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Is Golovkin A Special Fighter Or Just A Special Puncher?

BY Frank Lotierzo ON July 24, 2014
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Golovkin

This weekend Gennady Golovkin 29-0 (26) defends his WBO middleweight title against former IBF title holder Daniel Geale 30-2 (16) at Madison Square Garden in New York City. Golovkin is thought of and hyped as being one of the few genuine life-takers fighting today, regarding his punching power. His KO percentage of 26 knockouts in 29 fights resembles the KO percentage of former all-time great Thomas Hearns, who sported a record of 30 knockouts in 32 fights going into his welterweight unification bout with Sugar Ray Leonard in 1981

In boxing there are two types of fighters that are the most rare: legitimate great punchers and great swarmers. During the modern era there have only been four all-time great heavyweights who fought as swarmers/attackers. Today, there are slightly more than a handful of authentically great punchers: Wladimir Klitschko, Sergey Kovalev, Gennady Golovkin, Lucas Matthysse, Nonito Donaire and maybe one or two others. Fans love to watch great punchers fight because they usually make for exciting bouts, win or lose.

Golovkin and Kovalev are starting to carve out reputations as being real life-takers who are capable of ending a fight at any time with one clean shot. Exactly how good they are is still unknown for sure, because in all honesty, they haven't really faced a murderer’s row pertaining to their opposition on their run up to the title in today's very pedestrian middleweight and light heavyweight divisions. Who knows, maybe they'll both go on to retire as all-time greats. However, if that turns out to be the case, they'll be the exceptions because history has shown that truly great punchers usually aren't great fighters. In reality, there aren't many Thomas Hearns' and Alexis Arguellos around.

Randall Bailey can punch his rear-end off, if you stand around and wait for him to hit you. David Tua and Bert Cooper were two of the scariest heavyweight bangers to come along since George Foreman's heyday, circa 1973-76. They were really good second-tier fighters and contenders but nowhere near great.

Golovkin will cave your ribs in round after round, and can also bring late round power into the fight, too. But nobody knocks everybody out, then what? Golovkin, who does know how to deliver and set up his power, is nearly an 8 to 1 favorite over Geale this Saturday night. And that's based on one thing only. It's not because he's such a terrifically skilled and versatile fighter, it's because the book on him is he can really punch with both hands to the head and body, and those type fighters are born, and not created or manufactured in the gym or laboratory.

The experts who set the odds are pretty sure that Golovkin's power is going to either hurt or deter Geale enough to the point to where he's fighting to survive and will therefore lose every round. Or, at some point during the fight he'll be concussed or can't continue due to him getting battered to the point where either the referee or his corner will halt the fight. Think about it. If Golovkin didn't have dynamite in both hands, would he be such a heavy favorite over Geale? I don't think so.

Yes, all professional fighters can hit hard, but the ones who steadily knock out top five opposition like Golovkin are few and far between. Punching power is really important in professional boxing and then again it's overrated. Power is important but as history has shown, it doesn't equal fighting ability. What we know about Golovkin is - he can hit with either hand and he seems to be a very confident and determined guy. That combination makes him a dangerous fighter to his opponents. Also, more than most pure punchers, Golovkin seems to be a thinking fighter, who is capable of analyzing what his opponent is doing.

What we don't know is, how well does he take a great shot, how does he handle adversity, how good is his stamina and how will he react when he is confronted by an opponent who can stand up to his punch? Believe me that will happen at some point.. and is he capable of fighting back? Also, no one has been able to do it to this point - what'll happen if and when Golovkin is forced to back up? Then what?

Not all punchers can fight because when their power doesn't carry the day they usually don't have many other weapons or skills to fall back on. Right now the boxing world is watching and trying to figure out exactly what the book is on Golovkin because none of us really know. If he knocks Daniel Geale out in an impressive fashion his notoriety will explode among even quasi boxing fans and we'll be a little closer to knowing just how good, special or great he may one day be.

