By Mitch Abramson
Gennady Golovkin took another step in matching his in-ring appeal with his out of the ring marketability, announcing a deal with Nike’s Jordan Brand on Tuesday. The WBA and IBF middleweight champion from Kazakhstan joins Andre Ward and Roy Jones Jr. as the only boxers to sign with the merchandising giant.
“We are excited to add Gennady to the Jordan Brand family,” Jordan Brand president Larry Miller said in a press release. “Gennady’s work ethic, dedication to his craft and style make him a perfect fit.”
Golovkin (34-0, 31 knockouts) will get a chance to show-off the new relationship on April 23 when he defends his titles against mandatory challenger Dominic Wade at The Forum in Inglewood, California.
Terms of the deal were not disclosed but Golovkin will wear the Jordan Brand product and will “work closely with the brand to continue the development of the category,” the release said. As an indication of the type of product Golovkin may inspire, Ward has Jordan Brand-inspired boxing shoes that barrow heavily from Nike’s Air Jordan line of shoes.
Golovkin is starting to reach a larger audience with some of his commercial endeavors. He recently appeared in an Apple Watch commercial, and his team is trying to capitalize on his sudden fame and personal appeal with more public appearances and sponsorship opportunities.
The Nike signing comes nearly two months after the company dropped Manny Pacquiao as an endorser of product after he made anti-gay comments during his senate campaign in the Philippines. In Golovkin, the company has a spokesman whose squeaky clean public persona doesn’t include controversial soundbites or getting in trouble with the law.
The Jordan Brand is a Nike offshoot inspired by Michael Jordan that consists of more than 50 athletes from different sports, such as Derek Jeter, Russell Westbrook and Carmelo Anthony.