This year has been a fine example of the UK’s sudden incline in world boxing. World champions scattered across almost every weight class, and these next 4 weeks will see more British fighters plunge into significant world title attempts.
But Britain is also becoming a hot bed for some of the best talent in boxing.
Zolani Tete is already becoming a household name for BoxNation viewers and is certainly becoming a fan favourite in Merseyside.
Then Guillermo Rigondeaux – one of the greatest amateur fighters of all time – made his way onto an undercard appearance.
Now it is the turn of boxing’s most feared and loved fighter, the friendly but destructive Gennady Golovkin sets foot in London, engulfed by the WBA ‘Super’, WBC and IBF Middleweight titles.
Sheffield’s Kell Brook is the man faced with the unenviable task of challenging the unbeaten Kazakhstan fighter. But Brook – the undefeated IBF Welterweight ruler – fears only defeat, not the man who stands before him.
Brook 36-0(25KO’s) makes the move up two weight classes to face boxing’s bogeyman. But to say that he oozes confidence would be an understatement.
His unbeaten ledger is impressive, but aside from the naturally big Shawn Porter (W SD 12), there is little to suggest that Brook has been built up for this moment. Stoppages of Ionut Dan Ion, Frankie Gavin and Kevin Bizier signalled that Brook was in need of challenging the very best.
Golovkin 35-0(32KO’s) is on a 22-fight knockout streak. He has knocked out every opponent he has faced in a world title fight, dwindling his Middleweight rivals down. Now the only viable challengers in his weight class are Billy Joe Saunders and Daniel Jacobs.
But it is Mexican sensational and very brief WBC Middleweight champion Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez who is the man most associated with Golovkin.
One could very easily have been mistaken for thinking that it was Alvarez fighting Golovkin on Saturday (September 10th), as the war of words has continued between the two camps. Alvarez will fight the week after against WBO Light Middleweight champion Liam Smith.
(The promo video from Sky Sports sets the scene nicely ahead of Saturday):
Golovkin and Brook may be near enough the same level in talent, but it is the sheer difference in natural fighting size that makes ‘GGG’ such a big favourite.
Golovkin’s punch power and accuracy can only be labelled as ‘frightening’ and his ring generalship under trainer Abel Sanchez is quite marvellous – any young fighter just starting out would not go far wrong if they studied Golovkin’s footwork.
But Brook brings with him his own taste of success. Like Gennady, Kell punches through the target. He is accurate, doesn’t waste a whole lot of punches, and has good hand speed.
Golovkin will have no need to chase Brook around the ring, in fact do not be shocked if for a large portion of the early stages that Brook is on the front foot, as Golovkin attempts to bait Brook in order to land hard clean punches without letting himself become frustrated.
Golovkin will be smart enough to allow Brook to use up some early energy, while the champion picks the more hurtful punches.
For all their convincing arguments to suggest as much, it is just hard to believe that for all this time, Brook has been fighting at a stone below what would be his natural fighting weight.
Claims that Brook is a beast when he hits 160 in training camp work wonders for promotion. But why would Brook’s team not have made this move up in weight earlier?
If he reaches his peak in the region of 160lbs, then why strain every sinew to make it down to 147lbs?
Brook is without doubt a big Welterweight, but that still only makes him a small Middleweight in this fight. This will not be your average training camp for Brook as the sensational – and often uncredited – support staff around him ensure he makes the higher weight while maintaining his terrific shape.
Yet in spite of my personal doubts, the closer we have been drawn to fight night, the more that I have noticed myself growing stronger with belief that Brook can pull off the monumental upset and unseat the Middleweight ‘King’.
Brook can frustrate the Kazakh. Beating him to the single punch, before using his ring smarts to move from side-to-side, denying Golovkin the opportunity to cut off the ring as he always does with such unnoticeable ease.
With early rounds in the bag, Brook can begin to pick and move, and if he feels confident enough in his own resilience, he could even take the odd chance while looking to find a dent in Golovkin’s armoury.
But Golovkin is just too big, too strong, too smart…too everything. He is about as close to unbeatable as one can get right now.
After a fascinating and thoroughly engaging start to the contest – in which Brook will be very much in the fight, proving that he certainly belongs at this highest level – Brook’s unbeaten record will come to a sudden end, as Golovkin lays down the gauntlet, closing the show in round 8.
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