This past weekend, WBA/WBC middleweight title holder Gennady Golovkin 33-0 (30) stopped Willie Monroe Jr. 19-2 (6) in the sixth round.
Golovkin had Monroe down three times during the action packed and fan friendly bout. The match-up offered contrasting styles between Golovkin the “attacker” and Monroe the “boxer/stylist.” Both fighters held form stylistically, as Golovkin pressed the fight and Monroe tried to move and box with the intent of not getting cornered or trapped with his back to the ropes. And for almost two rounds Monroe was treading water. He was losing because Gennady was making the fight, but he wasn’t getting steamrolled.
Then the damn started to crack as it had been the case for Golovkin’s previous 32 opponents. The strain of trying to move, punch and keep himself from being beat down becomes too taxing.
Eventually they get to the point to where fighting him is the lesser evil both physically and mentally than trying to run and survive. And that was the predicament Monroe found himself in before the end of the second round. So Willie sucked it up and basically said to himself, “I’d rather get knocked out trying to win than kill myself trying to survive and maybe go the distance.” So he held his ground and nailed Golovkin with some beautiful shots with his feet planted on the canvas, and actually got GGG’s attention. And therein was the problem, getting his attention led Gennady to escalate his attack and soon Monroe was fighting to buy time and looking to make it through the round. Once that transpired the end was a foregone conclusion and less than a minute into the sixth round Monroe was spent and decided to spare himself further punishment and live to fight another day. This was the smart thing to do. His stock has no doubt risen despite coming up short and going down three times against the most formidable and dangerous punching middleweight in the world. Because it is he who gave Golovkin the toughest fight of his career and even had him a little marked up under both eyes when the fight was over.
As for Golovkin, some may try and sound cute and philosophical stating their case pertaining to what he is as a fighter. That’s not my style, so here’s the deal. Gennady Golovkin is physically too strong for any current middleweight to box and/or hold off. To beat him it will take a fighter who can either turn his aggression against him, like perhaps Andre Ward – or a fighter who can make him fight on his back foot or make him pay for bringing the heat. As of this writing that fighter does not exist in the middleweight division.
No, Golovkin is not unbeatable and is not without a few wrinkles in his game. The problem is, his abundance of strength, power and the ability to cut off the ring are just too overwhelming for anybody campaigning at his weight. Yes, he’s hittable because he’s right there always looking to land the money shot, and all fighters with that mindset are reachable, that comes with the territory. It’s just in his case, one of his shots does more damage and influences the fight more than two or three of his opponents…at least up to this point. The only thing negative one can draw from Gennady’s showing against Monroe that hasn’t been touched on is how hard he was breathing after the fourth and fifth rounds. This is the first time I’ve seen him a little winded, although it’s also the first time he’s really been pushed by an opponent and had to fight with a sense of urgency.
Golovkin thrilled the 12,732 fans in attendance and has really built up a tremendous following in less than three years. The anticipation for a future bout with junior middleweight Saul “Canelo” Alvarez or lineal middleweight champ Miguel Cotto has already begun. It’s doubtful that he’ll end up fighting both because if Alvarez and Cotto are smart, they’ll fight each other first with the winner looking towards Golovkin afterwards. Which if that happens the fight we’ll most likely see is Golovkin-Alvarez, which would no doubt be the better fight because Canelo has some tools that he could apply against Gennady, especially fighting on the inside. Whereas Cotto would go into the fight without one discernible tool or weapon to give him even a hope to derail GGG. And there’s also the elite fighter at super-middleweight, Andre Ward, down the road for the ultimate showdown as Golovkin mentioned at center ring after beating Monroe, assuming Ward gets his career back on track and becomes active again.
“I stay here. I am the real champion,” Golovkin said. “I want unification. Let’s go, let’s do it guys. Who is No. 1 right now? Bring it on. I will show you.”
That’s right, like former middleweight greats Carlos Monzon and Marvin Hagler, Golovkin is a natural middleweight and that’s where he should stay and let the big fights come to him. Monzon and Hagler cleaned out the middleweight division during their title tenure circa 1970-77 for Monzon and 1980-87 for Hagler and everybody enjoyed watching their fights. Yes, both defended their title against former welterweight and junior middleweight title holders but, neither Carlos nor Marvin ever went down or fought a gimmick catch-weight bout. Sure, Monzon fought Emile Griffith and Jose Napoles and Hagler fought Thomas Hearns and Sugar Ray Leonard, but as middleweights, because all four wanted the middleweight title they held.
Well, the same should hold serve with Golovkin regardless of who the opponent is. After seeing Gennady get winded against Monroe, I think he’d be a fool to agree to fight Mayweather at a catch-weight of 154 with his middleweight belts on the line. If Mayweather wants to really prove he’s half the fighter he thinks he is, fight Golovkin at 160 and for once take a legitimate risk. Believe me if he wins he’ll get his just due for it. However, bringing Golovkin down to 154 would weaken Gennady, in spite of what he and his team say about him making 154. Believe me, if he could make 154 without being compromised, that is where he would be fighting.
The sport of boxing has opened its arms to Gennady Golovkin because he is a real fighter and delivers action packed bouts every time out. Hopefully his arrival will swing the pendulum back to the era when the best fought the best and high profile bouts ended via stoppage as opposed to boring decisions where everybody argues over who really won for the next month. Gennady is just too strong for any active middleweight to hold off and attempt to box, which all but insures his bouts will always at some point become a fight, and that’s what fans want to see.
Frank Lotierzo can be contacted at GlovedFist@Gmail.com