FUN AT THE FIGHTS
I went to my first weigh-in (for the Gennady Golovkin-Matthew Macklin card) and it was awesome. Between the weigh-in and the fight I was able to snap some photos with me and GGG, Macklin, Able Sanchez, Buddy McGirt, Andre Ward, The Magic Man, Max Kellerman amongst others. I got to pick Jim Watt’s brain which was a really fun experience. I would like to ask you the same question I asked him which was “Being a new fan, what historical fights would be important for me to see.” He suggested the middleweight division of the 1980s Marvin Hagler, Roberto Duran, Wilfred Benitez and Tommy Hearns. Would you make that same suggestion? And if you what specific fights?
Getting to be around all these great fighters and trainers really made for an amazing weekend. It surpassed any expectation I had. The level of access was more then I could have hoped for and will remain in my memories for years to come. At the weigh-in (and the fight) the Macklin fans were through the roof. He has some of the best fans in the world.
I was there to support GGG, and that I did (my voice still isn’t back yet!!!). There is always talk in the media about the sound GGG’s punches make, and how it really could be heard. Let me tell you, from about 50 feet away from the ring and with thousands of screaming fans, you could hear his flush shots land with thunderous crack. I felt from the middle of the first round, GGG settled right in. There wasn’t much of a feeling out process as he sought and destroyed. Essentially, Able Sanchez has his very own predator missile – well two, one in each of GGG’s hands.
I would love to see Golovkin (and his amazing robe, I think I’m going to start calling it his cloak of invincibility from Harry Potter LOL!!!) in with Julio Cesar Chavez Jr., Martin Murray or Martinez. Really, Golovkin-Peter Quillin is the best fight in boxing that won’t get made… I know Golovkin is willing to fight anywhere between 154-168 pounds, which is a BIG weight fluctuation. I would hate to see him step up or down and not do well; there are plenty of exciting match-ups out there at middleweight for him to stay put. What would be your favorite next fight for him (with any one promotional company aside) and what do you think is the realistic next fight for him?
Both Adrien Broner and GGG had step up fights recently. I think it’s clear GGG really stepped up to the plate against a tough contender. Will this be enough to silence the critics?
Also, watching the Willie Nelson fight live, I thought he got his ass handed to him (which in spots, he was hurt). When I watched it again today, I had it 7 rounds to 3 for Nelson. It’s amazing what different angles can allow you to see, and also how the crowd’s reaction influences scoring. Anyways hope all is well and stay safe. – Jason, Connecticut
I thought Nelson clearly won the rounds he wasn’t buzzed in and also scored it seven-to-three in rounds from TV. Nelson is not the monster his promoter made him out to be a few months ago, but he’s got good tools and a lot of heart. I think he will make for entertaining fights and I hope to see him back on TV soon. If Nelson can learn to complete his game by improving his jab, not covering up when in close to his opponent and learning how to throw punches when he moves, he might develop into a serious contender.
I think Golovkin silenced most of his critics by blowing out Macklin. There will always be the so-called “purists” who pooh-pooh any fighter that isn’t a boring safety first boxer, but there really aren’t many of those nerds. Most people who watch HBO boxing are GGG believers and they want to see him back on the network as soon as possible.
I agree that Golovkin has enough opposition at 160 pounds and doesn’t need to drop weight or put on eight pounds. He’s supposed to fight two more times before the year is out. If he’s back in the ring as early as September, my guess is that he’ll face a tough but second-tier middleweight. But I expect him to be in with a top 160 pounder in November or December, and I’m thinking Murray or the winner of the Aug. 17 Daniel Geale-Darren Barker fight are worthy and realistic candidates.
It sounds like you had a great time this past weekend. I think it goes without saying that you have been bitten by the “boxing bug” and are on your way to becoming a hardcore fan. You’re already a hardcore GGG fan and I expect you’ll be at his next fight if it takes place on the East Coast. I plan to be ringside for Golovkin’s next fight, so if it’s in your area, don’t be a stranger.
Regarding must-see “historical fights,” I agree with Mr. Watt. You can’t go wrong with the Fab Five (Hagler, Duran, Leonard, Hearns and Benitez). I would only add that you should include the welterweight fights as well as those that took place at 154 or 160 pounds.
