It's rare that two massive punchers face off but that's exactly what we have as WBA Middleweight champion Gennady Golovkin (27-0, 24) takes on Curtis Stevens (25-3, 18). Between them they have 42 stoppage victories from just 55 contests and their average fight goes just a little over 4 rounds. Yes this is a bout that truly falls under the idea of "not going to go the distance".
For many this is a huge step for Stevens, an American who is untested near this level. In fact "Showtime" Stevens is viewed by many fans as a man who is merely a stay busy opponent for Golovkin, albeit one who has some hype behind him and is one of America's few contenders in the division.
A lot of the hype for Stevens has come due to his links to "Main Events" a promoter which has done him the world of good. Less than 4 years ago Stevens seemed an unlikely title challenger. He had been out pointed by Jesse Brinkley and his record had fallen to 21-3 (15) and any career momentum he had had hit a wall.
Surprisingly a 2 year break following the loss to Brinkley seemed to revitalise the career of Stevens who has gone from a man on the brink of retirement to the man looking to claim a world title. Surprisingly his rise has only seen him defeating B rate opponents, such as Elvin Ayala and Saul Roman though the hype of the Brooklyn man has been huge due to the eye catching manner in which he has scored those victories,
Aged 28 Stevens is some 3 years younger than Golovkin, though the Kazakhstan fighter is viewed as a near unbackable favourite. Despite being the older fighter, the man known as "GGG" is also viewed as being the superior fighter in every since way.
As a former amateur standout Golovkin was always expected to reach the pinnacle of the sport. He showed things in the amateurs that seemed to suggest a future professional superstar. The potential now seems to be coming to the fore.
Golovkin has shown not only the great power that has helped him score highlight real KO's over Lajuan Simon, Nobuhiro Ishida and most recently Matthew Macklin, but also skills, balance, timing, control of distance, toughness and startling footwork. In fact from watching Golovkin you seem to be able to see an almost complete fighter with incredible power and the perfect shot selection. Devastating.
Although Stevens is a hard hitter himself, having scored 3 opening round stoppages in his last 4 contests, he seems to be less of a rounded boxer. He hits hand and seems to have fast hands but he looks cruder, less technical and seems less able to set his punches up properly. Sure he's explosive with his shots but against a skilled and tough opponent it would seem likely that he's going to be tagged back. If you get tagged by Golovkin you tend to go in to a shell or go to sleep.
We think that when Golovkin connects with Stevens he may take the first shot or two but never really recover mentally from them as he gets broken down physically and stopped inside 4 rounds.
Hopefully if Golovkin takes out Stevens, as expected, he'll fight Sergio Mertinez to decide the true Middleweight champion of the world. The Golovkin/Martinez bout, is one of only a small handful that fans seem to be clamouring for, and arguable the easiest to make due to Peter Quillin, another hard hitting fighter, being exclusively signed to fight with rival network Showtime in what could have been a genuine firecracker of a contest.
The video below is courtesy of HBOsports