Weekend Afterthoughts, Featuring What’s Next For Gennady Golovkin, CompuStroke For Andre Ward, More

It's easy to be overshadowed by Gennady Golovkin, unless you, too, are 160 pounds worth of walking drone strike. Don't overlook this fight between featherweights Daniel Diaz and Robert Marroquin, though, which aired on Solo Boxeo. It starts with Marroquin going down twice in the 1st round and messing up his knee, only for him to brawl his way back into the thick of it. Diaz got the split decision. We got a show. It was a better one, too, than Anthony Crolla-Gavin Rees, which I read some very enthusiastic reviews of, but our man Andrew Harrison gave its appropriate due.

Andrew wrote up another show, and so did I. This is for the material that fell through the cracks or came to light since then — the things in the headlines, what's up with The Fight Game, what's up next with Brandon Gonzales, what happened on Friday Night Fights. And not much more, honestly.

  • Gennady Golovkin-Matthew Macklin. Golovkin is breaking people, literally. Promoter Lou DiBella said on Twitter that Macklin — Golovkin's toughest opponent to date — walked away with a cracked rib. And for Golovkin, it was, in his words, a "regular fight." He now is without question the best of both worlds in boxing: excellent, and exciting. The Transnational Boxing Rankings Board put him at #1 in the middleweight ratings, although there was some debate about whether he should replace Daniel Geale there. But even if you have him at #2, it's hard to ignore how he's become everything you could want in a boxer. His power is so enormous that Macklin was in survival mode midway thorugh the 1st round; clearly panicked, Macklin virtually ignored the between-rounds advice of trainer Buddy McGirt to move to his right in the 2nd. The outside-the-ring stuff for Golovkin is still coming. He's got a nice smile, and he's that rare smiling assassin as opposed to someone who embraces the intimidating imagery of a Mike Tyson on Sonny Liston. When Macklin spent one long stretch looking down at the canvas where there was too much water, Golovkin didn't take advantage even though he could've, so he could win over fans with his sportsmanship. His broken English has a kind of charm, but he's got a ways to go as someone whose story — and how he tells it — really rings loudly. Yet he appears to be catching on: After some lackluster numbers in his first two appearances on HBO, he seemed this weekend to get into the ballpark of the HBO average at 1.1 million viewers (keeping in mind that apples to apples comparisons of rankings have been hard to come by lately). I haven't declared a winner in the HBO and Showtime war, a battle being fought on pretty even terms overall, by my eye. But Golovkin is a mighty powerful chess piece in that war right now for HBO.
  • Next for Golovkin. The middleweight man beast will be back on HBO in November, and might fight again before then off-TV. That is a busy schedule and it won't hurt Golovkin's profile at all, which is why I can put up with a mismatch or two thrown in there. Now that I think of it, every Golovkin fight at 160 is a mismatch. DiBella pretty quicky threw cold water on the idea of his man, middleweight champ Sergio Martinez, facing Golovkin, and that's him thinking like a promoter watching out for a 38-year-old with loads of injury woes who's slowing down and probably won't be fighting many more times in his career. Martinez, he thinks like a fighter — he sent word through DiBella that Martinez wants to take on Golovkin because he takes on all the top challenges. The middle ground is that DiBella won't let it happen right away when Martinez returns next spring, and I bet he'll look to put it off for as long as he can. That leaves Golovkin's immediate opposition a complete mystery. Peter Quillin, a fitting match on paper, is fighting on Showtime, so forget that. Daniel Geale-Darren Barker is in August, so maybe the winner of that bout will be ready by November. Golovkin has thrown out the name "Floyd Mayweather" as a goal — wishful thinking, not that there's anything wrong with ambition. Another name he mentioned, Julio Cesar Chavez, Jr., is steering in a different direction, the name of the next man we'll discuss.
