A Somewhat Cynical Look at Gennady Gennadyevich Golovkin

(Jun 29, 2013; Mashantucket, CT, USA; Gennady Golovkin [blue trunks] celebrates his win over Matthew Macklin [green trunks] after their bout at Foxwoods Resort and Casino-MGM Grand Theatre. Golovkin won via 3rd round knockout. Credit: Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY)

I’m still not completely sold on Gennady Gennadyevich Golovkin, or GGG to his fans.

There is no doubt Golovkin, who in recent weeks has booked his next fight with Curtis Stevens for November, is a supreme talent and possibly the best middleweight in the world. But I just can’t seem to buy into the hype as yet. His spine-tingling, stomach-churning knockout of Mathew Macklin — apart from adding god knows how many years to Macklin’s liver, which usually could only come with years of dedicated hard drinking — still leaves some questions about Golovkin unanswered.

Macklin without a doubt was Golovkin’s premier win of his career and Macklin is a gritty fighter, a tough and solid boxer… but spectacular? No. That takes nothing away from him as a fighter and as a win for Golovkin. However, an early career loss to the unspectacular Jaime Moore tells us somewhat of Macklin;s pedigree. That was followed by the split points loss to Felix Sturm in what was a questionable decision, but a loss is still a loss, right?

This leads us to the Sergio Martinez fight where Macklin had some limited success before his trainer Buddy “I’m Going To Stop It” McGirt ended the fight for Macklin at the beginning of 12th round. In a gutsy performance which included knocking Martinez down in the 7th round, Macklin displayed grit but little else.

Division champon Martinez had shown that he is a fading commodity and that Macklin, a younger strong natural middleweight with a solid chin, couldn’t accomplish more in his 11 rounds thanfellow British boxer Martin Murray — who fought Martinez to a standstill and if not “robbed” of a win, was very unlucky not to get the “W” over Martinez.

This all leads back to Golovkin, the number one middleweight in the world — not yet the champ but pretty much considered the man to beat.

However, what has he done to deserve this? A closer look at his record shows a somewhat shallow resume even with his victory over Macklin. It includes wins against Kassim Ouma, once a contender but well past his prime now; Lajuan Simon, who had dropped a decision to Arthur Abraham and the less talented Abraham impersonator Sebastian Sylvester before his loss to Golovkin; Gregorz Proksa, a mid level middleweight at best. Golovkin scored a solid win against Gabriel Rosado, a performance that was enjoyable to watch, but was sadly a mismatch. Rosado, moving up from 154 pounds, did not have the power to worry Golovkin and the fight served as another HBO show case for Golovkin.

This was followed by a knockout victory over Nobuhiro Ishida in a stay-busy fight, followed by his premier win against Macklin.

So far Golovkin has answered all the questions posed to him in the ring, of that there is no doubt. However, the questions so far posed have been by boxers who have all been skillfully selected to make Golovkin look superb.

Golovkin is a power-punching machine that crashes ribs, splits skin and creates pain. The question boxing fans are waiting for is what will happen when he meets someone who can make him at least think about his defense. No fighter he has fought so far has had the power to trouble him. His defense is far from perfect, which makes for fun, fan-friendly fights. But what happens when his power shots are returned by a fighter that can take advantage of his lack of defence (and, at times, balance issues) as he comes charging in head first?

Golovkin is no doubt a good fighter; however, good fighters only become great fighters by facing fighters that can ask questions of them and in doing so test there ability. Golovkin has not yet fought such a foe. He has been matched to perfection and that is commendable but I am not going to jump on the bandwagon his promoters and management have created just yet. Promotors and managers are trained liars  –they are doing there job by creating “Golovkin” the brand, a nightmare from the Kazakh Steppe that will destroy all before him. To  these ends they foster myths where he knocks out heavweights in sparring and can jump tall buildings in a single bound. And if the HBO crew are to be believed, he is a humble human being who loves saving puppy dogs he finds at the side of the road.

Golovkin’s next fight is against the aforementioned Stevens. Stevens has gotten his shot at Golovkin of a spectacular KO of Saul Roman. But it was only Saul Roman, a long in the tooth, mid level middleweight whose prime was a long, long time ago. Stevens will serve as another show case for Golovkin. It is the fight after Stevens that fight fans will be waiting for. So far Golvokin’s career has been a success. Only time will tell if he can live up to his promise and the plaudits that have been showered upon him.

Here are five fighters that would give Golovkin trouble at least on paper:

Peter Qullin —  Quillin is a talented middleweight emerging as the consensus pick for who could challenge Golovkin the most at 160. Quillin has power in both hands with a style which could create difficulties for GGG.

Darren Barker — The Classy Brit seems to have raised his game since his loss to Martinez and would be a step up for Golovkin.

Martin Murray — Off his performance against Martinez, he deserves to be considered a true contender.

Carl Froch — Perhaps a Froch bout can be made sometime in the future if Golovkin moves up to 168. Froch’s chin and overall awkwardness could make Golovkin really work and possibly bring out the best in GGG.

Andre Ward — If they both keep on winning in their respective divisions, HBO will surely push hard for this fight between Golovkin and the super middleweight champ. It could shape up as an epic match of conflicting styles.

Ayres-Wearne is a one-time musician, personal trainer and boxer who still can’t seem to shake the hold boxing has on him, no matter how hard he tries.