Every year the Boxing Writers Association votes for their winners in different categories within the boxing world. From fighter of the year, to fight of the year to even one of their own, writer of the year, another category is trainer of the year. For the first time in twenty-seven years a Mexican has been named the best trainer in Abel Sanchez of Big Bear, California, by way of Tijuana.
Sanchez has been in the corner for a number of fighters, fifteen champions in all, including the likes of Terry Norris, the late Miguel Angel Gonzalez, Samuel Peter and Carlos Baldomir but Sanchez is best known for his work with one of the current best pound for pound fighters in the world, Gennady “GGG” Golovkin, the current WBA, IBF and interim WBC middleweight champion.
According to Sanchez, one of the reasons why he has had so much success is the fact he works the old-fashioned way. No assistant, no nutritionist, no strength and conditioning coach, no frills, up in mountains east of Los Angeles, Sanchez likes to work on his own. Many fighters like it, some don’t but it has worked for Sanchez and his brood.
One that didn’t particularly like Sanchez’s methods was nearly unified light heavyweight champion Sergey Kovalev. Sanchez worked with him early in the champion’s career but a falling out caused Kovalev to leave the Big Bear enclave. Neither one of them has gone into details of why the split occurred. Leading up to the Kovalev fight against Nadjib Mohammedi, who was trained for that fight by Sanchez, last year the trainer mentioned something regarding a lack of character about Kovalev bout wouldn’t elaborate.
Kovalev is currently the WBA, IBF and WBO light heavyweight champion.
Despite some fighters leaving him, the story is about the ones that have stayed and no one is more loyal to Sanchez at the moment than Gennady Golovkin. Sanchez picked up the former Olympian with Golovkin made the move from Universum Promotions in Germany to K2 Promotions and Big Bear. Impressed with his technique and power, Sanchez has incorporated the Mexican style that he is known for giving Golovkin a unique blend of boxing skills with controlled aggression that has made Golovkin one of the most popular fighters in the business especially with the coveted Mexican and Mexican-American fans.
Sanchez in a way has become a personality in his own right a la Mexican Freddie Roach. Sanchez, who commands the English language very well after growing up in the border town of Tijuana, has become a de facto spokesman for Golovkin. Sanchez is contacted to get comments regarding the story of 2016, whether his charge will face current WBC middleweight champion Sau l “Canelo” Alvarez. As Golovkin is getting ready to go back the mountain to get his year started, Sanchez has been getting a lot of TV face time as he explains the position of his fighter regarding the issue of the catch weight.
A well-deserved award for trainer Abel Sanchez.