Let’s be honest, he looked terrific…though his opponent was very limited but did, however, really try and do everything in his power to compete and make it hard for him to score his 27th career stoppage in 30 professional fights.
Yes, I'm talking about WBA middleweight title holder Gennady Golovkin's third round stoppage over challenger Daniel Geale 30-3 (16) this past weekend at Madison Square Garden. If Geale really is one of the top three middleweights in the world, the gulf between Golovkin and the other two is wider than the length of the George Washington Bridge connecting New York and New Jersey.
Golovkin 30-0 (27) barely broke a sweat against Geale. He did whatever he wanted from the onset of the bout and had Geale fighting to survive and in retreat for the 8:47 that the bout lasted. The end came swiftly and suddenly in the third round a split second after Geale landed his best punch of the fight, a right cross to the temple, and then was countered immediately by a Golovkin right to face. The punched dropped Geale, who beat the 10 count but was in no position to continue and the fight was correctly stopped.
It's amazing how the very second that Geale landed his best punch of the fight, Golovkin not only wasn't hurt by it, but maintained his footing and cut loose with his own right that ended the bout. Two things are rare about that sequence and are seldom seen. Firstly, Golovkin wasn't moved at all physically by the impact of Geale's right hand. No, Geale isn't close to being any kind of a puncher, actually, he's a below average puncher. But it was a money shot and he had his weight into it and it didn't move Gennady a bit. Which tells you Triple G is very strong. The other impressive thing about the ending was how Golovkin was able to get off such a quick counter with not everything on it and was still able to finish a solid fighter who had never been stopped before as a professional.
Think about this. Golovkin starts out throwing his right hand somewhat blindly, basically just reacting automatically to having gotten nailed. Halfway through the punch, he opens his eyes, hones in on where he wants the already on its way punch to go, and pinpoints its landing perfectly. End of fight. Amazing.
Unlike some other writers and fans I'm not about to declare Golovkin an all-time great, yet. And that's basically because I'm about who a fighter beat and knocked out, not just how many. What Gennady has exhibited to this point is really something, but fighters are ranked on who they beat. Everybody kills Vitali and Wladimir Klitschko saying they haven't fought anybody. And to a degree that's true. However, that also gets old and rings hollow. I don't care what era we're talking about, when the alpha fighter in the division keeps beating all the top contenders with relative ease every time out, he's got something going on. The heavyweight division that Vitali and Wladimir Klitschko dominated and continue to dominate is about as pedestrian and ordinary as the middleweight division that Golovkin is starting to cause havoc in. If that's not the case than why does he have to look at a former junior welterweight (Miguel Cotto), a welterweight (Floyd Mayweather), a junior middleweight (Saul Alvarez) and a super middleweight (Andre Ward), for a challenge and big fight? Because the middleweight division is experiencing one of its most severe droughts in its existence. Daniel Geale is a good fighter, but ask yourself if he'd be a legitimate belt holder in any other middleweight era.
Golovkin has the makings of a special fighter and perhaps even a great one. He does what he's supposed to do when confronted by middle of the road opposition. He gets rid of them relatively fast and makes it easy for all to see the disparity in ability and power separating him from the pack. I love his calmness and confidence. You can see that he's so confident in his power and just knows that once he touches you good, he's going to hurt you and your thoughts will go from trying to win to trying to last and survive. He pressures in a way that makes you constantly use your legs and feet, which of course is very taxing physically if you're the fighter he's coming after. But more than that he cuts off the ring and he also makes you use your hands and forces his opponents, at least to this point, to punch at him under duress. And that accomplishes two important things. It makes his opponent rush their punches so they can occupy and hopefully slow him down, only they can't get everything on their shots because they're rushed and being forced back. Secondly, punching at Golovkin opens them up better for him to rip his lefts and rights in to a more open target.
Gennady was very impressive against Geale, who was undone by all the physicality and aptitude that Golovkin brings to the ring as a fighter. Geale tried to move and box, and that didn't work. He tried to attack from odd angles, seeking a weakness, and there wasn't one. He tried to hold his ground and hit Golovkin with a fight altering shot and that ultimately got him stopped. Geale did everything a fighter could do to try and defeat a more physically skilled and superior fighter and it wasn't enough. This is a situation that more than likely the rest of the top contenders in the middleweight division will find themselves in when they face him. If there's a middleweight out there today who has something to challenge Golovkin with, I haven't seen him.
In short, today's middleweight division is very shallow and Golovkin is marching through it like a potentially great fighter should.
Frank Lotierzo can be contacted at GlovedFist@Gmail.com