OH MY GGG-OODNESS!
Frankly, I was skeptical of the “GGG” hype until this weekend. What he did to Matthew Macklin is borderline extraordinary. Anytime I jump out of my couch screaming has got to mean something! Furthermore, a body-shot KO is such a rare occurrence that even the HBO commentators were frantically searching for similar examples to draw upon (and even those were years off). It seemed like everyone was expecting Macklin to bring out the best GGG had to offer but instead we got an indisputable shut-out-stoppage in 2.5 rounds (seriously, how many times do refs count the full 10?).
I understand you have your own opinions about the P4P rankings, and that The Ring’s top 10 are, for the most part, out of your control, but after tonight I cannot see why GGG would not be a player in that ‘mythical’ elite 10. I mean, FFS, Homer would be orating about the way he’s been fighting lately! This guy is a classic warrior! He seems to only be getting better in the face of more difficult opposition. He’s like the Big Fish; whatever bowl he gets put into he grows to its size. I guess the question on everyone’s mind is: “How big can GGG get?”
F__king huge, I hope.
In any case, I have to thank you for your mailbag for putting my eye on GGG. He’s the truth, and I can’t wait to see who he fights next! This is coming from someone who idolizes Sergio Martinez and Andre Ward (two future victims of the Goodboye, perhaps?!)
As always, keep up the great work and writing! Cheers. – Benjamin, Portland, OR
Thanks for the kind words, Benjamin. If this mailbag column put Golovkin on your radar (or anyone else’s) I guess it can’t be all bad.
The first email of this past Friday’s mailbag included a question about whether I thought Golovkin could be a top five pound-for-pound player in a few years.
I told the guy (Brandon) “Time will tell. Here’s what I know now: Golovkin’s undefeated, he’s got a major belt (or two if you count the IBO), he’s a top five middleweight, he can punch like a mother f___er and he’s fun to watch. That’s good enough for me.”
Although GGG looked like the truth while dominating and dispatching Macklin in three, that’s still my answer for anyone who wants to nominate the middleweight marauder for the mythical elite rankings.
Golovkin exceeded my expectations on Saturday (I thought Macklin would give him a fight and go more rounds before getting knocked out in sudden and dynamic fashion), but he still did what just about everyone said he would do. He was in with a worthy challenger but not a perceived threat.
That’s not meant as a slight to Macklin because Golovkin is arguably the best middleweight in the world. However until GGG beats Martinez – or defeats enough top contenders, such as Daniel Geale, Martin Murray and Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. – that’s just an assumption based on one really good performance and world-class punching power.
He’s seems to have the talent, tools and poise to one day be considered an elite boxer, but he’ll need either a victory over Ward or a string of excellent performances like the Macklin KO to prove it. Stoppage victories over Kassim Ouma, Grzegorz Proksa, Gabriel Rosado and Macklin shouldn’t be enough to crack the mythical rankings in my opinion. (And before any of you pound-for-pound obsessed nerds leave nasty comments directed at me about how certain fighters in THE RING’s P4P top 10 lack elite names on their resumes, let me state – once again – for the record that I AGREE with you, so please direct your opinions to The Ratings Chairman, Chuck Giampa, at email@example.com)
The better question (which you posed) is how big can Golovkin get? I think he can get pretty big. Fans love bona-fide punchers. And guys who can whack that are as polished and poised as GGG don’t come around often, so the Kazakhstan native is a breath of fresh air. Even though he doesn’t speak much English, I think American fans will embrace him because of his brutal-but-sportsmanlike ring presence and his humble/good natured demeanor outside of he ring. He’s also got a good team behind him. He’s got a veteran trainer (Abel Sanchez) who has worked hard over the past three years to make his style more appealing to American andLatino fans while maximizing his effectiveness. He’s got a promoter (K2) which can keep him busy in a number of international markets. And he’s got a U.S. television partner (HBO) that believes in him and is willing to put money and marketing muscle behind him.
That’s a great combination but Golovkin has still got to fight and win and continue to look impressive as he did Saturday night.
If he reaches his team’s goal of fighting five times this year, and he knocks off another legit top-10 contender, I think GGG will enter 2014 as one of the better-known boxers in the world. If he’s able to land the right fights next year – Martinez or Chavez Jr. – I think he’ll be close to “star” status going into 2015. If he can get Ward into the ring by then and beat the American, he’ll be considered a star.
There are a lot of “ifs” along that road to stardom but I think Golovkin is headed in the right direction.
Just one question: Who will have the stones to fight “Golovking”? (That was a typo originally, but I like it, so I’m going with it) – Matt in Mattawan
I think Peter “Kid Chocolate” Quillin is willing to fight Golovkin (and is also big, strong and athletic enough to pose a threat to his fellow undefeated beltholder) but, alas, his promotional/network affiliation is a barrier to that showdown being made.
So that leaves the Daniel Geale-Darren Barker winner, Martin Murray, Brian Vera, Sergio Mora, and amateur foe Matt Korobov – all of whom I think would be willing to challenge GGG.
