MARVIN HAGLER VS GENNADY GOLOVKIN
By Jack Connor
After Saturday’s fairly comfortable win over Briton Martin Murray, Gennady Golovkin further established himself as the outstanding middleweight in boxing and looks set to move to super middleweight for his next fight. But what if he were to be put in the ring with a boxer from another era? We always talk about our favourite fantasy fights whether it be Ali/Tyson or Mayweather/Pacquiao (soon to be answered) and for this one, I’m going to put GGG in against one of the most savage and physical middleweights of all time. Marvellous Marvin Hagler. To get a clear understanding of who would most likely come out on top we have to delve into the two fighters’ individual strengths and weaknesses.
Of the four middleweights that dominated the late 1970’s and 1980’s Marvin Hagler was almost certainly the one with the biggest punch. His KO percentage of 78 is the highest of all Middleweight champions past or present and this would provide Golovkin with a problem he’s never faced before, an opponent who will come at him on the front foot and be able to push him back. Another of Hagler’s tendencies was to work the body with vicious hooks that took the sting out of his opponents, most notably against Roberto Duran.
In terms of weaknesses Hagler struggled somewhat against the quicker more agile fighters like Sugar Ray Leonard, despite their super fight being very debatable in terms of who people thought won the fight. Leonard used his superior agility and hand speed to evade many of Hagler’s shots and then throw a flurry of quick shots that were easy on the eye and would impress the judges. Another thing many accuse Hagler of doing is giving certain fighters too much respect, like in the Roberto Duran fight. Hagler was sometimes too defensive minded and some say only won the fight with Duran after winning the last three rounds. I think that in some cases Hagler had to give his opponents a lot of respect as fighters like Duran and Hearns were capable of knocking him out at any time and taking his title.
Gennady Golovkin is probably the most feared boxer on the planet right now and this is largely down to his destructive shots which can come from any angle and can find the smallest of gaps. His shots go through opponents like a knife through butter (ask Matthew Macklin) and he has yet to be on the back foot throughout a fight. Golovkin’s power seems to diminish any weaknesses technique wise as we saw against Martin Murray. Murray often landed with 3-4 good shots but he failed to build on these and push Golovkin back and this allowed the Kazakh to reassert control of the fight and ultimately win him rounds.
In my eyes Golovkin’s main weakness is that he is yet to be in trouble in a fight. In a 32 fight career he has never looked close to being knocked down and he could benefit from a fight with someone like Miguel Cotto which could be a win-win situation even if he loses. If we wins, Golovkin’s reputation and standing in history will be cemented however if he loses it will be a big learning curve for him and will earn him a lot of respect for fighting someone of Cotto’s ability. Hagler certainly wouldn’t let up against GGG and his excellent defensive skills would give Golovkin plenty to consider when planning his next move.
Hagler by RTD Round 10
This may be a controversial choice but I think that Hagler’s constant bombardment of Golovkin would see the Kazakh’s corner retire him towards the end. I think that GGG would definitely win some rounds against Hagler due to his opponent’s conservative nature at times but Hagler’s main M.O was to target the body and take the wind out of his opponent’s sails and this would take a considerable amount of Golovkin’s power away over the course of the fight. There would be no knockdowns but plenty of heavy hitting and good combination work. Hagler’s experience and tactical know-how would see him through this fight and further cement his place in history as one of the great fighters of the last 50 years. I have a lot of respect for Golovkin but he needs a super fight against a top top name like a Miguel Cotto or a Sergio Martinez soon to further test his credentials and establish himself as a fighter who will be remembered for a long long time.
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