Leonard’s 147-pound masterpieces – vs. Benitez, Hearns and Duran (I and II) – must be viewed (especially in this era where some boobs are calling the welterweight version of Floyd Mayweather “great”). Beyond those, Hagler-Duran (which featured a lot of underrated boxing), Hearns-Duran (one of the coldest KOs of an ATG ever) and Hagler-Hearns (greatest shootout – period!) will illustrate how styles make fights; and for examples of master boxing against dangerous opposition you should check out Duran’s brilliant middleweight title-winning effort over Iran Barkley, Benitez’s junior middleweight UD over Duran and Hearns’ junior middleweight title-winning MD over Benitez. Leonard’s controversial SD over Hagler in 1987 is the fight that sucked me into the hardcore boxing fan state of mind that I still enjoy to this day.
GOLOVKIN VS. TBA
What’s up Douglass?
After watching that Golovkin guy demolish Matthew Macklin so easily all I have to say is this: If you can do that to really tough guy like Macklin then you’re the real f___ing deal! No ifs or buts about it.
Anyhow, now that Triple G is all ready to unload his fists of mass destruction against the rest of the best here’s how I think he measures up.
1. GGG-Sergio Martinez. Let me make it clear that all this crap-talk from some fans about “Maravilla” wimping out is just plain ridiculous. The dude’s been fighting nothing but top-notch opposition the past 5 years for f__k’s sake!
And if we were talking about the Martinez of 2010 then he’ll still be my clear pick to outpoint GGG in a torrid battle. But as old and injury prone as the champ’s getting right now I agree that his body will give out on him and Golovkin’s fists will finish the job. But no way Sergio gives up his title without a fight! He’s got too much pride to go out the easy way. So I’m certain we will see this one soon.
2. GGG-Danny Geale. The Aussie’s tougher than nails but doesn’t have enough firepower. Golovkin takes him out.
3. GGG-Peter Quillin. I strongly agree that Golovkin will pound the living cocoa out of Kid Chocolat. No question there. But will it be that easy for him? I think that Quillin’s sheer physical strength and immense heart could give 3G a really tough workout in the early going.
One question though. Any chance of Quillin making the jump to HBO soon? What’s holding him back? There’s hardly any other top middleweights that fight for Showtime. They’re all HBO guys! And that’s where Quillin needs to be if he wants to score some meaningful fights.
4. GGG-Andre Ward. Golovkin might be the best puncher in the game right now (along with Lucas Matthysse!) but Ward is the best overall fighter in my book and he’s also a lot tougher (and stronger!) than many folks give him credit for. He’s my clear pick here.
It’s still a risk that’s worth taking for Golovkin. He has all to gain and nothing to lose. If Golovkin actually beats Ward then that’s great for him. He becomes everyone’s kickass P4P king! And if he loses then it’s written off as a loss to a highly skilled, bigger guy! No worries whatsoever!
Now for the mythical matchup of the day. Two actually. If the prime versions of Mike McCallum and Bennie Brisco were around today how do you think GGG does against those two badasses? Holler back if you can. Cheers! – Dave
At this point in his career, I think Golovkin would be sorely tested if not outright beaten by the two old-school badasses you brought up. I think McCallum would outpoint GGG in a hotly contested fight. Golovkin would have trouble nailing him clean early in the fight but his pressure and hooks would win some of the middle rounds. However, I think McCallum’s educated jab, awesome chin (the Jamaican was never stopped despite facing some serious punchers over four weight classes) and body attack would enable him to come on strong in the late rounds.
Briscoe at his best would take it to GGG and out-gut him over the distance. Like McCallum, he had a great chin but he also (in his prime) had very good upper body movement (which he doesn’t get credit for, like many other action fighters from his era). I admit his penchant for walking his opponents down could play into Golovkin’s heavy hands and the Kazakhstan killer could conceivable catch him cold or stop the Philly punisher on cuts, but I think win, lose or draw, Briscoe would have given GGG a hell of a fight.
My thoughts on your Golovkin matchups (in the order you presented them):
1) Martinez told RingTV.com that he wants to prove he’s still “the man” by fighting GGG next year and I believe him. I think it will be a huge event if it happens, and like you, I think the “old man” makes a fight out of it but is ultimately overwhelmed by the younger, stronger fighter.
2) I think Geale will fare a lot better than most believe. In fact, I think he takes GGG the distance in a competitive bout, but I see Golovkin winning a deserved decision.
3) Quillin will make for an explosive fight in the early rounds. Kid Chocolates size, power and athleticism and ability to punch on the fly will enable him to catch and perhaps hurt GGG as he stalks forward. However, Quillin tends to load up on his shots, which A) leaves him open of counter punches and B) tends to cause him to gas out by the middle rounds. I envision GGG hurting Quillin in an exchange by the middle rounds, backing him to the ropes and gradually breaking him down to a late TKO.
