Th sport of boxing has some special fighters. Two of those, Floyd Mayweather Jr and Manny Pacquiao, announced on Friday night that they have reached an agreement to fight in May Another of those fighters fought just 24 hours later and proved how great he was with a really nasty beat down of a tough and determined challenger.
That third special fighter is, of course, Middleweight sensation Gennady Golovkin (32-0, 29) who retained his WBA “super and WBC “interim” world titles with one of his most impressive performances to date. Battling against the Martin Murray (29-2-1, 12) of the UK, Golovkin showcased all the things that make him special whilst also showing a few new things to his arsenal.
The fight began somewhat slowly and frustratingly as Murray decided the best line of defence was holding. It was a clever tactic from the challenger in some ways through he was still forced to take hard jabs between the breaks. Strangely when Murray did let his hands go in a positive manner he did look good though it was clear, even in the first round, that he lacked the power to make Golvokin respect him. The holding was again seen in the second round, though it was Murray's best round of the fight as he managed to get through with a lot of good shots of his own, especially to the body of Golovkin. What made things difficult for Murray was his willingness to back up to the ropes where he was a sitting duck for some of Golovkin's work even if the champion wasn't landing too many clean and hurtful shots.
Having taken a couple of rounds to get through the gears Golovkin managed to break through for the first time at the end of round 3 as he seemed to wobble Murray in the final seconds of the. It was the first chink in Murray's armour and the first time Golovkin had managed to really hurt the challenger.
With Murray being wobbled at the end of the 3rd round it seemed that Golovkin could smell blood and in round 4 he upped the ante. This saw Golovkin targeting the body of the challenger who was down twice in the round as he took a battering. For the first time the bout was really looking like a mismatch and for the first time Murray was completely unable to neutralise the Golovkin offense. The best the challenger could manage at times was an occasional low blow that did little more than slow Golvokin down for just a few milliseconds before he was back on the offensive.
Although down twice in the 4th Murray showed a lot of guts, heart and toughness to get to his feet, twice, and continue the round. At the time it seemed pointless though it was the courage of the challenger who was refusing to just lose after 12 minutes of the fight.
With his body aching and breaking Murray then felt the full force of Golovkin's attack up top as his face burst open with his nose bleeding heavily. The blood and pain didn't stop the challenger who tried to fight back and landed a number of eye catching shots, including an eye catching right hand that did little more than bounce off the champion who showed his chin before firing off his own arsenal of punches later, including a beautiful double uppercut late in the round a huge right just before the bell.
Having fallen a mile behind on the cards Murray than mounted a few solid rounds in the middle of the bout as he managed to hold centre ring for some prolonged moments. Although rounds 6 and 7 were better for Murray they weren't rounds he won, in fact he took much better than he gave and in fact Golovkin evened seemed happy for Murray to land some of his sharp combinations with the shots literally bouncing off the champion. So comfortable was Golovkin that he even started to look for his now infamous “top of the head” shot that he stopped Marco Antonio Rubio with, and he tried landing it with both hands.
With Murray having had a couple of moderately successful rounds it seemed like he could mount a bit of a fight back. Those thoughts were quickly ended in round 8 as Golovkin put on a beating on Murray who ended the round wobbling and doing little more than surviving. It seemed as though the Brit was all in and that he was essentially running on fumes and surviving on toughness alone. It was clear he was needing a knockout but he had never managed to do little more than irritating Golovkin with counters in the first 8 rounds.
In the 9th we again saw Murray irritate Golovkin who seemed willing to take a few shots in the hope of finding the perfect counter. The opportunity for Golovkin didn't come but it was obvious that Murray's best hope was to see out the distance. Golovkin however had different plans and in round 10 he against dropped the challenger, scoring his 3rd knockdown of the bout. By the end of the 10th Murray was looking gone, he had wobbled to his corner and seemed like he needed saving. His corner should, really, have done their job there but instead they sent him out for the 11th.
It was to be a foolish move from Murray's corner and within a minute he was stopped as he was on his way down again from another Golovkin assault.
Although Murray had taken Golovkin into the 11th round it was hard for the challenger to take too many positives from the bout. He had spent much of the bout surviving and although his toughness was impressive he was completely out classed, out powered, out muscled and out fought. He had given his all and the best he could do was land a few clean shots here and there whilst being broken down round after round.
