Undefeated middleweight beltholder Gennady Golovkin stopped game but outclassed challenger Osumanu Adama in the seventh round of their WBA title bout on Saturday in Monte Carlo. Golovkin, who scored three knockdowns before referee Luis Pabon waved it off, registered his 16th consecutive stoppage and the 10th defense of his WBA belt.
Golovkin (29-0, 26 knockouts) dropped Adama with a right hand near the end of the opening round and then floored the 33-year-old Ghanaian with a left uppercut-hook combination in the sixth. Pabon began watching Adama closely after Golovkin dropped him a third time with a jab at the start of the seventh round and then mercifully stepped in to save the Chicago-based fighter after he was rocked by a hook at 1:20 of the round.
"This victory was very important for me," said Golovkin, who is scheduled to return to the ring in April with Madison Square Garden in New York City the most likely venue. The 31-year-old Kazakhstan native told commentator Brian Mitchell that he would love to challenge RING middleweight champ Sergio Martinez this year or even drop down to junior middleweight to face RING 154-pound champ Floyd Mayweather.
But most in the boxing world know those "mega-bouts" are unlikely, at least in 2014. Former middleweight title challenger Andy Lee and exciting pressure-fighting veteran James Kirkland have been mentioned as Golovkin's potential opponents in April.
Although Kirkland and Lee are not considered top-10 middleweights, Golovkin vs. either fighter would be well received by the boxing public, which can't seem to get enough of "GGG." The Adama fight was not televised in the U.S. (as it was in at least 100 other countries worldwide), but legions of hardcore American fans tuned into the fight by watching internet streams of various overseas broadcasts, such as Britain's BoxNation show.
They were treated to an entertaining fight thanks to Golovkin's relentless power-punching style and Adama's big heart.
Adama, who held a considerable reach advantage, began the fight sticking and moving behind his jab. Golovkin methodically pursued him behind his own stiff jab. Among Golovkin's best attributes is his ability to cut the ring off. He did so by the end of the first round and produced the first knockdown with a short right off a hook.
Golovkin continued to cut the ring off in the second and third rounds as Adama (22-4, 16 KOs) boxed off his back foot while employing lateral movement. The challenger landed a good right hand before the end of the third, which encouraged a more aggressive approach in the middle rounds. Adama, who dropped a decision to then-IBF titleholder Daniel Geale in 2012, worked his jab and one-two combinations in the fourth round, producing a trickle of blood from Golovkin's nose.
In the fifth, Adama backed Golovkin off with a big right hand and even walked to the champion with a minute to go in the round. However, Golovkin made him pay for his enthusiasm by landing hard hook-cross combinations, uppercuts and body shots in the final 30 seconds of the round. In the sixth round, Adama stood in close with Golovkin, who systematically broke him down by working hooks off his uppercuts.
After the second knockdown it was child's play for Golovkin — cruel child's play — like when a kid picks the wings off a fly and makes the bug crawl around before squashing it. Adama's corner didn't do their fighter in favors by sending him out for the seventh round but Pabon did the right thing stopping the fight when he did.
"We want to commend Adama, who showed a lot of heart tonight," said Tom Loeffler, managing director of K2 Promotions, which promotes Golovkin. "It's not easy going that many rounds with Golovkin."