There simply aren’t enough superlatives left for what kind of knockout puncher Gennady Golovkin is — even fighters expected to last longer than usual (and nobody thinks anybody at middleweight lasts all that long), like Marco Antonio Rubio, go down early. Golovkin took just two rounds on HBO Saturday to get rid of the resilient contender, about what it usually takes for him to get rid of anyone these days.
There’s almost no surer thing in boxing than Golokvin by KO; perhaps only Floyd Mayweather by unanimous decision is as obvious. Rubio came in nearly two pounds overweight, in the tradition of Robert Garcia’s perennial fat camp, as his boxers tend to come in over the limit and stay there, making no effort to get below it. Yet whatever theoretical advantage that might have been conveyed by that extra weight, it made no difference.
Rubio took the rare tact of trying to step into Golovkin (GGG) and put it to him. It’s an approach that could work for someone one day — to back GGG up, to make him contend with the offense of others rather than dealing with people trying to run away from his power — but that didn’t work here. Rubio managed to make it moderately competitive through one round by GGG opponent standards, not that he won it over even close, only that he wasn’t getting blown out.
By the 2nd round, Rubio was trapped against the ropes, so so much for that. Probing for openings, GGG found one in an over-arcing left hand that found its mark on the top of Rubio’s head, and Rubio, at first, was reluctant or unable to rise. He started to get up at around the count of nine, and was on his feet at 10, but not especially convincingly. The ref saved him more punishment by waving it off.
In and of itself, it wasn’t much of a win; GGG was a massive favorite against a fighter at the periphery of the division’s top 10. But that GGG did this against a guy who is so particularly able to withstand punishment, even a guy who might not have trained at maximum capacity to make 160 (or perhaps a guy who had an advantage for not having done so), speaks to what kind of mythical creature we’re dealing with here.
Golovkin said afterward he wanted Miguel Cotto, the champion in the division, and it’s a reasonable request. Cotto is talking about facing Canelo Alvarez, and Top Rank’s Bob Arum said he’s amenable to the winner facing Golovkin. We’ll see how true that is when and if Cotto-Canelo comes through. If not, GGG might just have to suck it up and move to 168, however anathema that is, because Golovkin can fight guys like Rubio for a while before anyone gets sick of it and insists he takes on a real challenge. It’s hard to tell how long it will take before people get sick of watching GGG massacre decent-to-excellent 160-pound fighters. Me: I’m not there yet. But I don’t know how much longer that will remain true.