The big plus from Golovkin's point of view however was that he had managed to answer another question fans had regarding him. He had managed to prove he had stamina, he looked like he had plenty in reserve at the finish and although he had slowed at times he had never really looked like he was gassing. He also managed to again prove his chin as he took some sharp counters with out even flinching.
For Golovkin it seems like a summer return is inevitable, possibly a WBC world title fight against Puerto Rican legend Miguel Cotto. The questions for Murray's future however, are much harder to answer and he may well be considering his future options following the first clear loss of his professional career.
Last year we saw Thailand's Wanheng Menayothin (37-0, 12) prove there was substance to his long unbeaten record as he beat Oswaldo Novoa to claim the WBC Minnimumweight title. It was fair to say that Wanheng's record was padded but the Novoa win was one that rightfully put him in the conversation along with the other top fighters in the division.
Today the Thai made the first defense of his well earned world title as he took on the unheralded, and essentially unknown, Jeffrey Galero (11-1, 5) of the Philippines.
So unknown was Galero that we hadn't seen any footage of him prior to a sparring session with Knockout CP Freshmart, released earlier this week. Until then we had assumed Galero was a southpaw. In that footage Galero genuinely impressed us with his speed, movement and understand of the ring environment. Prior to the footage we suspect Wanheng wouldn't have any problems with the Filipino though the footage showed someone who could give Wanheng some questions to answer.
In the first round we saw Galero's movement and speed keep him out of Wanheng's range. It wasn't a pretty or exciting round but it did give us a glimpse of the ability Galero had and he possibly shaded the round, though little of real note happened as both tried to see what the other man had.
Although the first round was quiet we began to see a fight breaking out in round 2 in what was a competitive round and it did seem like Galero was there to cause the champion some real issues. An upset was unlikely but Galero certainly seemed comfortable in the ring as he neutralised some of the pressure of the champion whilst firing off short but sharp flurries which were eye catching though not particularly damaging. Sadly for the challenger however this was essentially the start of the end for his success as Wanheng began to find a home for his body shots which seemed to sap the impressive movement of the challenger.
From round 3 we began to see Wanheng's pressure taking effect as he began to close the ring down, cut off Galero's escape routes and land cleaner and heavier blows. Those blows seemed to take the wind out of Galero's sails almost immediately and from the end of round 3 Galero did little more survive as Wanheng turned up the pressure, bit by bit.
By the end of round 5 Galero's clever movement had vanished, his footwork was becoming more and more basic and Wanheng was finding it easy to corner the challenger. To his credit Galero often found ways out of tricky situations but was often forced to take hurtful hooks, straights and uppercuts before he managed to get away from danger. Sadly however he could never do much more than keep the champion honest as Wanheng intelligently went about his work.
After 7 rounds the fight had become less a case of who was going to win and more a case of whether Galero would survive. At times in rounds 7, 8 and 9 it seemed unlikely as the pressure from Wanheng grew and the success of the champion began to grind away at the gutsy but over-matched challenger. In round 10 however Wanheng seemed to ease off a little bit. It was as if the champion had decided a decision was enough, though he wasn't letting Galero get away with out taking some more lumps through the round.
In the championship rounds Wanheng again amped up the assault, as if he had taken a breather and was ready to look for the late stoppage. Galero, for his part, did what he could to neutralise the champion in round 11 and then began fighting back in the final round, By then however the bout was a foregone conclusion with Wanheng a mile ahead on the cards.
At the end there was no drama, no problems for Wanheng and no shock on the cards. Wanheng won a clear decision and made an impressive first defence of his title.
For Wanheng this win could well open him up for a big Japanese pay day against Kosei Tanaka (4-0, 2) though if he feels like turning that down there is a likely mandatory title defence later in the year, possibly against Denver Cuello (35-5-6, 23). We'll be honest we'd love to see either of those fights for Wanheng and suspect that they'd both make for attractive viewing, especially the Cuello fight which would be a brilliant combination of styles.
As for Galero, he impressed in his gameness despite being outclassed. Hopefully this won't be the final time we see him and if he shares the ring with up and coming prospects we'll certainly not complain as he appears to have the traits to test good promising fighters. Today however he came up against someone who is world class and has a style that took away his strengths. It was an unfortunate style match up though we believe Galero will come back stronger from this experience and hopefully go on to compete at a solid level over the coming years.
(Image courtesy of Thairec.com)
World Title Results
Whether you like them or not World Titles add prestige to any bout as a result we've included the results of world title bouts in this special section.