Sizzle always seems to top substance in life.
This especially holds true in politics and sports.
Gennady Golovkin is now the biggest star in boxing with the temporarily retirement of Floyd Mayweather and the inactivity of Manny Pacquiao…. and he’s still on the ascent. Recently he was seen starring in an Apple watch commercial shadow boxing, and that was before the highest profile bout of his career against defending IBF middleweight title holder David Lemieux, whose title he now owns.
So, how big a star does the WBA/IBF/IBO middleweight title holder Gennady Golovkin 34-0 (31) become?
It’s certainly no coincidence that one month after Floyd Mayweather’s last fight and immediate retirement announcement, Golovkin has dominated the talk among most boxing observers. Since barely beating a washed up Oscar De La Hoya in 2007, Mayweather has been boxing’s biggest star fighter and box office draw. Now with Floyd stepping out of the limelight, for at least the next year or so, it’s been assumed that Golovkin is the new must see fighter in professional boxing, and deservedly so.
Floyd Mayweather was very controversial and went out of his way to be the one wearing the black hat. He fed off of negative attention and went out of his was to annoy fans, especially those who didn’t care for him. He cultivated his own cottage industry made up of those who were more so fans of his than actually being boxing fans. They hate to hear that said, but a lot of their scope is limited to Mayweather and his opponents and that’s about it. What is most amazing is the fact that as technically proficient as he was, Floyd’s style and 95% of his bouts were devoid of action and not fan friendly.
In the past, boxing’s biggest draws and superstars were knockout punchers like Golovkin and Mike Tyson. Muhammad Ali and Mayweather were world stars who didn’t possess one punch knockout power and were the exception to the rule. However, they were great salesman, the difference being Ali sought to fight the best of the best and more than half of his bouts were exciting and drama filled.
Boxing’s newest star Golovkin is the anti-Mayweather. GGG has the makings of a special fighter. He has one-punch fight altering power in both hands. His accuracy is very good and he also possesses short power and doesn’t rush his shots. His balance is good and he seems to always be in position to punch. So far his chin looks like it’s a great last line of defense and it’s not all that easy to find. He also likes to put on a show for the fans and seems to be willing to fight the best, something that makes him a dying breed among today’s elite fighters.
Boxing fans know when they tune in to watch Golovkin fight, they’re going to see something dramatic happen in the ring. It has to because his style and power all but insures it, win or lose. In addition to that, he’s a gentleman and doesn’t talk trash or belittle other fighters. He’s not arrogant or garish like Floyd Mayweather, doesn’t get in trouble away from the ring and isn’t a twitter or Instagram troll.
I’ve read other writers who have said, “It’s refreshing to have a modest, humble boxer who never fails to deliver the goods, doesn’t brag, trash talk, cherry pick and beat women.”
“It’s a breath of fresh air after the stench, lies (from Mayweather)..”
….And they’re right, that sentiment..
However, Golovkin will never be quite the star that Mayweather is/was, and that’s very sad, but even more telling in regards to today’s society and culture. Today’s culture loves in your face hostility and braggadocio, of which Mayweather is the poster child. The quiet humble warrior is overlooked today. When all is said and done Gennady Golovkin may be a great fighter. But, that’s not enough to make him a huge superstar outside of the boxing world the way Mayweather was. At best when it comes to selling fights he’ll be Manny Pacquiao lite. I say lite because Pacquiao had the ability to go up in seven weight classes after winning his first world title and many fans wanted to see if he could do it. Golovkin doesn’t have that option.
Sure, Gennady can go up to super-middleweight and light heavyweight and perhaps win a title, but he isn’t going to be a factor above that like Pacquiao was as a junior-welterweight and welterweight. So just based on the element of physical stature, Golovkin doesn’t have the latitude Mayweather and Pacquiao both had in regards to winning multiple titles.
Then there’s the personality factor, which is huge.
As mentioned above, Golovkin’s personality fits the humble warrior mantra like Pacquiao, but that’s where the similarity ends. Mayweather overshadowed Pacquiao because he didn’t mind being seen as a villain and bad guy; actually, I think he relished it. His bragging and posting copies of paychecks and betting stubs all over the Internet brought him a lot of attention from more than just boxing or Mayweather fans. Also, Floyd traveling with a huge entourage and three or four bodyguards brought out the TMZ faction every time he left his Vegas mansion, further adding to the persona and making of his brand.
Due to his friendship and tutelage with Vince McMahon of the WWE, Floyd learned how to verbally sell a fight and also how to tease and tantalize the fans. Add to that he never really fought who the fans most wanted to see him fight when they actually wanted to see the bout, and it kept them thirsting for more, and the more thirsty they became the less he gave them. Thus ultimately making many tune into see him hopefully lose.
None of this applies to Golovkin as a draw.
Think about the dynamic between Mike Tyson and Evander Holyfield. Tyson’s fights really weren’t exciting, unless you liked watching no hope contenders getting blasted out in a round or two. That, along with every opponent who fought Tyson back beat him with the exception of Tony Tucker and Razor Ruddock. On the other hand, a majority of Holyfield’s fights were exciting and action packed. Yet, if Tyson fought Alex Stewart on the same night Holyfield fought Riddick Bowe, most fans would watch Tyson-Stewart because of all the drama that accompanied Mike, even though Holyfield-Bowe is the better fight.
Well, I think the same thing applies to Golovkin when compared to Mayweather on the world stage. I don’t think it has anything to do with Floyd being American or Gennady’s broken English. The determining factor is, Golovkin is a nice guy who appears willing to fight all comers and looks to end his bouts with every punch he throws, as opposed to Floyd who looked to do anything but fight or face the opponents who the public most clamored to see him against. But in today’s world in which sizzle always is preferred over substance, Floyd’s personality, antics and manufactured undefeated record dictated that when he was on top….he’ll always be considered more must see than Golovkin will ever hope to be. And that’s one prediction I would love to be wrong about down the road.
Frank Lotierzo can be contacted at GlovedFist@Gmail.com