Why Golovkin could replace Mayweather when he’s gone
Yesterday, Sunday the 17th of May, was the second Sunday in ordinary time, the ‘morning after’ of the second weekend of boxing following what the fight spinners-on-high dubbed the “Fight of the Century”.
Moving On From Mayweather vs Pacquiao
In the two weeks since Floyd “Money” Mayweather stood toe-to-toe with Manny Pacquiao (at least figuratively speaking), we have had to bear witness to the predictable barrage of dubious conspiracy theories outlining how Manny Pacquiao should have been declared the winner, a quickly-retracted rematch offer on the part of Mayweather and on-going dissections of what many felt was a somewhat underwhelming match-up.
Despite sensationalist claims that were aired by some that Mayweather v Pacquiao was the last swansong for a dying sport, business as usual has well and truly resumed, with Saturday night notably seeing Gennady Golovkin step back into the ring after his February stoppage of England’s Martin Murray in Monte Carlo, and flyweight kingpin Roman Gonzalez fighting on prestigious HBO for the first time, on the same bill as Golovkin.
While the MayPac fight was of course not the last big night of boxing we shall see on a mainstream international stage, it was the penultimate fight for the sport’s brightest star, Floyd Mayweather, or so he has led us to believe.
Mayweather’s departure from the sport will leave a void for the heir to his throne as the sport’s main attraction to step into. Who that heir will turn out to be, is the question. While one obvious name is that of Saul “Canelo” Alvarez who stopped James Kirkland in emphatic, explosive style only last weekend, I feel that California’s adopted son, Gennady Golovkin, may well be the exciting star which boxing needs in order to again feel the welcome glow of the mainstream international sporting spotlight.
Golovkin again showed us in the early hours of Sunday morning (this side of the pond) why he is deserving of such attention, forcing an end to his fight against Willie Monroe, Jr. after six rounds. GGG’s performance displayed all the ingredients needed to merit wearing Mayweather’s crown as boxing’s number one star, and yet it was a performance that differed so very much from that of Mayweather only two weeks previously.
GGG is primarily known for his devilish power, an attribute that lies in hiding beneath a frame often noticeably less muscular than that of his counterparts, as was the case with Monroe Jr. at the weekend.
This devastating power inevitably spawns thrilling knockouts and stoppages, precisely what boxing fans and crucially casual fans, want to see. Indeed this was again the case against Monroe, who got a closer inspection of the fight sponsors’ canvas advertisements twice in the second round, before bowing out in the sixth having faced overwhelming pressure and a consistent flow of power punches from GGG.
Golovkin is more than just a power-puncher in the style of Ruslan Provodnikov, however. His class was clear as ever against Monroe, and despite facing a resurgence and increased punch output from the southpaw in the third and fourth round it remained obvious that the ever-calm Golovkin would eventually stalk his opponent and, with his superb selection, finish the bout whether it be through suffocatingly powerful body shots as witnessed in the Murray fight, or shots to the head which led to Monroe’s eventual downfall.
Old School Mentality
It is not just the air of inevitability that informs the Kazakh fighter’s performances that makes watching him so exciting though, it’s the fact that there appears to be admittedly small chinks in his armour.
If a fighter seems to be invincible, like Floyd Mayweather, their fights naturally develop a tediousness. While no fighter has come anywhere near defeating Golovkin in his current 20 knockout run, he did take a lot of punches from Monroe at times. Despite the result of the fight, one could not help but wonder would a more powerful counterpart such as junior-middleweight “Canelo” Alvarez or fellow middleweight Miguel Cotto be able to punish Golovkin for his tendency to take more shots than he perhaps should.
It is the fact that we may well find out at some point in the not-too-distant future which makes GGG such a draw, and an ideal candidate for the soon-vacant mantel of boxing’s biggest draw. You see, the hard-hitting Kazakh appears keen to buck the worrying trend in modern boxing of hand-picking opponents and tactical avoidances of threats (see the ongoing delays in fixing a fight between light-heavyweight stars Sergey Kovalev and Adonis Stevenson as a much-publicised and recent example).
This is a habit which Mayweather himself has been accused of on many occasions, of course. In contrast Golovkin seemed to have a voracious appetite at the prospect of fighting Alvarez or Cotto when speaking with HBO’s Max Kellerman post-fight on Saturday night, calling both fighters out with a perturbingly enthusiastic smile.
He even expressed an interest in fighting the Transatlantic Boxing Rankings Board’s super-middleweight champion, Andre Ward, who returns to the ring after an extended sedentary period against Paul Smith on June 20th. There was no ducking of Kellerman’s pointed questions by Golovkin, for it seems the only movement he knows is bulldozing.
The future indeed seems bright for Gennady Golovkin and resultingly, boxing. One can only hope we have the privilege of seeing the middleweight star impose what Sergey Kovalev once described after sparring GGG as his “sledgehammer” punches on the top fighters in and around the middleweight division.
Despite his advancing years, one gets the feeling the 33 year old’s reign as one of boxing’s finest stars is pleasingly far from over.
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