At the end of June Golovkin, the WBA Middleweight champion will be facing his toughest fight yet as he faces the popular and often exciting Matthew "Mack the Knife" Macklin (29-4, 20). For Macklin this will be his 3rd world level bout having lost to both Sergio Gabriel Martinez and Felix Sturm (though the loss to Sturm was highly controversial).
Born in Karaganda, Kazakhstan Golovkin has been blessed with all the traits that can make a boxing star. He's talented, he's charming, he's memorable and more than anything else, he has truly concussive power. The sort of thing a highlight reel is made of.
It's the power of Golovkin that has endeared him not only to fight fans but also television networks who have started to show more and more of his bouts whilst pushing him as one of the best fighters (at least stylistically) on the planet. It's with the help of the TV network HBO that Golovkin finds himself on US TV for the 3rd time in 4 fights and in what will be his 9th "world" title bout.
In Matthew Macklin we have a determined and skilled challenger who himself has heavy hands, a good (but not great) skillset, a lot of heart and a fun to watch style which usually involves throwing plenty of leather often up close.
What we have, at least on paper, are 2 of the top 10 Middleweights clashing in a bout that truly looks like it was made with the fans enjoyment first and foremost.
At his best Golovkin, 31, is an excellent counter puncher who sees an opportunity and lands with dynamite power from either hand in the blink of an eye. He applies pressure, forces a mistake and connects cleanly. What makes him so impressive however is that he's always perfectly balanced for the big shot, whether he's going forward or backwards his body is always in the position to take advantage of a slip up.
At his worst the champion is defensively questionable often taking a shot or two that he doesn't really need to take when he's forced to make the fight. Unfortunately for his opponents he takes a shot as well as he delivers one and is rarely in any trouble at all.
Macklin, also 31, is usually a more aggressively minded fighter than Golovkin. His fights with both Jamie Moore and Felix Sturm show just how fun he can be, despite losing both of those fights. Though against Martinez, Macklin did show that he was a very capable boxer and was holding his own against the then #3 Ring Magazine ranked pound-for-pound fighter.
Whilst Macklin is capable on the back foot and very solid on the front foot, he was dropped twice by Martinez who whilst a crisp puncher lacks the lights out power of Golovkin. This is a worry for the fighter from Birmingham, England who knows the dangers of being tagged by Golovkin.
On paper the bout looks like a sure fire barnstormer. Aggressive-come forward power puncher (Macklin) against a murderous punching counter puncher (Golovkin) the problem however could come if Macklin decides not to play ball and elects to box rather than fight. If the challenger does decide to box it could force the champion to turn aggressor, something he can do well.
Sadly for Macklin trying to box with Golovkin is unlikely to be successful as the Kazakh is himself an excellent boxer who had amazing amateur success. If Macklin tries to boxing with Golovkin, the champion will cut the ring off, use body shots to slow Macklin's legs before eventually breaking him down. It really does seem like a no-win situation.
With Macklin aware that boxing Golovkin isn't a smart move, we may well see the Englishman (with Irish roots) electing to just go to war and put on a show for the fans. Doing so may not help his chances at winning but will help him once again win over the fans.
Don't be shocked if this is very short lived but very fun whilst it lasts.
In preparation for this bout we've included a highlight video of Golovkin courtesy of HBOsports.