Occasionally in boxing we come across a fighter who is simply box office in terms of skills and excitement. A fighter who can out box most or can dismantle them with a combination of placement and power. Whilst it's all great being skilled the casual fight fan loves knockouts and if a fighter can score knockout after knockout after knockout whilst using skill then they appeal to both the casual fight fans and the hardcore fights fans.
One of the very few who does combine world class class skills with frightening power is Kazakhstan's Gennady Golovkin (29-0, 26), AKA "GGG". Golvokin has been the long reining WBA Middleweight champion and although he has looked sensational in wiping out swatches of the Middleweight division many do question how he copes when he fights a championship level fighter. In fact many deride his competition as not just second rate but third rate, a harsh criticism when the opposition has included European champions, former title contenders and even a former world champion, albeit at a lower weight.
This weekend's fight however sees Golvokin facing a genuine world class fighter in the former of former unified IBF and WBA Middleweight champion Daniel Geale (30-2, 16).
Geale is a fighter who has proven his value with notable wins over the likes of Roman Karmazin, Sebastian Sylvester, Felix Sturm and Anthony Mundine, all of whom were world champions. He may not possess thundering power but he's skilled, very hard working and refuses to just lose, in fact both of his losses have been controversial with many feeling he got the bad end of split decisions. When you consider his career so far he's unfortunate not to be 32-0 and still a double world champion.
For Golovkin this is a clear step up in opposition. For the first time in his career he's facing an indisputable world class opponent at the weight that suits them. Despite this "step up" from the likes of Osamu Adama, Gabriel Rosada and Curtis Stevens we still don't see Golovkin really being tested, and it's a view shared by many, including the bookies who have "GGG" as a clear favourite.
For Geale to win he will have to out work Golovkin and to do that he will need to get inside the Kazakh. There are three problems there for Geale. The first is getting inside of Golovkin, a feat that often looks nigh on impossible despite the fact that Golovkin is often happy to apply constant calculated pressure. The second problem is working on the inside with out being tagged whilst he's there, sadly for the challenger he will need to avoid the power of the champion on the inside just as much as he will coming in. And thirdly Geale will need to get back out of range with out being tagged, a feat that is difficult even with footwork as good Geale's.
From Golovkin we're expecting the usual tactics that he uses to great effect. The first part of that is his constant pressure, whether he throws a lot or not his pressure can take an effect, this was shown in his fight with Makoto Fuchigami. In that fight Golovkin threw next to nothing in the opening round but applied so much pressure that Fuchigami was already crumbling at the end of the round and through the following rounds Golovkin slowly amped up the output. What allows Golvokin to apply so much pressure is his exceptional footwork and understanding of distance both of which are under-rated skills that he has down to a tee. As well as the pressure Golovkin will also be looking to utilise his excellent shot selection and heavy hands. Every shot of Golovkin's hurts. His jab is like a ram rod, his straight is concussive, and his shots on the inside are utterly destructive.
Whilst we would like to pretend that we will see Golovkin actually tested here we really don't see anything but a stoppage victory for the champion who is hunting his 17th successive stoppage, a truly remarkable number!
Hopefully a win here will be followed by Golovkin fighting against another top Middleweight. A bout with Miguel Cotto would be top of the list though bouts with Sam Soliman or Martin Murray would certainly be acceptable fights given their standing in the division. It seems however that Golovkin himself wants either Cotto or Mexican star Saul "Canelo" Alvarez and we wouldn't complain if it did end up being Canelo next time out.
(Image courtesy of thegarden.com)
When we look back at 2013 it's fair to say that Gennady Golovkin (28-0, 25) had a real year to remember. The WBA Middleweight champion not only defended his world title 4 times but also scored 2 credible KO of the year contenders and became a man on the verge of becoming a genuine world star.
Unfortunately when you score KO of the year contenders on a regular basis you tend not to be the type of guy who has opponents lining up to fight you. In fact you tend to become a bit of an avoided fighter, even if you do hold a world title. This has unfortunately become the case with Golovkin who seems to have more people running from him than almost any other fighter in the sport right now.
The most obvious ducking of Golovkin came by Britain's Martin Murray who was supposed to fight Golovkin for the WBA world title on February 1st in Monaco. Murray however tried to play boxing politics and instead tried to sign up to fight Jarrod Fletcher on the card for what he expected to be the vacant WBA belt. The WBA, seeing what was going on, seemed unwilling to play ball.
Unfortunately by the time the WBA had sorted their own house out Golovkin had an opponent lined up, albeit a disappointing on in the form of Osumanu Adama (22-3, 16).
Although not an opponent any fan wanted to see Golovkin in with we expect Adama to actually make for an entertaining opponent. The Ghanian born American based fighter may not be on many people's top 15 Middleweights though he's a fighter who appears to have a few things going for him. Firstly he's tough, in 25 fights he has never been stopped, secondly he's confident, or at least he's talking a big fight, and thirdly he allows Golovkin to be compared to the highly regarded Daniel Geale who took a workmanlike decision over Adama less than 2 years ago.
Whilst not the greatest fighter on the planet Adama does serve a purpose, he can keep Golovkin busy and at least let the Kazakh have a fight in the early part of the year. He's may not be the most talented, freshest, fastest or powerful fighter on the planet but credit needs to be given to Adama's bravery for stepping in the ring with Golovkin.
For his bravery however we can't see anything but a loss for Adama, and a painful one at that. Golovkin is just better in every department. The Kazakh is more skilled, tougher, more powerful, faster, better judge of timing and distance, has a more complete arsenal, excellent footwork and amazing balance. We're not going to go as far as to say Golovkin is the perfect fighter or unbeatable, but it will take a very special fighter to beat and Adama isn't special, merely brave.
Going in to this fight Golovkin will know that he's expected to win and will also know that if he keeps winning major paydays will come his way. He'll also know that they will come even quicker if he continues to leave fighters unconscious with eye catching knockouts. If Golovkin can do what he did to Nobuhiro Ishida last time he fought in Monaco, leaving Ishida out cold lying between the ropes, then this bout will have served it's purpose, it'll have gotten him another highlight reel knockout. It's that, that we think will be the aim here.
Expect to see the teak tough Adama left out cold from a single shot as Golovkin continues to leave a path of carnage in his wake. Then lets hope one of the other, supposedly world level, Middleweights will have the stones to fight Golovkin in a genuinely meaningful contest.
This weekend's biggest fight takes place in the US in what promises to be nothing short of explosive.
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
Courtesy of Boxrec.com
It's taken a while for the mainstream boxing public to get to know the destructive Gennady "GGG" Golovkin (26-0, 23) but the hard hitting Middleweight champion is now starting to get the attention he has thoroughly deserved.
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.
World Title Previews
The biggest fights get broken down as we try to predict who will come out on top in the up coming world title bouts.