Two of the best and most formidable fighters in boxing, Andre Ward 28-0 (15), the alpha fighter at super middleweight, and Gennady Golovkin 33-0 (30), the alpha fighter at middleweight, have been trading barbs for the last few months via the media.
This week the spit-fight between them continued, since both grasp that a fight between them next year would be huge. However, Golovkin says for that to happen Ward has to come down to 164–and Ward hasn’t been below 166 in nine years–in order for the fight to become a reality. This is kind of interesting since Golovkin was willing to meet Carl Froch and/or Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. at the super-middleweight limit of 168 not too long ago.
Also, one must ask why Golovkin would allow Froch and Chavez to face him as a fully flowered super middleweight but in the case of Ward, he has to drop down to 164? Then again there’s no need to contemplate why for long. As most boxing fans know Ward has already taken Froch apart and would be an overwhelming betting favorite over Chavez at any weight.
A Ward-Golovkin bout would be very hard to handicap. Ward, as a technician/boxer, aside from Floyd Mayweather, has no equal when it comes to being a complete and versatile fighter. On the other hand, Golovkin is considered the biggest single-shot puncher in boxing at 168 and below. What a style contrast it would be to watch them match their skills against each other – since Ward has never faced a puncher like Gennady and Golovkin has never been near, let alone confronted a fighter who brings everything to the ring that Ward does.
Yes, it’s great to ponder a match between them and it would be great for boxing, but it’s not going to happen for a good while down the road, for three reasons…starting with Golovkin. Right now Golovkin is the slightly higher profile fighter because he’s been active during the same time frame in which Ward has been inactive. And Golovkin also has at least one big dollar fight waiting for him at middleweight, and that’s the winner of the upcoming lineal middleweight clash in November between champ Miguel Cotto and Saul “Canelo” Alvarez. Regardless of who wins between Cotto and Alvarez, Golovkin will be a huge favorite against either one. So much so that the odds will make it a difficult betting proposition. And if you’re Gennady, you’re probably better off if Alvarez wins because as impressive as his record is, Golovkin’s resume isn’t loaded with a who’s-who list of upper-tier opponents. Alvarez is young and strong and will not look like a welterweight next to Golovkin the way that the 34 year old Cotto would, mainly because Miguel turned pro as a junior welterweight. So Golovkin would get much more credit and props beating Alvarez than he would Cotto.
Golovkin having at least one big fight for him at middleweight is a great reason for him to try and push a fight with Ward down the road. But that won’t settle the weight issue. I’m so sick of catch-weight bouts between elite fighters it’s nauseating. How many of these charades will it take for fans to grasp that the fighter coming down in weight usually loses?
For Golovkin to insist on a fight with Ward at 164 is a joke. Why doesn’t he just say, I need to weaken him to feel as though I can beat him? If Ward is too big for Gennady, then don’t look his way or mention fighting him.
Floyd Mayweather, it would seem, felt that Golovkin was too big for him and rightly never asked to fight him. What would it prove if Golovkin beat a drained and depleted Ward? It’s not like he would’ve faced the same fighter that Edison Miranda, Mikkel Kessler, Sakio Bika, Arthur Abraham, Carl Froch and Chad Dawson had to contend with. Speaking of Dawson, how strong did he look against Ward fighting seven pounds below his natural weight?
It’s a farce for Golovkin to ask for Ward to fight him at 164, just as it would be for Mayweather to fight Golovkin at 154. If Ward could’ve been effective fighting near middleweight, he would’ve been a middleweight. And the same holds true for Golovkin – if he was strong at 154, he would’ve fought as a junior middleweight. Sure, Ward could make 164 and Golovkin could make 154, but they’d be skeletons resembling an empty package in the ring on fight night.
This leads us to the final stumbling block…and that is, who would be the A-side in a Ward-Golovkin bout?
It seems based on the way the Golovkin faction has projected themselves, they feel quite certain that Golovkin deserves top billing. This is something I couldn’t disagree with more. Think about it, a short time ago Carl Froch was mentioned as a future opponent for Golovkin and everybody got excited. And that’s because Froch would’ve represented the most recognizable name on Golovkin’s resume. Well, Ward dismantled a more relevant version of Froch almost four years ago.
Yes, Gennady gets the attention because he’s a perceived destroyer via his punching power. However, Ward has a way better body of work and must be the A-side if he and Golovkin fight. Neither fighter has ever been the main event on a PPV card. In that regard they need each other. But based on who has accomplished more at the highest level in boxing, it’s clearly Ward. And for the fight to be legit, it must be contested at 168. That’s the challenge for Golovkin. Can he beat a really sensational, slightly bigger fighter? And if Ward is too big for him then stay away from him and clean out the middleweight division. In addition to that, Ward has never said that he wants to be the middleweight champ.
Again, it’s great to ponder a Ward-Golovkin match and it would be so great for boxing, but it’s not going to happen for a long spell, which is too often the case in the sport today, sadly.
Frank Lotierzo can be contacted at GlovedFist@Gmail.com