If Golovkin is lucky Chavez wants a piece of him. However, Junior has other lucrative options. I think both Martinez and Ward would rather face Chavez before considering a bout with GGG.
If Felix Sturm wins his comeback bout next month he might (finally) be willing to face Golovkin, which would be a big fight in Germany or semi-high-profile bout in the U.S.
THE INVINCIBLE ONE
Thank you. – Byron, Columbia, MO
Geale might be rugged enough to last with Golovkin but I’m not sure if the IBF titleholder’s got the power to really bust up the face of the WBA/IBO beltholder.
Quillin’s got the size, athleticism and power to do some damage, but I wonder if his lack of technique and questionable stamina would cost him against the former amateur standout.
Chavez and Murray also have the size and strength to command at least some respect from GGG (though both have a methodical approach that the undefeated titleholder would likely take advantage of).
And, of course, Martinez’s blend of experience, mobility and heart would enable him to go rounds with Golovkin (though his aging body would probably betray him by the late rounds).
Those are the top 160-pound threats Golovkin, in my opinion. I would favor GGG to beat all five but I doubt he’d blow ‘em all out.
At 168 pounds, Ward (obviously), Carl Froch and Mikkel Kessler all have the size, ability and experience to seriously challenge Golovkin (if not beat him). Andre Dirrell might have the pure talent to trouble GGG but he’s got to get a few more comeback bouts under his belt before he’ll be ready.
What’s up Dougie,
I must admit, I’m on the Gennady Golovkin bandwagon! The guy is a fight fan’s fighter. My question now is will other top middleweights step up to fight him? According to an article I just read by Tim Smith, Lou DiBella pretty much put a GGG-Sergio Martinez fight out of the question. I know there is no way Top Rank puts JC Chavez Jr. in with this beast. Do you think Peter Quillen will be up to the task? Is GGG too good for his own good?
As a born and raised Central California guy I wanna give a shout out to Jose Ramirez! The youngster scored another 1st round KO, his third in 4 fights. I still have a lot of friends and family back in the 559 and they are all very excited about the kid. Looking forward to seeing his career unfold. From what I hear, he’s well grounded and humble outside ring. No Panchito Bojado non-sense happening there. – Miguel, LBC
I’ve met Ramirez. He’s a good kid and he’s hard worker in the gym. He isn’t gifted with the natural ability Bojado possessed but he makes up for it with tenacity. He should continue to develop nicely under Top Rank’s watch.
I don’t think Golovkin is too good for his own good. He’s a total badass. No doubt about that. But I think there are enough solid 160 pounders (the Geale-Barker winner, Vera, Mora, Sam Soliman) who will fight him while high-profile bouts with Martinez and Chavez “marinate.”
DiBella didn’t say that he would not allow Martinez to fight Golovkin. He said the champ-on-the-mend won’t be back in the ring until 14 months after his last bout, and didn’t want Martinez’s first bout back to be against a monster like GGG. Now, it’s still a long shot but if the money is there for Martinez-Golovkin in late 2014 or the first part of 2015, it might happen.
I’ve always believed the Golovkin hype…but it’s not hype anymore. He’s a beast.
If Sergio is ever going to fight him, which he won’t bc of the money in the JCC rematch, he would be best to do it right now. GGG is getting more seasoned and looked calm and measured. I’m a Sergio fanboy, but I don’t know if this version of Sergio can take him. Two years ago maybe.
Here’s hoping he and Ward keep stacking bodies and one day meet in a superfight. I do believe Ward can best hut, but many forget Ward has been down before with lighter punchers. Giddyup. – Tony, LA
Ward is the only fighter from 160-168 that I’d outright pick to beat Golovkin right now. I don’t know if that will be the case this time next year. But I do know that Ward-Golovkin will be a potential pay-per-view main event by then.
I’m a Martinez fan, too, but I don’t like his chances against GGG.
Anyone who still thinks Golovkin is “hype” is a dips__t. There’s really no other way to put that.
TRIPLE O, TRIPLE G
GGGood luck finding another opponent for Golovkin. People can say all they want about him being overhyped, but the pedigree is real and so is the power. He obviously looked great in the fight so no need for me to go further, but how tough was Kassim Ouma for going 10 rounds with this beast and actually giving him a pretty good damn fight?!?
Mythical Matchup: Gennady Golovkin vs a PRIME James “Un-KnockOutable” Toney. The one after the first McCallum fight. I pick Toney. Love the guy and would never pick against him, even vs the K-Bros if they scheduled a fight tomorrow. His first fight with Sam Peter is actually what got me into boxing. It was the FIRST boxing match I ever watched, flipping through channels one day. Go figure….. LOL. – Jabre
I agree that prime James Toney would beat GGG. He had the defense, savvy inside game, heavy accurate hands and unbelievable chin to not only compete with Golovkin but wear him down (as he did Iran Barkley and Prince Charles Williams at 168 pounds and GGG’s fellow Kazakhstan native Vassiliy Jirov at 190 pounds).
