Tomorrow night in New York City, the man believed to be the hardest puncher pound for pound in the sport, Gennady Golovkin, will look to continue his ascension towards atop the middleweight division. This marks the third time in two years that Golovkin (29-0, 26 KOs), will be defending his WBA middleweight world title inside of the world’s most famous Madison Square Garden. The man standing in the way of stardom for Golovkin looks to be his stiffest challenger yet, former IBF middleweight world champion, Daniel Geale (30-2, 16 KOs). Geale will have the distinction as being the first fighter that Golovkin has ever faced to have held a world title in the middleweight division.
Despite being one of the most talked about and beloved fighters in Boxing by the purists of the sport, Golovkin has yet to capture mainstream status. This is largely due to the fact that Golovkin has not been able to secure a bout with any of the Pay-Per-View caliber fighters in or around his division. Back in April of this year, that problem looked to finally be resolved for Golovkin. A fight with Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. was all but signed, sealed and delivered for July 19th in Los Angeles. It was a fight that oozed Fight of The Year potential, and would serve as the big stage for Golovkin to finally show his abilities to the world. Unfortunately for Golovkin (and all of us), Chavez Jr could never fully agree to terms for the bout. Boxing missed out on one of the best match ups in the sport, and Golovkin saw his big opportunity vanish.
Shortly after the fight with Chavez Jr disintegrated, Andy Lee was originally announced as Golovkin’s next opponent. When that was announced, the Boxing world let out a collective groan. Lee has been a solid fighter at middleweight for several years now, but the Irishman would have been little more than a sacrificial lamb for Golovkin. Golovkin and his team must have heard that collective groan given out by fans, as Lee would not turn out to be the opponent. Instead, Daniel Geale got the call to face the man no one seems to want to fight. Even though Geale will head into Saturday night a huge underdog, he is without a question an upgrade from Andy Lee, and most of the opponents Golovkin has faced thus far. There was nothing to gain in potentially decapitating Andy Lee. A dominant performance against Daniel Geale however, would help further solidify Golovkin as a force to be reckoned with.
At 32 years old there is little time to waste for Golovkin, he must make his move now. In order for Golovkin to face Miguel Cotto, Canelo Alvarez, or Andre Ward he will have to continue to do exactly what he has been doing since showing up on HBO: score highlight reel knockouts. That may be a slippery slope, since asking a fighter to press for a KO can lead to the fighter taking unnecessary punishment. Like when Timothy Bradley almost got himself knocked out trying to prove a point against Ruslan Provodnikov last year. Unlike Bradley however, Golovkin does not have to press for the knockout in order to score one. Golovkin’s knockouts have come from him methodically breaking his man down and letting his power do the rest. Against Geale, Golovkin should look to do no different.
Geale should not be hard to find, as the tough Australian comes to fight. Ultimately though, that should work to his detriment and to Golovkin’s advantage. This is why Golovkin should not press for the KO tomorrow night, the style in which Geale fights in should give Golovkin the opportunities he needs to score the stoppage he will be looking for.
If Golovkin does flatten Geale tomorrow night, it will be his sixteenth consecutive knockout victory. Here are some numbers behind Golovkin’s 15 fight KO streak: 9 of the 15 KO’s came within the first three rounds. Of the 15 KO victims, only one of them went beyond the 8th (Kassim Ouma). 10 of the 15 KO’s scored were world title defenses. Not bad.
If Gennady Golovkin can continue to dispatch his opponents in the manner he has been doing, it will soon be a matter of when, not if, will he get the opportunity he and his supporters are waiting for. You can only score vicious knockouts while headlining nationally televised HBO cards for so long until the masses take notice of you. Until then, Gennady Golovkin can only continue to do what he has already been doing.