NEW YORK CITY—The Madison Square Garden crew knows they’ve wrangled one of the best world championship fight cards in more than a decade when middleweight champions Gennady “GGG” Golovkin and David Lemieux tangle this weekend.
Pound for pound, it’s one of the best since Bernard Hopkins defeated Felix “Tito” Trinidad to unify the middleweight titles at the same venue in September 2001.
The undefeated WBA and IBO middleweight titlist Golovkin (33-0, 30 Kos) risks his unblemished record and three title belts against Canada’s Lemieux (34-2, 31 Kos) on Saturday, Oct. 17.
The fight card also features undefeated Roman “Chocolatito” Gonzalez (43-0, 37 Kos) against the equally powerful Brian “Hawaiian Punch” Viloria (36-4, 22 Kos) for the WBC flyweight world title. Both fights are part of an impressive HBO pay-per-view fight card.
“It’s one of the greatest pay-per-view cards in history,” said Tom Loeffler of K-2 Promotions.
The main event and co-main event feature powerful sluggers whose matches seldom result in fights going the distance. Knockouts are their specialty.
Not since Hopkins defeated Trinidad just weeks after the horrific 9-11-01 event that stunned the world, have fight fans witnessed a middleweight event to rival this one.
Ironically, the two co-main events feature three non-American prizefighters entering the ring to a sold out crowd at the massive Madison Square Garden.
“Only in the U.S. can you have a fighter from Kazakhstan, Canada, Nicaragua, the U.S. and Cuba sell out the Garden,” said Oscar De La Hoya enthusiastically at the Wednesday press conference. “God bless the USA…this feels like a mega event.”
HBO held back from putting Golovkin on a pay-per-view event, but when a middleweight unification bout with Canada’s hard-charging Lemieux was proposed, they knew it was the right time.
“We’ve been talking about this for a number of years,” said HBO’s Mark Taffet. “This is a rare combination of boxer and puncher…both have a KO ratio of 90 percent.”
K-2 Promotion’s Loeffler, who promotes Golovkin, said it’s a match that actually has their fighter expecting a real challenge.
“They’re perfect dance partners,” Loeffler said.
Golovkin remains a solid favorite but former middleweight champions De La Hoya and Hopkins know that nothing is certain.
“Strange things happen in the Garden,” said Hopkins, who was a decided underdog against Trinidad when they fought in the same venue in 2001. “Triple G is a hunter not used to getting hunted.”
Golovkin has been anxious to unify the middleweight world titles since he first touched ground on U.S. soil more than three years ago. He’s familiar with Madison Square Garden and what it represents for boxing.
“I’m ready to be here again,” Golovkin said. “This is my second home. I fought here a lot.”
This will be Golovkin’s fourth appearance at the Garden, but Lemieux’s professional debut. The native of Montreal is not fazed by the surroundings.
“I always knew we were going to fight one way or another,” said Lemieux of his pending clash with Golovkin. “I’m at my best, he’s at his best. I’m a man and he’s a man. Let’s see who is best.”
Photo Credit: Hogan Photos – Goldenboy Promotions