On May 16th we see Golovkin return to the ring for his second bout of the year, his 4th bout in a the last 12 months and his 7th bout in less than 24 months. That type of activity is rarely seen by contenders never mind champions.
One of the reason's Golovkin has been so active is because he's been so destructive. His last 3 bouts have lasted a combined 16 rounds with 11 of those coming against the tough Martin Murray in a very one sided bout that saw Murray surviving without posing too many problems. Golovkin's last 7 bouts have gone 34 rounds. He's wiping out opponents in a manner that allows him to be active and none of the bouts are really putting miles on the clock.
What makes Golovkin so destructive isn't just his power, which is a great asset, but also his shot selection and his intense and very calculated pressure. He applies frightening pressure that forces opponents on to the retreat, he cuts the ring off marvelously, corners his foes then lands clean, hurtful shots. He finds gaps that other fighters don't, he lands shots that opponents don't see coming and he neutralises his foes offense with his own pressure.
Arguably the greatest trait Golovkin his is calmness. In his 32 professional bouts and copious amateur bouts we've never seen Golovkin look flustered. Instead he looks calm, relaxed, and like a natural born fighter. Few fighters look as calm as Golovkin, even when he's being tagged himself on what appears to be a very granite chin. A chin he certainly believes in.
In the opposite corner to Golovkin will be the once beaten Willie "The Mongoose" Monroe Jr (19-1, 6), a man who really made his name last year when he won the Middleweight “Boxcino” tournament on ESPN. Prior to that tournament victory he was a relative unknown with a win over journeyman Michael Walker and a loss to Darnell Boone being his only notable results. Impressively Monroe scored 4 wins last year and has scored 7 wins in the last 24 months, albeit at a much lower level than Golovkin's been competing at.
Whilst Golovkin is an intense pressure fighter with thunderous Monroe is more of a boxer-move who lacks the power on his shots but does have nice light movement, quick hands and the ability to get in and out of range with out problems. He's shown an excellent ability to use the ring and a brilliant ability to box on the move whilst keeping opponents off balance and preventing them from setting their feet. It that's ability that helped him over-come decent opponents like Brian Vera, Brandon Adams and Vitaliy Kopylenko.
As well as being a tricky mover Monroe is also a southpaw. That makes him doubly tricky at the level he's been competing at. Sadly though he likes real power, his competition, whilst being solid, is several levels below that of Golovkin's and so far he has the record of a prospect rather than a future world champion. He's got a great story and a fantastic attitude but it's really hard to see what he has to really trouble Golovkin.
In terms of styles, and just styles, this is interesting. On paper it's pressure fighter against tricky southpaw boxer-mover. Sadly however styles don't over-come a massive difference in ability and there really is very little for Golovkin to be worried about. The champion has the better skills, the more power, the more proven ability, the better chin, the better amateur pedigree, the better footwork and the better shot selection.
In many ways all Monroe has that Golovkin doesn't is speed, though that will be neutralised by Golovkin's amazing timing, chin and footwork.
What we're expecting is to see Monroe try to make the most of his abilities early on. He'll get on his bike whilst jabbing and moving. After a round or two however Golovkin will get his range, cut the ring off and start to pin Monroe against the ropes. With Monroe on the ropes Golovkin will start to land his body shots and by round 5 or 6 Monroe will become slower, more ragged and eventually be broken down from the sheer relentless pressure of the champion.
*Note Monroe will not be fighting for the WBC "interim" title as he's chosen not to pay the sanctioning fees requested. Golovkin however will be defending the title.
(Image courtesy of http://www.iboboxing.com)