Then Golovkin (29-0, 26 KOs) and Geale were supposed to fight in April, but the fight was not finalized because Geale (30-2, 16 KOs) could not secure the pay-per-view date in Australia due to a conflict with a UFC event that was already scheduled. Golovkin-Lee was then made, but canceled because of the death of Golovkin's father.
Golovkin had knocked out Osumanu Adama in February, so even though the April fight was canceled, he has not had a long layoff. When he returned to Sanchez's gym in Big Bear Lake, California, to begin training in mid-May, he started slowly, perhaps with his father still on his mind.
"Yeah, you're right, maybe for the first time, maybe for my first day I'm not focused," Golovkin said. "It's not 100 percent. In gym, yeah, I understand what I'm doing. I understand my job. Maybe for first day, not 100 percent [focused]. My body, it feels good. My mental [not as much]."
Said Sanchez, "It was kind of hard to get back into the groove but after 2-3 days he was fine. He's an animal. He's a horse. He works harder than anyone I've ever seen. It makes it easy for us."
After Geale avenged the loss to Mundine, he lost his title by split decision to England's Darren Barker in an all-action rumble this past August. He rebounded for a victory against countryman Garth Wood in February, which set him up for Saturday's title shot.
"Gennady has got titles, and I want titles," Geale said. "That's my main goal here. I want to fight the best fighters and I want to win some titles and there is only one way to do that, whether he has a great record or not. You have to get in there and test yourself against the best fighters in the world."
Geale has done that before. He is the rare fighter who has twice gone to Germany and won split decisions against hometown fighters in world title challenges -- against Sturm and Sebastian Sylvester in 2011. Geale is fearless, and said he won't wilt against Golovkin.
"I've been watching his fights. He does well with the guys they put in front of him," Geale said. "He does what he has to do. He's been knocking a lot of guys out but I don't think he's fought too many guys like me before. That's what excites me. I'm gonna take him places he hasn't been before and I guess show him something different, like what it's like to go late into a fight. I've been in lots of hard 12-round fights against great fighters, and I'm gonna take him to that place."
OK, but what about all those highlight-reel knockouts GGG has been scoring?
"That doesn't bother me at all. I'm focused on what I need to do in the fight," said Geale, who lost a 2001 amateur fight to Golovkin. "He does have good power. Guys stand in front of him or sit back on the ropes and wait for him to hit. So of course he's gonna hurt you. But what he can't hit, it will be a different story. I just need to go out there and box and do my thing, fight my style of fight, and I know it will be very difficult for him and I'm gonna make it a tough fight.
"I think he's deserving of the hype. He's knocked out the guys that have been put in front of him so you can't take that away from him. But you can't make him a lot bigger than what he is. He's done good. But now I'm gonna show that he's not invincible."
Said Graham Shaw, Geale's trainer, "Daniel's come to win a belt, not just be another name on Gennady's list. Gennady's a big puncher, but Daniel typically doesn't get hit too often. He's tougher than people think."