Grading GGG – On Saturday, Sept. 10, Gennady “GGG” Golovkin successfully defended his multiple middleweight belts with a fifth round stoppage of brave but out-gunned Kell Brook at London’s O2 Arena. Brook had his moments in a fight contested at a furious pace, but the handwriting was on the wall when Triple-G landed a punch that fractured Brook’s orbital bone in the second frame.
In their post-fight reports, British boxing writers were overwhelmingly awed, writing of Golovkin as if he were invincible. Here’s a sample:
“Fists of steel and a jaw of concrete.” – Sam Dean, The Telegraph
“Not only could he knock holes in brick walls but he takes even the meatiest punches as if he is being brushed with a feather.” — Jeff Powell, Daily Mail
“His power is extraordinary….but what I think is most daunting about him is his ability to take a punch…Quite simply there is not another man out there right now at 160lbs who can push him – he is that good.” – Simon Crawford, The Sporting Life
“Golovkin’s left hook to the body and then to the head almost ended this early, and the sound of both shots whipping in could be heard over the crowd roars…There might not be anyone great enough to beat Gennady Golovkin at middleweight.” – Chris McKenna, London Express/Daily Star
“He is a national idol (in Kazakhstan), but more than that he is a great boxing role model.” – Steve Bunce, The Independent
On this side of the pond, several boxing scribes were “underwhelmed.” Yahoo boxing writer Kevin Iole, who didn’t attend the fight (perhaps in no mood to travel overseas again so soon after his lengthy stay on assignment in Rio) had this to say: “This wasn’t the vintage ‘Triple G’ that boxing fans have fallen in love with and he certainly appeared nowhere near the best fighter in the world….This, at least temporarily, will put the brakes on the Golovkin hype train. He showed enough vulnerability that it is now no sure thing he runs through the rest of the field at middleweight.”
Brian Mazique, a Chicago-based contributor to Forbes, echoed that opinion: “With Golovkin facing the best pure boxer he’s ever fought, two things were apparent: he was easy to hit and his punches weren’t accurate….No matter how you assess the fight, (Canelo) Alvarez and his camp should be encouraged.”
Both the Iole and the Mazique pieces bore headlines that used the word “lackluster” in describing Golovkin’s performance.
Regardless of where you stand (and I suspect that most of you are more in league with the British scribes), one fact is undeniable. More than eight years have elapsed since a GGG opponent was still standing at the final bell, a span dappled with 23 fights. The ball is now in Canelo’s court.