4) Right now, I favor Ward in this matchup but I think Golovkin, who can hurt the super middleweight champ with a single punch, is a live dog. Until I see GGG break down a world-class stick-and-move stylist, I gotta go with the proven fighter at 168 pounds. Ward by decision (even if he has to survive a scary moment or two).
I don’t think there should be any rush to make this fight. Golovkin hasn’t proven without a doubt that he’s “the man” at middleweight. He’ll do that if and when he beats Martinez. If he takes the 160-pound crown, then he should set his sights on Ward.
FIGHTS FOR THE FANS
Like always, I have been watching boxing and the requisite docu-dramas and talk shows that seem to accompany every HBO and Showtime fight lately. I was listening to Jim Lampley and Max Kellerman talk about the great fights coming up and it made me think of what fights I want to see (like the promoters really care about what the fans want… sorry, been reading old A.J. Liebling lately). The fights I want to see are as follows:
Deontay Wilder vs. Tyson Fury – let’s just get it over with and find out who will be the post Klitschko starter (Pulev, Price, and Jennings will help fill in the top five I feel)
Adonis Stevenson vs. Sergei Kovalev – it’s a puncher’s delight fight! I don’t care about mandatory challengers and Nathan Cleverly is a good fighter, but does not stir my inner boxing fan. Just go ahead and give us this gem before either fighter loses to a finesse type guy….. or Hopkins.
Andre Ward vs. Gennady Golovkin – Ward has little options and looks like it will take a very special fighter to beat him and I don’t want to see Martinez-GGG for the same reason I didn’t want Cotto-Alvarez; I hate watching fighters that I have enjoyed for years get bludgeoned. I know that is selfish and it is their right to go out on their shield, but I will never enjoy watching my ring heroes get pounded on by a young, hungry lion. So let’s just see the best fight the best…remember us all losing out Gamboa-Lopez when people cared?
Keith Thurman vs. James Kirkland – Someone go find Kirkland, get him in the gym, and then turn these two aggressive punchers loose on each other. If Kirkland showed up like he did for Angulo, this fight would rival Rios-Alvarado.
Mikey Garcia vs. Yuriorkis Gamboa at 130 lbs – Impossible for this fight not to be good, while it lasts.
There are many other fights I would love to see, but they are already being talked about, or not that high on the list. Any thoughts or fights that you would love to see get made? Take care. – Dan Marvin
I’d love to see all of the matchups you brought up, Dan (although I can envision a scenario in which Gamboa stinks it out vs. Garcia), especially the puncher-vs.-puncher bouts.
I think Wilder-Fury is a coin toss. If Wilder catches Fury early, he’ll put his fellow undefeated giant down and keep him down, but if the British big man can take the fight into the middle rounds, I can see him wearing the American down to a late stoppage or decision. No matter who wins, it would be a fun promotion and an entertaining fight.
I give Cleverly a shot at outboxing/outworking Kovalev over the distance, but I would favor the Russian banger to KO fellow puncher Stevenson. It would be explosive for however long it would last (not long).
Like I stated earlier in this mailbag, I’m not in a hurry to see Ward-GGG. I think Golovkin has some legit challenges at 160. It’s not like he’s cleaned out the division the way Ward did at 168. So I’d rather see Ward step up in weight and fight RING 175-pound champ Stevenson or perhaps WBA beltholder Beibut Shumenov before I’d call for GGG to go up a division.
But I hear what you’re saying about not wanting to see Martinez-Golovkin. I don’t think Maravilla is “over the hill” and in danger of being embarrassed in the ring by GGG but he could take a beating and if you’re a big fan of his, you don’t want to see that. I’ve never seen the following fights and I don’t plan to: Holmes-Ali, Leonard vs. Norris and Camacho, and Joppy-Duran.
Thurman-Kirkland would be a lot of fun, but given “Mandingo’s” recent problems this fight might have to be broadcast from a Texas penitentiary the way those James Scott fights used to be televised out of Rahway State Prison in the late 1970s/early ‘80s.
Garcia-Gamboa could happen in the next 12 months. If it does, I’m gonna be rooting for Mikey. I am not a fan of the Cuban Jumping Bean.
BRONER OVER GGG?
