Boxing

Gennady Golovkin: Where does he go now?

Curtis Steven feels the full force of Golovkin's awesome punching power (©GettyImages)
Curtis Steven feels the full force of Golovkin's awesome punching power (©GettyImages).

Gennady Golovkin, widely believed to be the best middleweight in world, again enhanced his burgeoning reputation in the boxing world with his 15th straight knockout as Curtis Stevens retired on his stool in the eighth round of their world title fight last Saturday night at Madison Square Garden, New York, USA.

The 31-year-old Kazakh, who has a knockout percentage of 89% - the highest in middleweight history and most prolific among any active fighter in the sport - once again gave a ruthlessly efficient display, stalking his prey relentlessly in a performance that probably had enough power and poise to put away any 160lb fighter on the planet.

The caveat of his devastating form though, is that there are no opponents of any real merit in the middleweight division who are prepared to put it all on the line against him. He could potentially target the winner of Darren Barker vs Felix Strum, who fight on December 7th for Barker’s IBF strap. But again, it is highly debatable whether either man would relish the prospect of trying to tame ‘Triple G’.

He would be best to right now abandon his ambition of fighting the long-time 160lb lineal champion, Sergio Martinez. There is absolutely no chance the ageing and injury prone Argentine will risk his WBC title or his reputation against Golovkin when he is being primed to face fan favourites Miguel Cotto and/or Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez in 2014 in what would both be P-P-V smash hits, securing him career high pay days in the process.

To any boxer from 154-160lb - including Floyd Mayweather Jnr - Golovkin, who is a relative unknown to casual boxing fans after only making four appearances in front of American audiences, is the last fighter they want to face as he is the highest risk, yet least lucrative pugilist in the pound-for-pound rankings.

Boxing is a business, where financial profit and politics pack the most powerful punch of all. The brutality of combat sports, which can threaten an athlete’s mortality at the top level, dictates that elite fighters can justifiably demand the biggest pay-cheque possible for the least potential for physical punishment.

And thus, I have grave fears that Golovkin will be prevented from fulfilling his potential as a prize fighter, unable to unify the middleweight division and win the host of world titles his talent deserves because he is simply too dangerous and cannot offer the sort of financial incentives the Cottos and Canelos, Mayweathers or Manny Pacquaios of this world can.

Another major problem he has is that he is already 31 years of age. It will take a marketing masterclass, and no small amount of time to promote his name to the masses and transform him from a much avoided, economical misfit-cum-knockout-machine to the popular P-P-V star who gives his opponents a licence to print money.

So Golovkin, who is often referred to as the ‘most avoided man in boxing’, is set to remain just that until he is inevitably forced to move up to the super middleweight division.

On the evidence of his performance last Saturday, however, I strongly suspect that, unlike the middleweights, the likes of Carl Froch and Andre Ward will be far more willing to enter the ring, and able to contend with boxing's new Knockout King.

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