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GolovkinEmpireSB1 largeGolovkin, seen here in NYC, gets a thumbs up from Wylie, but the writer still cautions admirers not to go overboard, not yet.

Undoubtedly, Saturday night was the best night Gennady Golovkin 24-0 {21} has ever had as a professional fighter. Against an extremely awkward opponent in Grzergoz Proksa 28-2 {21}, who was perceived to be the Kazakhstani's toughest opponent to date, Golovkin looked quite brilliant, completely overwhelming his overmatched opponent inside five, one-sided rounds. As soon as Golovkin landed a left hand early in the opening frame, Proksa closed shop, and was reluctant to let his hands go for the remainder of the fight. As a result, Proksa spent far too much time feinting and posturing from the outside, instead of punching. The feint, when performed correctly, is one of the most useful tools in any fighter's arsenal. Performed incorrectly however –should a fighter do it too much as was the case with last night with Proksa– then he runs the risk of telegraphing his feints. If an opponent isn't lured into thinking the feint is the beginning of a punch –as Golovkin clearly wasn't– then it becomes a wasted motion and an opponent can ignore its false intentions. Proksa carries his hands very low, and shoots from the hip, in order to disguise the angles of his punches, a Muhammad Ali, Roy Jones Jr, Sergio Martinez dynamic. The problem with this of course, is if you don't allow you hands to move against a heavy handed fighter, then you simply become a fighter who has his hands down by his waist on defense, and this is suicide against a known puncher like Golovkin.

Rather regrettably, prior to the fight I hadn't been overly impressed with Golovkin. His amateur pedigree was obvious, but I saw him more as a good fighter who had, thus far, simply dominated inferior opposition who complemented his seek and destroy style perfectly. To further my point, I actually picked Proksa to pull off the upset last night. I thought his herky jerky movement, volume and southpaw angles would have been the perfect foil for the slower moving Golovkin, preventing him from getting off and from shortening up the distance. I couldn't have been more wrong. As I've already mentioned, hesitancy to throw punches was partially to blame, but the rest of what lead to Proksa's massacre lies within the work of Golovkin's, who I may have severely underestimated, in particular, his level of skill.

Here are my own observations from last nigh on the winner:

#1. His dominant hand:

Golovkin, who fights out of an orthodox stance, could be naturally left handed. Even grazing shots that came from the left hand, that didn't seem to land all that cleanly, hurt Proksa, who hadn't tasted the canvas as a pro or an amateur before last night.

#2. The jab:

Golovkin's jab may be lacking in technique, but its power is there for all to see. There haven't been too many fighters who could hurt and wobble an opponent with the jab. Sonny Liston was one, Marvin Hagler was another. It looks like Golovkin's jab may be cut from the same cloth as those two. It may not be delivered with any real speed or snap, but the length of it, as well as its capacity to inflict some hurt on an opponent, more than makes up for any shortcomings in the technique department.

#3. Defense:

This was the area where I was most impressed with Golovkin. Rather than block punches behind a high guard, which lengthens a fighters' transition time between defense and offense, Golovkin prefers to carry his hands openly and just below his chin. No word of a lie, I saw some defensive techniques from Golovkin last night that have become lost in the modern fight game. Apart from good head and upper body movement, Golovkin showed some serious skill in his ability to slip and parry. Golovkin also displayed his ability to pick straight punches off by coming down on them with the point of his elbow {sometimes known as barring} and there was even the old technique known as the stop hit, which is an old Wing chun technique that many fighters from the past utilized {intercepting an attack with the jab while turning the attack away simultaneously}. It's very rare you see it at all these days. Golovkin's hands are not that fast, but by employing many of these defensive techniques, his hands are already in a semi-offensive position. Hence, Golovkin appears faster than what he really is.

#4. Calmness:

Every time Golovkin had his man in trouble last night, note how calm and patient he was in going for the finish. Many a fighter swings wildly once they smell blood. Not Golovkin. As he moved in for the kill, Golovkin's eyes were wide open, looking for gaps. Some people think combination punching is all about speed. Golovkin showed exactly how combinations should be thrown. Mixing up straights, hooks and uppercuts, to the head and body and around an opponent's guard, taking advantage of any openings available. Even when Proksa looked ready to be taken out, Golovkin wasn't afraid to take his time, even taking a step back at one point in order to make sure he's throwing the most efficient punches for the situation. The ability to finish an opponent is an art and it's something that is taken for granted these days.

#5. Pressure:

Many an observer, including HBO's Max Kellerman and Roy Jones, have compared Golovkin to Julio Cesar Chavez Sr because of the similarities in their styles. While there are a few traits which could lead one to draw comparisons between the two –namely Golovkin's ability to snake a left hook to the body underneath an opponent's guard– I think they are slightly different, especially in their approach and the pressure they apply. At times, Chavez was unrelenting with his pressure. If you look at prime Chavez, his emphasis was to pin a man against the ropes before systematically breaking him down by while not allowing his opponent to get his own work done in the process. {Take a look at the Edwin Rosario fight as an example}. Golovkin on the other hand, is slightly different. His pressure is more like that of Joe Louis or Carlos Monzon pressure, it's subtle pressure. Golovkin's emphasis is about pressurizing his opponent into making mistakes, so that he can capitalize on them with his heavy hands. Apart from when Proksa was hurt up on the ropes, Golovkin wasn't really looking to get inside at all costs, as was often the case with Chavez Sr. Golovkin is far more upright as he's moving in, remaining in perfect balance so that he's always in position to punch with maximum effect.

Don't confuse what I'm saying here, these comments are strictly about what techniques Golovkin employs inside the ring and they shouldn't be mistaken for direct comparisons to the likes of Liston, Hagler, Louis or Chavez Sr. Gennady Golovkin is a talented fighter, but he's light years away from being considered the equal of these men. In all honesty, he may not even be the equal of some other middleweights out there. Despite not looking all that big, Golovkin appears to be very physical but I'd like to see what would happen once someone can back him up. Would Golovkin be as effective or dangerous if he's forced onto the back foot? Julio Cesar Chavez Jr may be able to answer that question for us. Also, what would happen when he's in there with someone that could better the movement of Proksa, who shares the same southpaw stance but possesses much better foot work and hand speed as well as power and possibly a better chin? There's a middleweight out there in Sergio Martinez that would certainly provide some answers to those questions too. Then of course, there's the time-old saying that a fighter isn't a fighter until his chin has been tested. Even though we've been told he's never been hurt in training or sparring, I'd like to see what happens when Golovkin's hit cleanly on the chin in an actual fight. No matter how good an opponent's defense is, his chin will be tested at some point. Pernell Whitaker, who was hit more than most think, wouldn't have been the fighter he was unless his chin held up. Golovkin's good, but let's just wait a minute before we plaster saint him.

There's more to being a fighter than good fundamentals and power. It's times like this, when it's easy to get carried away with a fighters talent, that I say to myself –Donald Curry. Everyone should do the same.

Right now though, I'm happy to admit that I got it wrong with Golovkin. He's a serious talent who just made the middleweight division all the more interesting for all of us. Let's just leave it that…for now.

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