Scary Good: Gennady Golovkin Waits For A Challenge
“I was getting hit in the kidneys and the hips and I couldn’t feel my legs.” – Willie Monroe Jr.
There are two categories of great boxers: the ones good enough to hand-pick their opponents, and those who may be even better. Fighters in the latter group are avoided like the plague.
Kazakhstan’s Gennady Gennadyevich Golovkin, an undefeated 34-year-old known simply as Triple G, has breathtaking knockout power, boyish good looks, and just enough of a handle on the English language to come off like a Stephan Urquelle version of Borat.
The only thing he's missing is a worthy foe.
Each of the last 22 men to step into the ring with GGG were dispatched prematurely — more than half in the first nine minutes of their bout. Golovkin’s highlight reel is impressive if only for its sheer variance:
- Daniel Geale met the canvas even as he delivered a serious blow to Golovkin’s face
- Willie Monroe Jr. arose from a nine-count only to declare “I’m done.”
- Martin Murray was still on his way down as GGG raised the offending fist
- Matthew Macklin crumpled to the floor after a left hook ravaged his rib cage
- The corner man for tough-as-nails Gabriel Rosado threw in the towel as GGG bloodied his fighter to a cartoonish pulp
On Saturday night, the relatively untested Dominic Wade will almost certainly meet a similar fate. Like all of Golovkin’s previous opponents, Wade and his team are predicting an upset, touting a superior boxing ability that the public has yet to witness. “He’s gonna hit him with the right hand, the right hand hurts,” Wade representative Sam Watson said. “It’s gonna be the toughest fight Triple G ever had. You’ll see.”
Indeed we will.
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There are no gimmicks to Golovkin’s game, in or out of the ring. He is respectful of opponents in interviews, he trains in the mountains of California, and he has not changed his name to a currency. GGG is a fighter first, second, and third, and for that he has yet to capture the attention of the casual sports fan.
A matchup with one of the megastars in or around the middleweight division would change that. Defeating Mexico’s Canelo Alvarez or America’s Andre Ward would vault GGG to the top of most pound-for-pound lists and garner him mainstream notoriety. A knockout of the reviled Floyd Mayweather — should the two meet in the middle at 154 lbs. — and the Kazakhstani would be hailed as an American hero.
Yet none of these dream scenarios are on the horizon. Oscar de la Hoya, Canelo’s manager, seems intent on waiting at least a year to bring the two together. Ward is fleeing the middleweight division altogether, choosing instead a path that intersects with the nearly-as-terrifying Sergey Kovalev. And Floyd Mayweather? Well, to say he is risk-averse is putting it mildly.
And so the 34-year-old GGG is left to vanquish a slow drip of lesser men, keeping boredom at bay by letting some of them hang around until the middle rounds. He is a fighter in the game of boxing, begging for the biggest names in the sport to answer his call:
“Guys, let’s go. Who is number one right now? Bring him. I show you.” |ES|
Header image: Getty