OVER / UNDER : 6.5 ROUNDS – There’s no doubt that as of February 2015, Gennady Golovkin is one of the most formidable boxers in the game.
Whether or not he is truly more than an exceptional talent, let alone an all time great, remains unproven.
32-year old Golovkin is still at least a couple steps away from the very top of the game, but from the looks of things it may not be too much longer before he gets there. Time and a strong international reputation are on his side.
Golovkin attempts to add further accolades to his resume, facing Martin Murray in Monte Carlo today.
Golovkin is indeed a star, at the threshold of PPV headlining with potential for fame beyond boxing like Floyd Mayweather, Jr or Manny Pacquiao have achieved. Golovkin has done a good job establishing his brand in a relatively short period of US market exposure time.
Still, whatever transpires within the strands this weekend in Monaco won’t change Golovkin’s overall slugging status, unless Murray makes a dramatic stand and exposes some flaws.
A quick splattering may add to Golovkin’s HBO highlight reel, but it really won’t improve his status in boxing’s hierarchy. He needs to beat a proven champion, if that man is undefeated so much the better.
As of today, the 31-0 (28) Golovkin is a beast. He’s not yet a full-tilt monster, though the designation has already been applied throughout major media.
Monsters destroy undefeated fighters, as in the case of Mike Tyson versus Michael Spinks.
Tyson was a monster. Marvin Hagler and Thomas Hearns were monsters, as was Michael Carbajal at times. Golovkin does not currently have that vibe, and that has nothing to do with his calm, cheerful countenance.
Whether Golovkin completes the progression will, of course, depend on the men across the ring come fight nights. Golovkin has only been in with one undefeated fighter, scoring a 2nd round KO over Mikail Makarov, then 10-0, in November of 2009.
I watched Golovkin box twice in Dusseldorf during the German phase of his development. The first time was in January ’09, an immediate blow out of Javier Alberto Mamani on Ina Menzer’s undercard. Mamani was 35-7-1, with solid experience against decent opposition, so it was a good win for Golovkin, who was 15-0 with 12 stoppages then.
The second time was when he blasted out Laujan Simon in the initial defense of the vacant WBA belt earned against Kassim Ouma, in what may have been the last time Golovkin was tested. The 1st round flattening of Simon was impressive, but youthful Golovkin still didn’t look like a monster.
I remain unconvinced Golovkin could beat a prime John Mugabi (3 round fight either way) or make the step up past Iran Barkley or Mike McCallum (there will be blood). We won’t think about Ray Leonard, Hearns or Hagler yet.
I do, however, assume Golovkin would knock out Roberto Duran something like Hearns did, without the face-first fall. Like it or not, that’s the only call I can make after watching Duran lose all eight times I saw him fight.
We’ll never know how Golovkin would stack up against glorious monsters from the past but there are plenty of potential, present day foes regarding current credibility.
With catch weights becoming more of a trend, the most likely foes to present problems for Golovkin are probably fellows from a higher weight class than 160 pounds.
It doesn’t make much sense for Golovkin to stay at middleweight much beyond his stated preference for a Miguel Cotto fight. That’s a blockbuster natural pairing for Barclays, though quite likely a fight most venues would gladly pursue. It’s also a very winnable unification fight for Golovkin, as is Andy Lee, who will be in Monaco and could be next in line.
The super –middleweight to light heavyweight ranks hold other great match-ups, Las Vegas worthy pay-per-view attractions.
Carl Froch seeks a big Vegas finale. Golovkin has never appeared in boxing’s greatest locale. It would be a huge event for wagering, with rowdy fans from around LA and the UK known for well-worn pilgrimages. A betting favorite could depend on the contract weight. The winner gains serious, top pound for pound consideration.
Or, what a comeback fight Golovkin could be for Andre Ward. It’s another situation like a Froch fight presents, but probably much less likely to occur any time soon.
A mix of “Cinnamon” Alvarez and “GGG” gunpowder could be the most explosive fight of 2016. Both guys seem sincere about wanting to face the best, and there would likely be enough cash to fuel fruitful negotiations. A natural Southern California or Texas stadium fight.
Golovkin was previously based in Stuttgart but it would be treading water for him to return to Germany for conceivable cakewalks against Felix Sturm or Arthur Abraham, unless the Kazakhstan conker misses European cuisine or blazing along the autobahn. Juergen Braehmer’s WBA light heavyweight title is an interesting stay busy option, but very unlikely.
Can you imagine Golovkin – Pacquiao in Macao at 154?
Golovkin – Mayweather in Dubai at 152?
Are Marco Huck and Manuel Charr somewhere in Moscow racing to get down to 165 while Shannon Briggs plans to crash la boxe with bellowing offers to fight in his straightjacket?
Sooner or later, some top dog will either perceive an exploitable flaw, get a payday-offer substantial enough to alleviate the risk, have a cruiserweight’s size advantage or just man up for the hell of it.
Until then, it will be more of the same for Golovkin, brave but outgunned underdogs like Murray, faced with accurate, double-digit odds against them. Most will be chasing a payday more than chasing a dream. Better odds on the payday.
At this point in his career, Golovkin’s biggest challenge is likely to remain that of finding an appropriate opponent to fully validate his championship stature.
Staying great, while awaiting the chance to prove said greatness, is sometimes more challenging than the achievement itself.
For now, Gennady Golovkin is merely human. Probably, before their fight is halfway finished, he’ll look like a monster to Martin Murray.
This evening in the lavish, bayside casinos of Monte Carlo, you can bet that the house money is probably pretty safe.