  • Andre Ward-centric HBO commentary. With apologies to @TodoCorazon17 and @ubox59 on Twitter, I sort of stole their idea for a CompuStroke count of Ward compliments on HBO Saturday. Final tally: Nine. It's not as bad as it felt at the time, yet it also makes one wonder if <9 would've sufficed. Max Kellerman accounted for five, in five straight rounds during Brandon Gonzales and Thomas Ooosthuizen. That unrelenting, uninterrupted praise (mostly, comparing Gonzales to Ward) helped make it feel like HBO wouldn't shut up about how great the super middleweight champion was. Jim Lampley accounted for three, although unlike Kellerman two of the compliments were for Ward's commentary rather than what he does in the ring. And Ward himself accounted for one self-compliment, where he agreed with a Kellerman compliment of Gonzales that was centered on how much like a lesser version of Ward Gonzales was. There was plenty of other talk about Ward — he was asked often about Virgil Hunter, who trains both Gonzales and Ward — that was, separately, perfectly acceptable, but when paired with the other stuff exacerbated the effect. I say this as an admirer of Lampley, Kellerman and Ward as commentators, by the way. In fact, in the Wardcompliment-free zone in the opening bout, the team was really humming. The Ward strokes simply got old and distracting, and especially inflamed those who don't like Ward as a fighter (I happen to like him). That trio would be wise to go into the next broadcast with a less Ward-centric approach, lest they turn away those more open-minded to Ward, who himself is an important chess piece in the HBO-Showtime war.
  • Next for Gonzales and Oosthuizen. The drawing super middleweights need to go back to the drawing board, I said Saturday, which wasn't meant to be a pun. They're drawing up future plans (OK, that one was meant to be obnoxious). Oos' involve Mikkel Kessler, not a bad fight if Kessler doesn't rematch Carl Froch. Also probably not a good idea for Oos' development. Gonzales, meanwhile, promoted by Goossen-Tutor and trained by Hunter and managed by James Prince like Ward, looks all mixed up in that mysterious Goossen-Prince/Ward feud shit himself.
  • The Fight Game. While some think HBO's studio show is all bad, the broad consensus seems to be that The Fight Game is uneven — which happens to be my view. It's definitely valuable and worth doing, maybe even worth doing more often. In the most recent episode, Lampley did a solid job interrogating Ward on some hot button issues like his promotional status, perhaps unnecessary given how much Ward we got in the broadcast but also a welcome relief from the kid gloves he got before. The segment with SI's Chris Mannix also was solid, aided in part by him being any kind of outside voice so as to offset an otherwise incestuous episode (Lamps, Kellerman, Ward all talking to each other again) and also by the fair way in which they discussed the rival product on Showtime. The Lamps-Kellerman list debate went a bit too long, but the Lamps editorial at the end about the trash-talking for Adrien Broner vs. Paulie Malignaggi was mostly dead on, even if the last part about Jessica Corazon pointed too much of the blame at a woman who MIGHT have wanted 15 minutes of fame but within the context of the promotion was more a pawn and subject of attack and scrutiny beyond the two men who were talking about her.
  • Friday Night Fights. Middleweight Sergio Mora got back in the win column against Grzegorz Proksa with a deserved decision victory on ESPN2. Mora's professed decision to take more risks because his phone stopped ringing for fights might be slightly revisionist; he took more risks against Brian Vera, too, I thought, and maybe he has slowed to the point where he has to. With a fan-friendlier style and a "name," he could be in the mix for a big fight sooner than later. Proksa didn't seem to have any steam on his punches and got rocked a few times by a light-hitting opponent, so it's worth wondering whether Golovkin bashed some of Proksa's boxing life out of him when they met. On the undercard, junior middleweight Patrick Teixeira's gaudy knockout record demonstrated some inflation against Marcus Willis in a decision win, rather than outright illusion. It was an enjoyable enough scrap, if not a bit club fight-ish. Todd Grisham also filled in admirably for Joe Tessitore calling the fight ringside for ESPN2, and I'm not saying that because of how his self-deprecating Twitter presence has won over so many fans who had criticized his in-studio role. I genuinely think he might be better ringside than as studio host.

About Tim Starks

Tim is the founder of The Queensberry Rules and co-founder of The Transnational Boxing Rankings Board (http://www.tbrb.org). He lives in Washington, D.C. He has written for the Guardian, Economist, New Republic, Chicago Tribune and more.