The fact that Golovkin is a legitimate puncher makes him unique and must see. Hopefully down the road in the not too distant future we'll find out if he really is a special fighter and not just a special puncher. Until then we'll enjoy the journey in finding out, because like great swarmers, legitimately great punchers who can really fight don't come along very often.

Frank Lotierzo can be contacted at GlovedFist@Gmail.com

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Comment on this article

deepwater2 says:

He is both. A rare gem that should be enjoyed while he is in his prime.

Dear Al (The Shadow) Haymon,

I hope this post gets to you where ever you are hiding. Please let Peter Quillen fight GGG at MSG. MSG will be sold out.
You will get a nice cut out of Peter's gigantic purse for "advising" him to take this fight. The boxing world will be most appreciative. Peter will get respect for taking the fight. GGG will have a nice test in front of him. Win- Win for everyone.
You might even get some nice mentions on boxing websites.

Sincerely, Deepwater2

oubobcat says:

He is both. A rare gem that should be enjoyed while he is in his prime.

Dear Al (The Shadow) Haymon,

I hope this post gets to you where ever you are hiding. Please let Peter Quillen fight GGG at MSG. MSG will be sold out.
You will get a nice cut out of Peter's gigantic purse for "advising" him to take this fight. The boxing world will be most appreciative. Peter will get respect for taking the fight. GGG will have a nice test in front of him. Win- Win for everyone.
You might even get some nice mentions on boxing websites.

Sincerely, Deepwater2


We will find out a lot more about Golovkin on Saturday. I know Cotto is the lineal Middleweight Champion but take the belts/titles away and in my opinion Golovkin and Geale are the top two Middleweights at the moment. Despite the odds, Geale is a real test for Golovkin and a very live underdog in this fight. If Golovkin wins impressively, I will be convinced we have a special fighter on our hands.

Deep, I hate to say it but in no way, shape or form will Haymon put Quillin in with Golovkin. Haymon will get Quillin a big fight at some point but it will be against some other Middleweight (or someone coming up from Jr. Middleweight). Maybe Cotto down the line if Cotto keeps winning, maybe Canelo or maybe someone else not named Golovkin.

It went a little unnoticed this week but Haymon signed Middleweight Caleb Truax. Truax also fight tomorrow night on Friday Nigh Fights. If Truax wins, and he will be heavily favored, I think that is who you are looking at next for Quillin.

SamuraiSam says:

He is both. A rare gem that should be enjoyed while he is in his prime.

Dear Al (The Shadow) Haymon,

I hope this post gets to you where ever you are hiding. Please let Peter Quillen fight GGG at MSG. MSG will be sold out.
You will get a nice cut out of Peter's gigantic purse for "advising" him to take this fight. The boxing world will be most appreciative. Peter will get respect for taking the fight. GGG will have a nice test in front of him. Win- Win for everyone.
You might even get some nice mentions on boxing websites.

Sincerely, Deepwater2


Dear Al,

I second Deepwater2's motion. You will hear heartfelt & sincere "I WANT TO THANK AL HAYMON"s coming from the boxing world, from the true fans who witness great fights being made...instead of just hearing it as a propaganda punchline coming from your signed fighters and the "New Breed" fans, who are enlisted to building & perpetuating your agenda of getting your fighters the maximum paydays for the least amount of risk.

Yours truly,

SamuraiSam


P.S.-- We know Garcia will truly mean it when he THANKs YOU for giving him Salka. But wouldn't it give you greater satisfaction to hear it coming from grateful fans, instead of just a contractual propaganda punchline coming from the fighter?

Radam G says:

He is a bit of both. Holla!

Skibbz says:

I agree with Radam, he is a bit of both. Also put me down on that letter to Al, although I think Kid Chocolate would melt under the heat of the Kazakh's punches. He isn't that good Quillin in my opinion..

amayseng says:

GGG is both plus some.

The kid has ALL the tools to be special.

His path thus far is on point.

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