Gennady Golovkin probably banished any remaining skeptics Saturday on HBO with a one-sided beating of a man who wasn’t so long ago viewed as one of the middleweight division’s future beasts, Grzegorz Proksa. Proksa fought about as well as he could’ve but couldn’t contend with Golovkin’s power, sturdiness and timing. Golovkin simply out-beasted him.
The Kazakh was making his United States pro debut after attaining cult status as a gym legend, but as good as his amateur resume was, his professional resume was thin, and had a ding on it. Proksa was a fighter who had shown his own promise, with power and speed that might’ve troubled Golovkin. Not at all.
That ding on Golovkin’s record was a harder-than-expected outing against a faded, blown-up Kassim Ouma. But if Proksa’s similar speed to Ouma’s, greater power and greater size on paper could have bothered Golovkin, in reality it was almost a mismatch. And Proksa didn’t come to lay down. He went down swinging. But he went down, again and again.
It started in the 1st, with a heavy combination downing Proksa in a round where the two men otherwise felt each other out. It was a bad omen — Proksa needed to win the early rounds to have a chance, and there he was, on the canvas instead. Proksa didn’t seem especially badly hurt, but nor did he seem like he had just suffered a flash knockdown. It was something worse.
Proksa didn’t come out skittish in the 2nd, and might nearly have won it, except it was pretty obvious who was doing more damage with his punches, and it wasn’t the Pole. Proksa’s punches bounced harmlessly off Golovkin. The Kazakh was finding the awkward Proksa and cornering him against the ropes frequently, and once there no amount of Proksa’s crafty upper body movement or reflexes could prevent every single punch from landing — some of it was getting through, and none of it was pleasant.
In the 3rd, Proksa again came out aggressively, and won the first half of the round. But Golovkin’s predatorial demeanor never wavered, and by the 3rd he was back to beating up Proksa. By now, it was clear that Golovkin was going to knock out Proksa, one round or another. It was just a cold fact of nature.
Another brutal combination in the 4th that put Proksa down was the beginning of the end, and between rounds, with blood drooling down his nose toward his lip, Proksa’s eyes weren’t all there. In the 5th, Proksa decided if he was going to go down, it wouldn’t be without a fight, opting to trade with a heavier puncher in a display of commendable machismo. Yet he was outgunned, and that’s all there was to it. Another two-fisted assault dropped Proksa for the final time, and although Proksa somehow got back up, it was clear he was finished and the referee saved him from additional punishment. Proksa demonstrated his worth with a fearless performance, but Golvokin was that much more fearsome.
Just on pure competitive merit and appealing destructiveness, Golovkin deserves a fight with one of the best men in the division, that being the winner of Sept. 15’s bout between lineal champ Sergio Martinez and division money man Julio Cesar Chavez, Jr. What HBO was doing in airing Golovkin at all remains mysterious, and the tepid crowd Saturday in Verona, N.Y., though expected, doesn’t exactly argue for Golovkin deserving a shot from a business case. But maybe that will change after Saturday. This cult star isn’t perfect, and he beat an up-and-comer rather than an established top contender, but he’s very dangerous, and he might just be ready to break into the mainstream.
(Patrick Connor recapped the HBO undercard bout below. Check it out.)