The absurdity of how it all went down last September is behind Gennady Golovkin. He got over the draw in his middleweight mega-fight against Saul "Canelo" Alvarez a long time ago.

"Sometimes there’s a lot of corruption," says GGG. "It’s boxing."

Many thought Golovkin was robbed last year when one judge scored the fight so one-sided in favor of Alvarez that longtime boxing observers bellowed that something illegal had to have happened. But the silver lining of yet another self-inflicted black eye for boxing was that Alvarez’s contract mandated a rematch in the event of a draw.

Only a few minutes removed from officially kicking off the run-up to the highly anticipated May 5 rematch in Las Vegas, the unified middleweight champion of the world is easily approachable and exceedingly gracious. Decked out in a bright purple blazer, electric smile creased wide across his face as he meets and greets well-wishers, Golovkin looks nothing like the expressionless and relentless boxing machine he is in the ring. And get the 35-year-old native of Kazakhstan to talk about the night he met Michael Jordan, who Golovkin grew up adoring, and you won’t be able punch that smile off his face.

We caught up with GGG, the face of the Chivas Fight Club program, at LA Live following the GGG-Canelo II press conference to quickly chat about the fight with Alvarez, the perks of being part of the Jordan Brand, and the night he unexpectedly met one of his heroes.

(This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity.) 

The first fight in September was a great fight and the decision wasn’t what a lot of people expected. How long did it take you to get over it?
It was very quick for me. I understand this business. Sometimes there’s a lot of corruption. It’s boxing. Nobody knows.

There’s a theory that the counter-puncher—Canelo—has the advantage in the rematch.
No. No [there’s no advantage]. Maybe for less than first class fighters. But we’re first class fighters. We’re very adaptive. If he gives me a chance, I’ll beat him. If I give him a chance, he’ll beat me. It’s like that. 

How did the partnership with Jordan Brand come about?
My first reaction was huge because I knew Michael. 

Were you a Jordan fan growing up?
Oh, I remember when I was younger, I watched whole games. I was a basketball fan. I followed his time [in Chicago].

And they’re very selective with the athletes they work with.
Yes, thank you God for helping me and thank you Michael for his position and his politicking. I’m not an American guy. I think he said, "I respect boxing. I’m a huge boxing fan," and he supports his guys. He says he’s very proud [of us]. 

The first time you met Jordan, being a fan of him growing up, were you star struck? Was it humbling?
It was [ring announcer] Michael Buffer, he brings me over to him and says, "Hey Mike, how are you? This is GGG, he’s a champion." I was very correct. Afterward, I’m like [smiles widely]. 

Has Michael been to any of your fights?
I hope the next one. May 5. Hopefully.

How big of a sneaker guy are you?
I’m a 10.5 or 11 and [to have so many] sneakers is a dream for people—old people, young people. I wear them all the time. 

Do you have a favorite?
I have a lot of limited edition sneakers that Jordan sends me. Like every sneaker [they put out] but a different color. Everything is different. I love it.

Do you have anything special planned to wear in the ring May 5?
Right now, Jordan gives me special boxing shoes, special shoes for running and training to prepare us. It’s a huge brand and I believe we’ll work more on a special line, like sweats, t-shirts, and I believe we’ll make more for this fight.