I was one of the first U.S. boxing writers to tout Golovkin (I have the hate email to prove it) and I’m a much bigger fan of the middleweight titleholder than I am of Broner, but I don’t think it’s totally out of line to rate the annoying Ohioan over the Kazakhstan native in a pound-for-pound sense.
Broner has arguably accomplished more as a pro – winning major titles in three weight classes and being ranked in the top five of each division he’s campaigned in – in a shorter period of time (and in the same number of bouts – 27) than Golovkin; and he may have scalps of more legit top-10 rated fighters on his record.
Daniel Ponce de Leon, Eloy Perez, Antonio DeMarco, Gavin Rees and Paul Malignaggi were all RING-rated fighters when Broner faced them. Golovkin has only faced two RING-rated middleweights – Grzegorz Proksa (who had lost to Kerry Hope before facing GGG and who was just outpointed by Sergio Mora) and Macklin.
Granted, Golovkin destroyed his top-10 opposition whereas Broner has had mixed results (his UD over Ponce de Leon could have gone the other way, and he certainly didn’t shine vs. Malignaggi), but it looks to me like the American has done a little bit more as a pro so far.
The bottom line for me is that neither potential star has faced and destroyed a bona-fide world beater. In my not-so-humble opinion neither man should be rated in anyone’s pound-for-pound top 10. But take that opinion with a grain of salt, I’m known for being a “hater” (and I am; I HATE pound-for-pounds lists).
GGG ALTERNATIVE FIGHTS
I know the masses are chanting for Gennady to fight the likes of Andre Ward, Sergio Martinez, Carl Froch and Julio Cesar Chavez Jr (I want those fights too). But, what if they can’t make those fights happen? Whether they are “ducking” or there are promotional issues or whatever excuse any of the listed fighters give, what is Golovkin to do? I feel that some of the European-based fighters have already flat out avoided Gennaddy (except Macklin and Proksa). I feel as if Gennady needs to remain busy and busy with “known” fighters. What are your thoughts on the following fights? :
GGG vs. Austin Trout
GGG vs. James Kirkland
GGG vs. Sakio Bika
GGG vs. Edwin Rodriguez
I fully understand that GGG probably destroys all four (except maybe Trout). But the only thing Golovkin can do is get his name out there and remain on TV with the most entertaining of opponents. Thanks. – Zach (from Milwaukee)
I like those alternative fights, but the only one I can see happening in the near future is with E-Rod.
Unfortunately, Kirkland – who would be blasted by GGG but would go down swinging like the crazy mother f___er he is – has too many legal troubles for any network to mess with him right now.
Trout and Bika are both managed by Al Haymon, who is in tight with Golden Boy Promotions and Showtime. Golovkin’s U.S. network home is clearly HBO, which isn’t doing business with GBP for the time being.
Network/promotional tribalism aside I think Trout and Bika would make for interesting fights. Trout’s guts and experience would make him a live dog but I think GGG is too strong for him. He was hurt by Canelo, who is a lot smaller and doesn’t hit as hard as Golovkin. Bika’s got the size and experience to make for an interesting scrap with GGG. I think Bika would be a good first fight at 168 for the middleweight beltholder. It would be interesting to see if Golovkin could do what Ward, Joe Calzaghe and Lucian Bute couldn’t do to Bika – which is stop the rugged Cameroonian vet.
But alas, I think the handlers of both Trout and Bika have plans for their fighters that don’t include Golovkin.
Rodriguez, who fights Denis Grachev in a light heavyweight bout next Saturday, has fought on HBO before and is promoted by Lou DiBella, who also promotes Sergio Martinez. Win or lose vs. Grachev, DiBella might be willing to put E-Rod in with GGG (provided Golovkin comes up to 168 or 170 pounds) in hopes of softening the Kazakhstan native before pulling the trigger on a Martinez showdown. It would be the biggest pay day for Rodriguez and if it’s contested way above middleweight, who knows, maybe the New Englander has a shot.
I’ll give you two other American fighters who could be realistic “alternatives” for Golovkin:
Sergio Mora, a well-known wily veteran who just had a nice win against a GGG victim on ESPN2’s Friday Night Fights and could be the B-side to a Los Angeles main event.
Curtis Stevens, the stocky hard-punching Brooklyn native who scored a crazy first-round KO of Elvin Ayala on NBC Sports Net in January and will be on the basic cable network vs. Saul Roman in August. Stevenson, who is promoted by Kathy Duva of Main Events, has called GGG out numerous times and could make for a good B-side to a New York City main event.
Photos / THE RING
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