10 Guys – IF you happened to see Shane Mosley’s social media posting on Wednesday, May 11, you might have read Sugar Shane’s cyber claim that the biggest fight in boxing is a “done deal” for September 17. We’re all now Tweeting about Canelo Alvarez versus Gennady Golovkin for the undisputed middleweight championship of the world. The weighting game has gone on long enough. As boxing fans know, Canelo won the linear (as well as the WBC and Ring Magazine) middleweight title from Miguel Cotto last year and has now successfully defended it against Amir Khan at the controversial 155 pound catchweight limit insisted upon by Alvarez. When a gutsy Khan finally woke up from the sixth round KO loss, he spoke undeniable words of truth.
“It’s time,” said Khan, “For Canelo to step up to GGG.”
Golovkin is the WBA and IBF middleweight champion, winner of his last 22 fights by knockout, with 15 successful defenses of his championship claim, all by knockout, most recently against overmatched mandatory challenger Dominic Wade. Who isn’t overmatched against Golovkin? Regardless of who you believe the real champion is, or why, a meeting between Canelo and GGG at 160 pounds would serve to clear up all the confusion. As we wait for news about the superfight negotiations now underway thanks to the WBC, let’s examine the popular notion that Golovkin could have or should have fought opponent X, contender Y, and champion Z by now. Indeed, there are several “big name” opponents missing from the undefeated record of Golovkin 35-0 (32) but in boxing, not all is as it seems.
Triple G’s critics insist that elite competition will expose GGG’s flaws.
Canelo’s critics are demanding he face Golovkin immediately with no catchweight.
Let’s take a closer look at who GGG didn’t fight and why.
1. Andre Ward: Golovkin, 34, has been a dedicated middleweight for over a decade with an eye on divisional unification. He’s a pure 160 pounder, not unlike Brockton’s Marvelous Marvin Hagler was. Ward has been a larger, 168 pound super middleweight champion for a while. And lately, one who rarely fights. During Golovkin’s peak years (2013 to present) Ward sat on the sidelines only to move up and away from Triple G. The S.O.G. now finds himself reborn at light heavyweight (175 pounds, 15 north of Golovkin) where a date with Sergey Kovalev awaits. Ward might be looking back down at Golovkin if the Krusher crushes him. Or perhaps by then Golovkin will be on his way up to super middle to meet him. There is already talk of GGG vs. Gilberto Ramirez in a WBO Mexican Style fiesta. Because Ward has always had the size and skill advantage, he’d be favored to defeat Golovkin today, tomorrow, or yesterday.
2. Floyd Mayweather: It may be true that the former World Welterweight Champion is smaller than Golovkin but Money was also junior middleweight champion at 154 where he tamed the talented but limited Canelo Alvarez in 2013. Alvarez 47-1-1 (33) is very good but he’s neither unbeaten nor unbeatable. Mayweather has “retired” from boxing only to now start rumors about fighting tapped out cage fighters. Come on Sugar May Floyd, your ultimate fighting challenge is here. Beat GGG at middleweight for THE title and you really are TBE. You must feel like you can’t win. If today’s Hagler-Leonard ever becomes reality for a new generation, Mayweather would be favored to win a decision while Golovkin would be expected to win by KO.
3. Miguel Cotto: When the Puerto Rican legend had his time with the WBC middleweight championship, Cotto was demonstrably more interested in catchweights, feasting on GGG TKO victim Daniel Geale, and a big moneyweight fight with Canelo Alvarez. The big moneyweight fight happened and now there is a less than zero chance that Cotto will ever face Golovkin but we knew that even before Cotto mugged Maravilla at The Garden in 2014. Had this bout happened in 2015 when Cotto was linear champ and Golovkin was his de facto number one contender, it might have looked something like Mike Tyson’s 91 second destruction of Michael Spinks in 1988 or Cotto’s first fight with Antonio Margarito. Cotto was never fighting, or beating, GGG.
4. Sergio Martinez: It’s not that the former World Middleweight Champion wouldn’t have fought Golovkin to defend his title, it’s that his aging body wouldn’t hold up long enough for GGG to brutally break it down in the ring. Sergio defeated his Golovkin-esque challengers in Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. and Paul Williams. Similar WBC chicanery persists today, only it’s worse now. This will be one for boxing historians to weigh the extent of in well imagined dream fights. Prime Martinez vs. Prime Golovkin at middleweight. When I dream about it, I see southpaw Sergio dancing on the razor’s edge for as long as he possibly can before Golovkin catches up to him for a violent, come from behind KO in the championship rounds of a truly championship fight. What a shame that Sergio chose to sell his claim to the championship to Cotto and not to the man (GGG) who respects THE title as much as Maravilla always did.
