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Golovkin’s everyday weight is usually within a few pounds of his fighting weight, which is why he can eat a Greek salad slathered in beef for his lunch. Along with his fitness and technique, Golovkin exhibits a joy in boxing that’s difficult to teach and even more difficult to fake.

Just as Manny Pacquiao appears to relish the toughest moments in a good brawl, Golovkin’s love for fighting is obvious from his ring demeanor and work ethic. He did two lengthy sparring sessions on New Year’s Eve before enjoying a brief party with his friends in Big Bear, eating Mexican food and waiting for the first day of the biggest year of his life.

“Training is tough, so that makes the fight easy for me,” Golovkin said. “I feel ready for the fight already. I can’t wait to get in the ring.”