Ask any casual boxing fan on the street and they will tell you the sport is losing steam. It’s getting boring, doesn’t have the allure it used to, or lacks stars. Floyd Mayweather Jr. and Manny Pacquiao are getting old and Andre Ward doesn’t seem to be too interested in fighting. The heavyweight division is dead. Canelo Alvavez is an exciting talent but needs to beat Miguel Cotto to regain world dominance again. For my money, Gennady Golovkin is going to bring boxing back and he will do it one knockout at a time. This weekend, at Madison Square Garden in New York City, Golovkin will face his stiffest test in Montreal’s David Lemieux, a fellow power puncher with knockout power. A pair of middlweights clashing like a pair of trains on a lit up track.
For all the people who don’t like seeing two boxers step into a ring and dance around each other while throwing harmless jabs and complacent hooks, meet this Russian tank. He’s got hammers for fists and he likes action packed fights. He likes action packed fights so much that he will resist knocking his opponent out so he can give the fans a better fight. A longer bout. How about that? GGG, as fans and analysts call him, will take a few punches to enliven the audience. He will take a shot, smile at the opponent as if the love tap wasn’t hard enough and then unleash a few thunderous shots of his own.
The best boxers have the ability to cut off the ring. Make the square shrink and seem like a tight phone booth instead of an open ring. The best boxers cut it off and then attack with a vengeance when their prey is stuck in the trap. That’s what Golovkin does in his fights. He stalks his prey around the ring and gets them into a corner, where he attacks the head and the body. He has knocked opponents out before with a single body shot to their kidneys or a dynamic combination to their head. He’s the train that rips across the tracks that fighters don’t see coming. If Floyd put you to sleep with his slow boiling ring routine, Gennady is going to pull you out of your seat when he goes to work. On the Road to Golovkin-Lemieux on HBO this past week, GGG put it bluntly. “You have dance. Or you fight. I prefer action.” So do we.
The most appreciative fan of the sweet science will admit that a power puncher is fun to watch. The glory days of Mike Tyson knocking people out before they knew where they were at is sexy and something that was missing before Golovkin showed up pitying the fools who got into a ring and locked horns with him. Golovkin has the highest knockout percentage at 90.9 in middleweight championship history and that includes over 300 fights, both professional and amateur. He has 30 knockouts in 33 professional wins with no losses. He has never been knocked down, showing the ability to have a jawline comprised more of porcelain than glass. He isn’t a flash in the pan yet a real deal that will be realized completely when he sends Lemieux to the canvas Saturday night in the Big Apple.
With no disrespect to the Montreal native, I don’t think Lemieux knows what he is getting into with GGG. It’s like expecting a few inches of snow and getting slammed by an avalanche. Lemieux can say that Golovkin hasn’t tasted the kind of shots he can deliver, but that coin can be flipped the other way. He hasn’t tasted Gennady’s power and that’s the dangerous part. Did I mention that Gennady Golovkin has knocked out 20 straight opponents since he joined up with Abel Sanchez in 2010.
Here’s an example. Marco Antonio Rubio beat Lemieux four years ago. Golovkin knocked Rubio out in the second round a year ago. After the fight, Golovkin called out Cotto to no avail. He knocked out Martin Murray in the 10th round and Willie Moore Jr. in the sixth round after a third knockdown forced Moore to shake his head to the referee, who stopped the fight. Golovkin has destroyed the same opponents who either gave Lemieux a tough time or beat him.
On Saturday night, Golovkin is going to officially coin himself as the pound for pound champion in boxing. He isn’t the next best thing. He is the thing right now in boxing that shouldn’t be missed. If you can’t buy the fight this weekend, go somewhere and watch it. Don’t wait for the replay. It’s better than any action movie in theaters and worth watching. The greatest boxers appeal to hardcore fans, casual fans and people who don’t even like the sport. When you watch Golovkin work, it’s hard to keep your eyes off him. He’s truly something else and he’s quickly taking over the sport.