5. Carl Froch: Like his own perfect foil Andre Ward, Froch was always a little too big for Golovkin but he was also a little too old and past his best. By the time this epic confrontation could have or should have taken place, Froch (then 37) was going out the door in 2014. Asked about a possible Golovkin fight as a career finale, Froch was respectful of Triple G’s power. In fact, Froch sounded leery of it and happy (to this day) with his choice to live a life of retirement, weakened legs, and unscrambled brain cells. The “Cobra” knew when to strike and when to avoid the mongoose. Could Golovkin have finished what upstart George Groves began before pushing Froch into retirement? Golovkin would’ve surely cracked the chinks in Froch’s armor for a shocking TKO.
6. Julio Cesar Chavez Jr.: Fans wondered what might have happened if the iron chin of Chavez Jr. met up with the iron fists of Gennady Golovkin. After unsuccessfully challenging Sergio Martinez for the middleweight title in 2012, a fight with Golovkin could have been on the table for Chavez Jr. but instead, what was on the table was fruit loops, cannabis, and more nonsense catchweight fights. Chavez Jr. struggled with Brian Vera in two meaningless bouts before conceding in the corner against Polish tough guy Andrzej Fonfara at light heavyweight last year. What could have been, never was, with Chavez Jr. The son of Mexico’s Grand Champion would be little more than a punching bag for Golovkin now at any weight Jr. chose to come in at.
7. Peter Quillin: Kid Chocolate held the WBO middleweight title and frequently barked for a title bout with Golovkin but because Quillin was and is signed with Al Haymon, the fight was always a promotional improbability. When Quillin got stopped in a single round by “Miracle Man” Danny Jacobs last year, the fight suddenly became an irrelevant impossibility. Had Quillin barked loud enough to have made a Golovkin fight happen, Quillin would have been swiftly beaten into submission by boxing’s alpha dog. I don’t believe in miracles but I do believe we could see Golovkin fight Jacobs next year. Triple G in 3 or less.
8. Andy Lee: Scheduled to scrap a couple years ago, Golovkin lost his father during training for the match and the middleweight title bout was mercifully cancelled. Lee has since lost his WBO title to up and comer Billy Joe Saunders but he remains a semi-viable opponent for Golovkin based on heart, fighting style, and ethnic economics. No way on God’s Green Earth does Lee, Saunders, or anyone else at middleweight upset Golovkin but we in the know already knew that. If Lee does find himself in a boxing ring with Golovkin, Irish Eyes will be bleeding. Golovkin wins by easy TKO and always would have.
9. Arthur Abraham: We might be scraping the bottom of the barrel here but AA was a middleweight title holder up until 2009. A fight with the pre-championship level Golovkin could have been made around this period of time but in reality, Abraham was set to move up in weight while Golovkin was set to dominate at middleweight. A future meeting at super middleweight shouldn’t be totally ruled out with Abraham now on the comeback trail after a disappointing 168 pound WBO title loss to Gilberto Ramirez last month. If Golovkin moves up, he’ll be looking for super middleweight opponents with the guts to fight him. Abraham has never shown a lack of courage. Golovkin would almost certainly retire AA for good.
10. Darren Barker: The now retired former IBF middleweight champion gave Sergio Martinez a run for his money in 2011 before falling to the middleweight champion in eleven rounds with a punctured eardrum. When Barker came back in 2012, a Golovkin fight would have been a viable option but instead, Barker fought Daniel Geale for the IBF title. After winning the belt in a very close fight, Barker was upset by veteran Felix Sturm in 2013. Barker retired after the loss, citing persistent injury issues. OK, well what about Sturm you ask, why didn’t Golovkin fight him? Because nobody wanted him to and also because Sturm immediately lost his middleweight title to Sam Soliman who lost it to Jermaine Taylor before “Bad Intentions” went crazy and got himself locked up. Yes, there was a “vacant” IBF title fight after Taylor was stripped. Canadian bomber David Lemieux decisioned Hassan N’Dam to grab the strap in 2015 before capitulating to Golovkin at Madison Square Garden last October in a rare middleweight unification bout.
Did I miss anybody?