Man, I feel like I'm one of the best-kept secrets in the middleweight division and I can't keep fighting the guys that I've been fighting. How do I get my name bigger?'"
I'm watching now.
Apparently the UFC is just ordered, by spending $79.99 on ESPN+ and the PPV is malfunctioning.
What a shitshow that is.
Customer service started a "ticket", and said technical support will "call me back", and he could neither give me his employee ID# or a ticket number.
Before he hung up I asked "how are you gonna call me back if you don't have my number?"
Paulie on the mic as usual here. Looks like they're ready for at least the main card.
DAZN hasn't screwed me yet, they've been as advertised.