Gennady Golovkin, who is quickly establishing a reputation as boxing's most exciting fighter, will make his West Coast debut on Oct. 18 when he defends his WBA middleweight title at the StubHub Center in Carson, Calif., against veteran Marco Antonio Rubio, promoter Tom Loeffler told Yahoo Sports.
Golovkin, who is 30-0 with 27 knockouts, has fought five times in the U.S., all of them in New York state and four of them in New York city. The Oct. 18 bout versus Rubio is an attempt by K2 to expose Golovkin to a new audience.
It clearly makes sense. Whenever Golovkin has appeared as a spectator at a West Coast fight, he's mobbed by fans. He could barely move when he attended the Juan Manuel Marquez-Mike Alvarado fight at The Forum in Inglewood, Calif., on May 17. He was swarmed by autograph seekers everywhere he went that night.
"This is a strategic step in developing him into the sport's next superstar," Loeffler said of bringing Golovkin West. "We've had a lot of success on the East Coast and some great reaction. But there has been a big demand from the fans in California, particularly in Los Angeles, and this is a perfect match against Rubio."
Loeffler said he briefly pursued potentially major matches against WBC middleweight champion Miguel Cotto and IBF/WBA super middleweight champion Carl Froch, but said talks went nowhere and he quickly turned his attention to Rubio.
He liked the thought of pitting Golovkin against the veteran Rubio, 34, because Rubio is Mexican and will appeal to the large Hispanic fan base in the Greater Los Angeles area.
Rubio is 59-6-1 with 51 KOs. He's lost only twice in the past seven years, to Kelly Pavlik in 2009 and to Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. in 2012.
Golovkin is coming off a third-round knockout of Daniel Geale last month at Madison Square Garden.
"I think the bout with Daniel Geale answered any questions about Gennady there might have been in the ring," Loeffler said. "Geale was a two-time champion and he'd beaten guys like [Felix] Sturm and [Robert] Stieglitz, but Gennady stopped him in three rounds.
"Rubio is one of the top-rated middleweights and he's definitley the top middleweight from Mexico and that should make for a pretty good event."
Loeffler said he'd know the HBO co-feature in a week or so.