Undefeated middleweight contender Gennady Golovkin was impressive in his U.S. debut, dropping European champ Grzegorz Proksa three times en route to a brutal fifth-round stoppage on Saturday in Verona, N.Y.
The 30-year-old 2004 Olympic silver medalist entered the HBO Boxing After Dark main event with a lot of hype stemming from his considerable amateur accomplishments and unbelievable sparring stories from his training camps in Big Bear, Calif.
Golovkin (24-0, 21 knockouts) lived up to the high expectations by dropping Proksa, a hardnosed southpaw with an unorthodox style, in rounds one, four and five. Golovkin stunned Proksa with a jab before flooring him with a short right near the end of the opening round. He punished Proksa with left hooks to the body along the ropes before landing a left uppercut followed by a hook that deposited the game Pole to the canvas in the fourth.
When Proksa, a fiercely proud and scary tough professional, went to the ropes in the fifth round even the most ardent Golovkin skeptics knew the fight was over. Golovkin literally flattened Proksa to the ground with a frighting two-fisted assault, forcing referee Charley Fitch to call the fight at 1:11 of the round, even though the incredibly gutsy contender beat the count.
Proksa (28-2, 21 KOs), who was coming of an eighth-round TKO of Kerry Hope to avenge the only loss of his career, had never been dropped or stopped prior to facing Golovkin, who made a name for himself among American fight fans.
He made his HBO debut at the right time. The middleweight division is deeper and hotter than it’s been in many years. Earlier on Saturday Australia’s Daniel Geale unified the WBA and IBF titles with a hard-fought split decision over German veteran Felix Sturm in a terrific fight.
On Sept. 15, linear middleweight champ Sergio Martinez puts his RING title on the line against unbeaten WBC beltholder Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. in a major pay-per-view event. On Oct. 20, WBO titleholder Hassan N’Jikam defends his belt against fellow undefeated talent Peter Quillin.
Worthy opponents have emerged and will emerge over the next few weeks. Golovkin says he is willing to fight them all.
“It was a good first fight in America,” Golovkin said after the fight. “I am ready for anyone and that includes the winner of Martinez and Chavez Jr. I hope to be back in December.”
Boxing fans are ready to watch him fight.