I was ringside for the first Toney-Peter fight and couldn’t believe the body shots, monster rabbit punches and occasional clean head shots that the Fat Elvis version of ole Lights Out absorbed that night. That was what I call disturbing toughness.
Ouma has that quality. He’s so damned tough and determined in some of his bouts (vs. Jermain Taylor and Golovkin) that you fear for his life.
HOW WOULD YOU BEAT HIM?
After watching that fight between Golovkin and Macklin I can hardly believe my eyes. The power, the ring generalship, and that capstone knockout. I don’t know the last time I saw such a perfect fight against a truly world class opponent. At the end Mack looked like he had been through a war, but GGG looked like he didn’t even have a chance to break a sweat.
So how would you beat him? Would it be like Teddy Atlas might say? With a stick in his sleep? And where does he go from here? Does the GGG-Maravilla fight even strike you as worth making at this point?
All the best. – Dave, Jerusalem, Israel
Of course, Martinez-Golovkin is worth making. It would be an opportunity for a formidable young lion to force a legitimate old champ to pass the torch. And it would be an opportunity for Maravilla to shock the boxing world and punch his ticket to Canastota. Golovkin would likely be the odds favorite, but so what?
It takes a very special boxer to beat a rugged power puncher with a calculating pressure-fighting style like Golovkin. A stick-and-move strategy might work but the boxer who employs this tactic will have to be a hell of an athlete with amazing conditioning/stamina and he’d have to pitch a perfect game.
A durable brawler with brute strength and good technique might have a shot if he can meet Golovkin head on and smother him in close (like Vince Phillips and Ricky Hatton did with Kostya Tszyu).
A “neutralizer” like Bernard Hopkins or Ward can probably find the right mix of sharp shooting from a distance, lateral movement and grappling or tying up on the inside to frustrate and outpoint a stalking bomber like Golovkin. Then again GGG doesn’t seem like the type to unravel in the ring.
One thing is for certain: nobody is beating Golovkin without being able to take a very good punch.
WHO KNEW ELMER FUDD WAS SO TOUGH?
On to Golovkin. I’mean dayuum. That was a complete clowning of Mack the knife Macklin. Mack’s the man, as far as I’m concerned, for giving Sergio such fits and going right into Sturm’s back door and kicking his ass. When Macklin was off balance from a parting shot and blamed it on a slip on the canvas and momentarily stopped the action to complain, Golovkin just paused as if being asked for an autograph from someone in the audience, looked down and pointed at the area with his glove and smiled at it. I’mean c’mon, DOUGIE!!! Think of the psychological effect that has on a guy.
I’mean GGG knew he caught Macklin and was going to get right back in that azz again. His pause told Macklin that he didn’t need to cheap shot him, AND that he was bad enough to stop and look over at the spot as if to say, “I KNOW you ain’t going to try no punk sh!t while I pause for your excuses man.. THIS IS GOING TO HAPPEN anyway.”
GGG’s a certified badass man. Sergio is grown-man smart too. He doesn’t want NO parts of this guy. A year to heal and whatnot.. sure. Then he’ll be.. what, 40? And a few tune-ups and such? C’mon man.
So who’s bold enough to step up? – Joseph B.
Fightin’ Elmer Fudd’s got the balls to step up, but he should probably be fighting at 147 pounds.
Seriously, Nelson is lucky Luciano Cuello (who I think looks a lot like Scott Ian of Anthrax) isn’t a puncher and a rather undersized 154 pounder.
Nelson’s got heart and ability but you’re right, there’s no consistent jab help him keep a proper distance from his opponents and to line up and get leverage on his right hand.
I don’t want hear DiBella go on about how Nelson would annihilate Canelo (as he did after the rangy Ohioan KO’d Mike Medina in one round) anymore. I’m not sure Willie could spar with the red head without getting the wobbles.
I loved the sportsmanship that Golovkin showed a guy he was almost causally beating to a pulp. He paused to allow Macklin to get his balance after staggering him into the ropes in the first round. Then he gave him those precious seconds in the third after Macklin lost his footing the wet corner.
It’s amazing to watch someone take his time but still be brutally effective and compelling.
You might be right about Martinez (or the champ’s brain trust) not wanting to tangle with Golovkin. I hope you’re wrong, but if that 160-pound showdown fails to come off I think GGG will get an opportunity to prove his star potential against Carl Froch or perhaps a top light heavyweight before going up against everybody’s Pound for Pound Heir Apparent – Dre Ward.
GOLOVKIN VS. MAYWEATHER
Golovkin says his “dream fight” is against Floyd Mayweather, and his dreams are the only place he’ll get to put those heavy hands on Mr. Pound for Pound.
IF Mayweather ever fights a middleweight, it will be Martinez at 154 pounds (or lighter), provided Maravilla looks like s__t whenever he returns. There’s no way in hell he would fight a killer beast like Golovkin – even if GGG agreed to some ridiculous catchweight.
Personally, I think Mayweather will have his hands full with Canelo. If I’m right about that I seriously doubt any middleweight will ever be on Floyd’s menu.
Photo / Naoki Fukuda