Say hello to boxing’s two big hitters, when Big Poison Gennady “GGG” Golovkin and Little Poison Roman “Chocolatito” Gonzalez enter the arena. They’re two of the sport’s most dynamic knockout specialists in the world.
Golovkin (32-0, 29 Kos) defends the WBA and IBO middleweight titles against Willie Monroe Jr. (19-1, 6 Kos) and Gonzalez (42-0, 36 Kos) faces Edgar Sosa (51-8, 30 Kos) on Saturday, May 16, at Inglewood Forum. HBO will televise the two events, with most expecting knockout wins.
While Golovkin has slowly emerged as prizefighting’s most exciting performer via his glittering knockouts, Gonzalez has found it difficult to gain attraction.
But in the two appearances in Southern California, Nicaragua’s pocket-sized destroyer wowed fans with his one-sided destruction of Mexico’s Ramon Hirales in 2012, then his masterful display of technique against another Mexican flyweight Juan Francisco Estrada in that same year. Against Estrada, if many felt “Chocolatito” was merely a slugger, they discovered he could indeed box too and pulled out a decision win over the tough Mexican champion.
Chocolatito has found a home in Japan and also found popularity and success by racking up four knockout wins in Yokohama and Tokyo. An imminent showdown with Japanese super flyweight titlist Naoya Inoue (8-0, 7 Kos) is looming should he dispatch Sosa. All of Japan is waiting for that showdown.
But, first things first.
Gonzalez, 27, is a former junior flyweight champion and now holds the WBC flyweight title. But most of the world – including his Nicaraguan compatriots – expect him to move up in weight and meet 22-year-old Inoue at 115 pounds. It’s a natural showdown that their promoter Teiken Promotions is quietly building up. Think of that as Asia’s Fight of the Century.
Though not the fastest flyweight in the world, he possesses strength and resilience. Add punching power and a high boxing IQ and you get a good idea of what he brings to the boxing ring. Sosa hopes to last the distance but it’s difficult keeping a beast like Gonzalez off kilter.
Expect Chocolatito to end things quickly in this fight. He’ll have a large throng of Nicaraguans in attendance and wants to please his fans.
Golovkin’s ability to power through the middleweight division since arriving in the U.S. is the stuff of legends.
After a magnificent amateur career of 350 matches with only five defeats that included an Olympic silver medal in 2004, Golovkin found it difficult to obtain a fight with the well-entrenched middleweight champions Felix Sturm and Sebastian Zbik though all were under the same promotional umbrella. So he departed for American shores and through the impressive efforts of K-2 Promotions under Tom Loeffler, the Kazakhstani prizefighter has exploded on the mindset of American fans. In particular, fans of Mexican descent have become enamored with his explosive punches and aggressive “Mexican style” approach.
“I like to fight, not box,” says Golovkin. “I want to fight any style because I need to fight any style. Sometime short guys, some time tall guys. There will be a lot of different changes, especially for his style as a southpaw.”
Golovkin is boxing’s sure thing when it comes to providing excitement.
The real middleweight world champion cites Julio Cesar Chavez as his fighting model and like the Mexican champion, winning decisions is not his goal. He seeks knockouts and only knockouts. And if they don’t happen, well, the opponent will be beat up enough that even judges will know who won the fight.
Monroe is the anti-Golovkin, whose defensive prowess and southpaw style have enabled him to win 19 of 20 pro fights in the middleweight division. He can move and hit, stand and trade or perplex almost any opponent with a variety of methods.
Still, Monroe knows the challenge that faces him.
“Look what he’s accomplished as a fighter; 19 straight knockouts. He made his American debut in 2012, and he’s knocked out everybody thus far,” said Monroe about his chance to wreck perfection. “I mean like, why wouldn’t you want to take that cloak of invincibility from somebody? I’m the one that can do it.”
Golovkin has been around the block as both an amateur and professional. He knows a defensive specialist can make any fight as boring as cement drying. But he hopes he can prove he can avoid falling into the pit of boredom.
“I like to fight. I’m a fighter,” said Golovkin at his Big Bear camp. “I promise great show.”
Golovkin will have a large amount of supporters from Eastern Europe and Mexican-Americans looking for him to demonstrate his Mexican style attack.
It should be an exciting night.
Photos by Ismael Gallardo/RBRBoxing