LOS ANGELES-If you have ever seen a Hollywood movie premiere with the lights, cameras and power celebrities, then you can imagine the welcome that Southern California gave WBA and IBO middleweight champion Gennady “GGG” Golovkin in his knockout win over Marco Antonio Rubio on Saturday.
A sold out crowd saw Golovkin (31-0, 28 KOS) feel out Mexico’s hard-hitting Rubio (59-7-1, 51 Kos) for one round before slipping into second gear and taking out the middleweight contender with some bombs that impressed the 9,323 fans carrying flags from Kazakhstan and Mexico. It was a party that left them wanting more.
But that’s a good thing.
Golovkin was expected to win but when facing a middleweight that has knockout power too, the fans were a little tentative to cheer. After mostly using his left jab and left hook for the first minute or two, suddenly Golovkin opened up and connected with a right cross that sent a charge through the crowd.
It was exactly what the crowd came to see.
A surge of excitement went through the crowd as round two began, especially for those who know that Golovkin usually opens up. He did not disappoint. A left jab disguised a right uppercut that connected on Rubio’s chin, his head snapped and Golovkin followed his prey looking to land another. A few seconds later an arching left hook to the top of Rubio’s head left him rendered helpless. He got up at the count of nine but it was too late. Referee Jack Reiss stopped the fight at 1:19 of round two.
The party erupted and boxing now has a newly anointed superstar.
“Of course I wanted this fight. Buenos noches amigos. Is everything good,” Golovkin asked the fans in Spanish. “Of course I like to fight. Rubio is a good fighter. I respect him. I think he would get up.”
Rubio complained that he got up in time, that he wanted to continue.
“It was a great opportunity to fight against a champ like Gennady,” said Rubio. “He hit me hard but it was not the hardest I was hit. I felt I got up in time.”
Golovkin seemed both disappointed and pleased at the same time by the quick knockout win. But it’s on to better things.
“I want to fight everybody. I think Miguel Cotto. Of course I want Canelo too,” Golovkin said.
This win opens the door to bigger fights and bigger paydays. What does that mean?
It means those fighters who did not want to meet him in the ring because of the lack of a big purse, will now sign those contracts.
Walters New WBA Champ
A new featherweight king was crowned as Jamaica’s Nicholas Walters (25-0, 21 Kos) knocked out Nonito Donaire (33-3, 21 Kos) with a counter right high on the head at 2:59 of the sixth round to claim outright the WBA featherweight world title. It’s all his now.
It was a firefight from the beginning as Donaire showed that amazing speed and power and Walters calmly withstood the early storm and then began shooting that stiff jab that soon had Donaire’s face swollen and bloody.
For the first three rounds Donaire’s speed and power especially to the body had Walters looking for answers.
“Knowing that we were fighting Donaire, he’s a super champion. He caught me with good shots, he had power and speed,” said Walters.
With the body shots affecting Walters, the Filipino southpaw began tagging the Jamaican with left hooks to the head and almost dropped Walters.
“I got a little bit confident and he caught me pretty good. I went to my corner and said I recuperated from the shot,” Walters said.
Everything turned around when Walters caught Donaire with a quick right uppercut in the third round. After that, it seemed Donaire was tentative about going back to the body. Walters’ long stiff jabs turned things in his favor from there on.
Donaire attempted to take the fight inside but Walters was very comfortable and though it was somewhat evenly matched, the cuts and swelling on the Filipino slugger seemed to worsen.
In the sixth round Donaire decided to open up in the last 30 seconds but after missing with a punch he was caught by an overhand right and down went the champion. He struggled to get up and made it to his feet but wobbled and referee Raul Caiz Jr. stopped the fight at 2:59 of the sixth round.
Donaire had no excuses.
“He’s an amazing fighter, an amazing champion,” said Donaire. “I thought I would be great at this weight class…I don’t want to take nothing away from him. He was amazing and knocked the ***t out of me. He was just overwhelming me inside that ring.”
Former super middleweight contender Edwin Rodriguez (25-1, 16 Kos) moved up to the light heavyweight division and overwhelmed Haiti’s Azea Augustama (17-2, 9 Kos) with his experience. Though the Haitian fighter had his moments and a good chin, the body attack by Rodriguez wore him down after 10 rounds. There were no knockdowns with all three judges giving it to Rodriguez 100-90 twice and 99-91.
El Paso’s Abraham Han (23-1, 14 Kos) won a spirited battle with Mexico’s Marcos Reyes (32-2, 24 Kos) after a 10 round middleweight bout. Two judges scored it 97-91 for Han and one judge ruled it a draw at 94-94 to give the win to the Texan by majority decision. The crowd booed the decision.
East L.A.’s Jaime Ocegueda (9-0, 6 Kos) survived a knockdown in the fifth round and returned with his own fire to floor Sacramento’s Moris Rodriguez (6-4-1, 3 Kos) with a left-right left combination in the sixth and final round of a junior welterweight clash. Rodriguez somehow beat the count and was allowed to continue the fight. Ocegueda commenced firing several more blows and the referee finally stopped the fight at 2:31 of the round to give the East L.A. fighter the technical knockout win.
In a lightweight bout featuring debuting fighters Kazakhstan’s Ruslan Madiyov and Oscar Rojas, it looked like Madiyov would blow out the Northern Californian with his pure power. But he ran out of gas and Rojas stuck around for the finish. All three judges scored it for Madiyov, 40-35 twice and 39-36. Madiyov scored one knockdown in the first round.
L.A. featherweight Walter Sarnoi (16-4, 10 Kos) faced down Tijuana’s super aggressive Sergio Najera (8-16-2) and used his strength against him with pot shots and counters for the win by unanimous decision. Sarnoi used his boxing technique to keep a good distance and pull out the win. “He was a super tough guy,” said Sarnoi.
Photo Credit: Tom Hogan – Hoganphotos/K2 Promotions