Gennady Golovkin is a destroyer of men. One only needs to watch any of his last fifteen fights to figure such a thing out. His congeniality is offset by his sheer brutality in the ring. He hurts men, very badly, with a smile on his face.
Afterwards he stands in the ring and smiles, never begrudging an opponent for trying to hurt him. That’s what the games all about after all. It’s just that Golovkin tends to be the one doing the hurting.
He’s reminiscent of the best of the old school fighters. The ones who fought multiple times a year, taking on all comers. It’s a refreshing change. He’s already fought four times this year and is quickly becoming an attraction on HBO.
While he certainly won’t be in serious consideration for Fighter of the Year when the calendar flips from 2013 to 2014, he’s been one of the most entertaining throughout it. As he meets each challenge, he seems to easily overcome it.
His showdown with Martin Murray was supposed to be the biggest test of his career up until that point. He destroyed him in three rounds courtesy of a gruesome body shot. It’s no secret just how badly such a thing can hurt an opponent. It is rare to see someone react in the way Murray did.
If potential challengers weren’t afraid of Golovkin before that fight they certainly were afterwards. Seeing the reaction of Murray, crumpling as though he’d be shot, can’t give one too many positives to see in regards to a fight with Golovkin.
He hasn’t gone past 8 rounds since 2011. He’s had three knockout victories since, the rest coming by way of technical knockout. Corners do not like to see their fighters take the kind of punishment which Golovkin dishes out.
Those times when an opponent’s chin keeps him on his feet when everything else says he should be on the canvas are the most worrying. The kind of damage Golovkin possesses means even if they’re still standing they’ve probably taken an unimaginable amount of punishment regardless.
Curtis Stevens was the latest man to sign himself up for punishment, commendable given the hype surrounding the Kazakh. Most don’t want anything to do with him. Stevens seemed assured he could defeat him.
And he fought Golovkin valiantly, that much has to be said. He was in the ring with Golovkin longer than any opponent since Kassim Ouma in June 2011. He rocked Golovkin at times, the power which Stevens possesses asking questions of his opponent.
He did much of this after being put on the canvas by Golovkin in the second round. He was no patsy, no bum thrown in the ring to be destroyed in front of the hungry masses.
But he had to deal with Gennady. That’s something no one has figured out how to do in 28 fights. It doesn’t look like something anyone is going to be doing soon either.
The biggest question that remains for Golovkin is who gets punished next. He’s quickly moving up the ranks of the middleweight division. Champions are going to continue avoiding him. Unification fights aren’t ideal when the other guy is this good. Luckily he has built up a name on HBO. Without exposure the toughest challengers are regularly avoided by the champions.
Golovkin’s name is one which is becoming widely known. While he was for a long time championed by hardcore fight fans, a guy who knocks out his opponent 89% of the time isn’t going to stay a secret for long. Especially at middleweight.
He already holds the WBA and IBO straps. Peter “Kid Chocolate” Quillin holds the WBO title, Darren Barker the IBF and Sergio “Maravilla” Martinez the WBC and Ring championships.
As any fan knows by now, there’s no shortage of sanctioning bodies handing out World Titles. While it clouds the division, Golovkin and Martinez are widely considered the top dogs at middleweight. A fight between the two would be one which any fight fan would salivate over. It’s also one no one is going to be holding their breath for.
The Maravilla of two years ago could have undoubtedly provided a huge challenge to Golovkin. In fact it’s very likely he would win. The Maravilla of 2013 doesn’t seem to possess such a challenge anymore. While Martinez’ style will always make a fight with him tricky, his age and loss of mobility are huge factors against him.
When you’re fighting a guy like Golovkin who has the ability to move around the ring with ease, and who likes to back his opponents down, any mobility issue becomes an immediate problem. You have to come at 100% to frustrate Golovkin.
Darren Barker fights with the heart of a lion. The body shot Australia’s Daniel Geale floored him with would have kept most on the mat for good. Watch Barker get up from it. It’s as though he’s fighting a battle between body and mind to get back up when hurt so bad. But he arose, and went on to win the title.
Sheer will isn’t good enough against Golovkin. It’s hard to not see Barker losing to him with Golovkin being a much stronger and talented man than Barker. It’s a fight we’d love to see just to see if we could be proven wrong.
Peter Quillin is perhaps the most interesting fight for Golovkin at middleweight, as well as one of the more likely opponents he’s likely to meet. Quillin’s lack of speed could be the key in this match up. Curtis Stevens is almost certainly quicker than Kid Chocolate.
If Golovkin could get to Stevens, he can get to Quillin. And the body attack Golovkin loves could be executed far easier against Quillin, a fighter who’s lankier than Stevens. Without that compact frame proving hard to hit, Golovkin might make short work of Quillin.
That said Quillin could easily use that lanky frame to establish a safe range from Golovkin. As ever I’m boxing, the smartest strategy is to not get hit. That advice is especially well heeded against the likes of Golovkin.
The most interesting fights perhaps lie a few pounds north of where Golovkin currently campaigns. Andre Ward and Carl Froch are the top dogs at Super Middleweight and both would provide interesting challenges for Golovkin.
Froch has emered as one of the gamest fighters in the sport over the last couple of years. He’s proven himself and his credentials over the course of the Super Six tournament, although he ultimately lost in the final to Andre Ward. Since then he’s blasted out Lucian Bute, a fighter whose absence from the Super Six was controversial, and out pointed the durable Mikkel Kessler.
Some said Bute was better than those in the tournament. He was long ranked ahead of Froch during and after the tournament. The Brit demolished Bute in five rounds in one of the most one sided victories of his career when they finally met in Nottingham.
He then went on to gain a unanimous decision in a rematch with Mikkel Kessler, long the top Super Middleweight in the world. He controversially lost in the first fight. He dominated the rematch.
There’s no doubt Froch would be up to the challenge faced by Golovkin. While he’s not fought someone with the heavy hands of Golovkin, there’s no guarantee that power moves up with the smaller Golovkin. Froch has also become so seasoned and ring savvy over his career that it’s completely likely he’d find a way to frustrate Golovkin.
When you fight the array of opponents Froch has, you’re obviously exposed to a great variety of styles. You then learn how to deal with these styles. There aren’t many styles Froch has yet to face.
Then we come to Andre Ward. Considered one of the pound for pound best, he’s so good his fights are often derided as boring. He certainly doesn’t have the most entertaining style in the world, but he so often wins comfortably that it’s hard to imagine anyone providing a threat.
The same goes for Golovkin. Ward is hard to hit. His defensive prowess is no joke. If Ward can limit the number of times he gets hit by the granite fisted Golovkin his ability to frustrate him increases greatly. A frustrated fighter is a foolish one.
A Ward fight would certainly be the toughest one Golovkin could sign on for. While a showdown for middleweight supremacy with Sergio Martinez would certainly be more lucrative, this one would be to determine the best boxer in the world behind Floyd Mayweather.
Ward currently occupies that spot and there’s no doubt Golovkin covets it. Whether we see it is another matter entirely. For a network short on stars, putting two of their biggest in at this point is a risky endeavor. The age of Martinez means that huge showdown is the more likely of the two in the foreseeable future.
Regardless of how the future plays out, one can ensure that Gennady Golovkin will continue on his warpath. His smile hiding the brutality his hands possess. You see, his destruction of you is just part of his job.