Gennady Golovkin’s first night in the big room at Madison Square Garden could not have gone any better. Daniel Geale came into Saturday night only one year removed from being a world champion, and was touted as the stiffest test thus far for the still unbeaten Golovkin, (30-0, 27 KOs). The 33-year-old Geale however, would prove to be completely overmatched against the phenom from Kazakhstan.
Similar to Mike Tyson in the 1980s, Golovkin has been somewhat saddled with the impractical expectation each time out he fights that he scores not only a knockout, but a spectacular one that makes the highlight reels. And just like Mike Tyson typically did in the 80s, Golovkin found a way to deliver on the high expectations thrust upon him.
Golovkin entered the ring just a few months removed from the death of his father, and the disappointment of seeing a fight with Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. worth millions fell apart. Heading into the fight, Golovkin himself admitted that his mind was not at peace when he entered training camp in Big Bear, California with trainer Abel Sanchez. Nevertheless, through three rounds of domination, Golovkin was completely focused at the task at hand.
The man known simply as “GGG” would let neither the unfortunate events of the past few months, nor the pressure of needing a spectacular knockout, stop him from delivering a brutally beautiful demonstration of precise power punching. Daniel Geale attempted to employ a logical strategy of using lateral movement while delivering quick punches to keep Golovkin off of his rhythm, and unable to set his feet to use his power. It worked for about two minutes as Golovkin was warming up in round one, but as soon as Golovkin turned up the heat Geale would have no answers.
After a decent first round for Geale, Golovkin swarmed him to open up round two and sent him to the canvas with a barrage of punches. Geale would survive the round, but was already looking like he had gone through six or seven rounds after only two. Then after two minutes into the third, Golovkin delivered an overhand right that would end the night. Just as Geale knocked the head of Golovkin back with his own right hand, Golovkin took the punch and still managed to pivot his right foot and get full leverage on a crunching overhand right. Daniel Geale would beat the count and rise to his feet, but he was now bleeding from a cut over his eye. Referee Mike Ortega decided to make the right call and save Geale from taking anymore of Golovkin’s thunderous punches.
The third round TKO victory for Golovkin marks his sixteenth consecutive knockout victory. Geale became the 10th KO victim during the streak to go in three rounds or less.
Every couple of years there are fighters that come around with KO percentages comparable to Golovkin’s. Not too long ago in Golovkin’s weight division, there were two heavy hitters in Kelly Pavlik and Edison Miranda. Both of them were feared punchers, and in Pavlik’s case his record was nearly identical to Golovkin’s after his first thirty professional fights. Pavlik scored 26 KO’s in his first 30 victories, only one less KO than Golovkin through his first thirty fights. Pavlik would go on to win the universally recognized middleweight world championship, the crown Golovkin is currently chasing after. But neither Pavlik, Miranda, or any other middleweight since the turn of the millennium have carried the kind of power Gennady Golovkin carries in his fists.
To find the last middleweight who punched like Golovkin, you would have to go back to the late 80s and early 90s when “The Hawk” Julian Jackson was around. Jackson finished his career with 49 knockouts in 55 victories, and was a world champion at middleweight from 1990 to 1992, and again in 1995.
It was a great night for Golovkin and an important step towards becoming a star prizefighter in the United States, but if he wants to be known as more than an incredible puncher he will have to step up in competition. It may not be easy for Golovkin to get the recognized champion of the division, Miguel Cotto, or any of the other marquee fighters in the ring with him. But he did exactly what he needed to do to help himself secure a fight with one of the big names in the sport. With this performance, it has become more undeniable now than ever that Golovkin deserves his chance to be on the big stage. The demand for that to happen is at an all time high.