Another fight, another knockout. Just another day’s work for Gennady Golovkin.
Golovkin met another brave opponent on Saturday in Monte Carlo, this time Nobuhrio Ishida of Japan. The conqueror of James Kirkland fought hard and bravely but ended up in the same place as almost all of Golovkin’s opponents – on the canvas and unable to get up.
The WBA middleweight champ ended this one with a big overhand right to the chin that sent Ishida crashing through the ropes and hurt him badly in the third round. Referee Stanley Christodoulou didn’t count; Ishida was clearly finished. The official time of the stoppage was 2:21.
The winner has now stopped 13 consecutive opponents even as his general level of opposition has improved, although Ishida has now lost three consecutive fights.
Golovkin (26-0, 23 knockouts) was coming off of a so-so performance by his standards. The Kazakastani scored a technical knockout over tough Gabriel Rosado in seven rounds – after turning the challenger’s face into a bloody mess – but couldn’t take him out in his customary fashion.
The fight on Saturday in Moncao had a different feel.
Golovkin fought patiently in the first round, calmly finding his range and sizing up his taller foe. Ishida (24-9-2, 9 KOs), looking sharp, fought as if he wasn’t the least bit afraid and held his own for three minutes.
In retrospect, Ishida probably should’ve displayed less bravado and more caution. Golovkin began landing hard, telling blows beginning in the second round. Ishida, who had never been stopped in his 13-year career, took everything Golovkin landed and kept coming but he was in imminent danger.
The end came suddenly. Golovkin threw two lefts and then followed with a right that landed squarely on the chin of Ishida, who landed semi-conscious on the bottom rope. The veteran ref knew instantly that Ishida was finished, prompting him to wave his arms to signal the end of the brief fight.
Golovkin didn’t celebrate much immediately afterward, simply hugging his handlers with no expression on his face. Perhaps he was subdued out of respect for Ishida, who was still coming to. Or perhaps this is just what he has come to expect from himself, as we do of him.
A knockout? Of course.
He perked up when he was interviewed in the ring, though, smiling broadly and thanking those in attendance. That included Prince Albert of Monaco, who reportedly is a boxing fan.
Golovkin was asked the obligatory question: Who’s next? Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. and Sergio Martinez are among those who many believe would make an interesting dance partner for Golovkin.
“Doesn’t matter,” he said. “I’m ready.”
No one would argue about that.
Photos: Valery Hache-AFP/Getty