If one were to have asked this publication a year ago: “Does Gennady Golovkin have star potential?” Your answer would have been something cliche along the lines of “Oh Golovkin? Yeah the guy can punch, but whose he fought? He’s already at 30 years of age and only has 24 professional fights to his name. Besides, those were opponents spoon-fed to him over seas.”
Well it’s hard to play devil’s advocate when it comes to Golovkin’s (24-0, 21 KOs) professional dossier. His accomplishments in the amateurs however, are something to behold. In the amateurs, Golovkin not only captured the Silver Medal in the 2004 Olympics for his native Kazakhstan, he also thwarted former world champion Lucian Bute via knockout and decisively beat both Andy Lee and top flight super middleweight Andre Dirrell. Sometimes the amateurs bare no real significance on the professional ranks. Sometimes they indeed do, just ask Shane Mosley.
When Mosley was fresh off a victory over Oscar De La Hoya back in the beginning part of the decade, he looked to be invincible as the sports’ reigning no.1 pound for pound fighter. That was until he ran into amateur rival, Vernon Forrest. Forrest had not garnered the kind of praise and fame Mosley had acquired, but Forrest had upended “Sugar” Shane before either man joined the professional ranks. When the two met, history repeated itself. Twice.
The point being: Golovkin’s impressive achievements in the amateurs should be noted and in some ways make up for his lack of accomplishments in the pros when assessing whether or not he can become a premier pugilist. Particularly in Golovkin’s case, the style he fights in is tailored for the pros much better than most fighters who stick around the amateur ranks well into their 20s.
As stated before, Golovkin has yet to have faced any top flight fighters in the middleweight division. In his previous bout, he fought a good fighter in Grzegorz Proska, and did what an elite fighter is suppose to do. Golovkin stopped Proska in less than six rounds, sending him to the canvas multiple times. It was an eye opener for those who had yet to see the heavy handed Kazakhstani. In that bout, Golovkin passed the “Eye test.” Meaning whenever viewing a fighter you feel the sense that even if said fighter was in against stiffer competition he’d still look quite formidable. Something similar to when Mike Tyson was scoring highlight reel knockout victories against over matched opposition. The eye test isn’t enough though, indeed we’ll all need to see if Golovkin can look as dynamite in the ring against a foe whose on his wavelength. And Golovkin happens to be in luck, there are plenty of mountains he can attempt to climb from Junior Middleweight all the way up to possibly Super Middleweight.
At junior Middleweight, Canelo Alvarez looms as a possible combatant in what would make for a terrific pairing of styles. At Middleweight, this site will go out on a limb and say that regardless of Golovkin having yet to have proven it, he is without a doubt the toughest challenge champion Sergio Martinez has on his radar as of today. It’s doubtful Alvarez or Martinez would face off against Golovkin at this juncture of his career. For both Alvarez and Martinez it’d be a case of too high a risk, and too low a reward.
In the mean time, an ideal fight that would both bolster Golovkin’s notoriety in the United States, and make for one helluva scrap would be a match up between Julio Cesar Chavez Jr and Gennady Golovkin. It would be a perfect cross roads fight. The criticisms on Golovkin once again goes as follows: He’s not some 21 year old prospect, he’s already 30. He hasn’t fought top tier competition, so what has he done to deserve the type of buzz he’s receiving? For Chavez, he received quite a bit of ridicule for his supposed lack of dedication to his profession. Some even claimed that Chavez Jr simply thought by virtue of being the son of legendary Mexican boxing legend, Julio Cesar Chavez Sr, that he himself was already established as being a great fighter. Numerous reports along with footage from HBO’s 24/7 led many to believe Chavez Jr’s work ethic was subpar. Perhaps if the two hard hitting middleweights were to meet it’d give the division a clear cut number one contender to the championship Sergio Martinez is holding.
As of right now, Golovkin has a bout scheduled that will be shown on HBO, January 19th, on the under card of a Featherweight championship bout between Orlando Salido and Mikey Garcia. Golovkin’s scheduled opponent looks to be over matched, and is probably being brought in to showcase the talents of Golovkin on a nationally televised stage. His combatant is Gabriel Rosado (21-5, 13 KOs). With all due respect to Rosado, because all fighters deserve such, putting your money on him to upend Golovkin would be lets just say foolish.
It is disappointing however, that Golovkin isn’t taking advantage of the momentum he gained by annihilating Proksa last September. Why would Golovkin take a step backwards in opposition? Perhaps the thought process is that he can have one more showcase bout on HBO and then have the worlds’ best summoned against him. One thing is for sure: One of the burning questions in the sport is, is Gennady Golovkin boxing’s best kept secret, or soon to be superstar? Will he come across overseas and become a sensation like Manny Pacquiao? Or will he be more hype like Prince Naseem Hamed? Only time can tell.