He shows up for every fight with the intention to win impressively and by knockout. He’s riding a 32 bout winning streak since he turned pro and 29 of those wins have been by stoppage. WBA/IBO middleweight title holder Gennady Golovkin is an emerging, perhaps surging starm in professional boxing. And he, along with Terence Crawford and Sergey Kovalev couldn’t be arriving at a better time for the sport of boxing. As of this writing fans are starving for action-packed competitive fights, like the one we saw last weekend in which Saul “Canelo” Alvarez knocked out James Kirkland after three furious rounds. For the second weekend in a row the HBO airwaves should be blazing with an action packed fight. The presence of Golovkin all but insures that.
Golovkin, who is an attacker and is capable of boxing a little bit from mid-range if he has to, has no interest in winning rounds and going the distance. And that is the reason his popularity and star quotient is soaring. Gennady looks to force the fight and does whatever it physically takes to make his opponents fight and trade with him. His opponent this Saturday night, southpaw Willie Monroe, is a boxer with quick hands and likes to fight on the outside and pick his spots. His job will be to try and keep Golovkin from walking him down and forcing him to fight it out and trade by using lateral movement and combination punching. Keeping Golovkin at the end of his punches will be a tall order for Monroe because Golovkin enters the ring knowing that his opponent is most likely going to do everything in his power to keep the bout from turning it into a war. However, Golovkin is very good at cutting the ring off and sealing his opponents escape route – thus they’re forced to fight him off and ultimately end up fighting his fight.
The style clash encompassing Golovkin vs. Monroe is what makes the fight intriguing. Golovkin has stopped his last 19 opponents and you can rest assured he plans on making Monroe number 20. And that’s why the result of this match up will most definitely be determined by the fighter who is best equipped physically to impose themself and their style on the other.
When a “boxer” like Monroe faces an “attacker” like Golovkin, in order for the boxer to be effective he must possess enough power to where he keeps the swarmer honest so he can’t just walk him down as if he’s handcuffed. With Monroe only winning by stoppage six times as a pro that looks unlikely. Mark my words, Monroe might be the smoothest and slickest fighter in boxing, but if he doesn’t punch hard enough to give Golovkin the slightest bit of concern or trepidation in regards to pushing the fight, then what? What’s to stop Golovkin from just walking him down to the point to where there’s nowhere for him to go and then blasting him with his finishing hooks and right hands?
Back in mid-March when the bout was first announced, Golovkin said in the Reviewjournal.com “This is a big test for me; I want to show everybody I can beat any style. It doesn’t matter. Strong guy, tall guy, short guy, anybody.”
And that’s why boxing fans are turning out and tuning in more and more for the next bout featuring Gennady and Sergey Kovalev. Boxing hasn’t featured a superstar who looked to win exclusively by knockout since the halcyon days of Mike Tyson. In fact the three biggest superstars at the gate since Tyson’s heyday, but not necessarily the greatest fighters, were/are Oscar De La Hoya, Floyd Mayweather and Manny Pacquiao. Oscar was a boxer puncher who routinely used his jab and reach to win throughout the second half of his career when he faced the biggest names and most accomplished fighters on his record. Mayweather is a master technician; however his judicious approach as to who and when he fought elite opposition dramatically hindered any chance of his bouts being memorable or fan friendly. As for Pacquiao, he didn’t become a superstar until he was a junior welterweight and most of his bouts at 140 and above went the distance.
Today Golovkin represents two rare breeds pertaining to world class fighters campaigning at the championship level. For starters he carries one-punch fight-altering power in what seems to be both hands. There are less than a handful of those fighters among today’s elite boxers. Secondly, he is an authentic attacker/swarmer, and you may only need a few fingers to count them. This means he’s not effective unless he’s moving forward and pressuring his opponent. That said, we’ve seen plenty of fighters whose feet move forward, but they tend to follow more than pressure and head off their opponent. Just because a fighter’s feet are moving toward the opponent doesn’t automatically translate into effective aggression and pressure.
What separates Gennady Golovkin from others is this: his pressure is bell-to-bell and it forces the opponent to rush their offense in terms of getting off. And when fighters are forced to rush their punches, more often than not their heels are not flat to the surface and a lot of their power evaporates. This in turn makes it easier for him to pursue them more unimpeded. Pretty soon the fighter who is forced to rush his shots tires both mentally and physically, and once he’s winded and flat-footed he has no other option but to fight and trade…which is the predicament that the attacker/swarmer wants him in.
At the press conference announcing the fight, Willie “The Mongoose” Monroe said, “I will shock the world; I think this is an awesome fight. We have two contrasting styles and that will make for some spontaneous combustion. We will see which style comes out on top on May 16.”
That’s why we want to see this one. We know how Golovkin will approach the fight looking to drop and stop his man, and Monroe, who is stepping up in class, appears more than willing to see if he can beat the beast of the division, with his contrasting style.
Frank Lotierzo can be contacted at GlovedFist@Gmail.com