Boxing pundits often refer to fighters as being on ‘levels’. Floyd Mayweather, for example, appears to be on another one entirely. WBA Middleweight Champion Gennady Golovkin is now seemingly a level above everyone else in his division.
Golovkin’s pedigree cannot be understated. An outstanding amateur, his career in the unpaid ranks encapsulated a mere five defeats in 350 outings. A 2003 World Amateur Boxing champion and 2004 Olympic Silver medallist, he defeated fighters such as Andy Lee, Andre Dirrell and Lucian Bute, the subject of a Carl Froch demolition back in 2012.
The Olympics still remains a sore point for the man from Kazakhstan. Having demolished all opponents on his way to the final, Golovkin lost a lopsided decision to Gaydarbek Gaydarbekov, believing the decision was “political” as his home nation already had one gold medal.
Soon after the Olympics disappointment Golovkin’s professional career got underway, starting as he meant to go on by taking out unheralded Gabor Balogh in 88 seconds. Despite a brief spell of unanimous decision wins around 2008, his last 15 wins have all come by way of stoppage.
A KO ratio of 89.29 percent is impressive enough standing alone, yet even more credible when you consider the level of opposition in the last 14 months. Well respected Pole Grzegorz Proksa was knocked down three times in five rounds; Gabriel Rosado was beaten into submission before his corner threw the towel in and Matthew Macklin, a highly rated challenger who pushed then WBA champion Felix Sturm and Sergio Martinez close, was sunk to the canvas by a cruel left hook to the body.
Golovkin’s latest challenger, Curtis ‘Showtime’ Stevens, was heralded as a big puncher and a different proposition to previous opponents, having campaigned for most of his career at super middleweight. In spite of this and the crude Twitter outbursts aimed at unsettling Golovkin, Stevens was put down in the second and withdrew after round eight; the WBA champion displaying a full range of shots and an ability to cut the ring off effectively.
Promoter Thomas Loeffler has already indicated ‘GGG’ will fight in Monte Carlo on February 1 next year, though no challenger has been named as yet. So what is left at 160lbs?
The only person keeping Golovkin relevant at middleweight is Argentine legend Sergio Martinez. ‘Maravilla’ has been hindered by injuries as his career reaches its twilight; a right knee injury, broken left hand and badly cut eye suffered against Martin Murray in April mean he has not fought since.
Career suicide would be committed if Martinez accepted a unification battle with the Kazakh. His victory against Murray was far from convincing and Golovkin’s punch power would all but finish the Argentine’s career. Besides this, it would be ludicrous to think Martinez would take this as a first bout after injury, meaning a likely wait until late 2014 in which time Golovkin could be making inroads at super welterweight.
A fight with Julio Cesar Chavez Jr could also have been viable until the heavily-publicised weight issues forced the Mexican to move up to the super middleweight mix.
The options below 160lbs are endless and given he is with K2 Promotions, he will not be stuck in the promotional cold war operating between Golden Boy and Top Rank. However, as Golovkin is currently fighting on HBO in America, it would be no surprise should he fail to fight any of the Golden Boy stable.
The biggest prize of them all remains a free agent.
Despite signing a six fight deal with Showtime, a rival of HBO in America, the man from Karagandy would surely jump at the chance to jump in with Mayweather. A recent poll by RingTV showed 23.9 percent of fans are in favour of the bout, ahead of 21.9 percent wanting ‘Money’ to face Martinez.
Unfortunately for Golovkin, fights with the pound-for-pound king are made on his terms and he is unlikely to even accept a catchweight fight, though ‘GGG’ has already stated he would move down to the 154lb limit.
Miguel Cotto or Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez, widely tipped to be fighting one another in early 2014, could be another option as they rebuild after respective losses to Mayweather. While Golovkin is out early in 2014, he could potentially work on getting down to the weight limit and set up a fight with the winner of that bout for late 2014, again box office material and a real 50/50 fight.
Any of Top Rank’s welterweight fighters, though possibly requiring a catchweight agreement to fight the Kazakh, would constitute a box office hit and enormous payday. Manny Pacquiao, Juan Manuel Marquez and Tim Bradley would all be possibilities, though the bout would most likely interest the latter.
A pound-for-pound top five contender, the American has struggled to garner public interest after his controversial split decision victory over Pacquiao, despite the war against Ruslan Provodnikov and clinical performance against Mexican supremo Marquez.
Having disposed of his fellow Top Rank fighters, Bradley is left with little options if he fails to fight Mayweather. A unification rematch with the ‘Siberian Rocky’ is a fight global boxing fans would love to see, though a win over Golovkin could arguably catapult him to the same level as Floyd.
If Golovkin could eventually work his way down to 147lbs, he would mix in the strongest division boxing has to offer: Adrian Broner, Amir Khan, Devon Alexander and Kell Brook are all fights that would demand enormous public and media attention.
The question remains not if ‘GGG’ will move down in weight, but when. And when he does, boxing could be treated to a string of enormous clashes worthy of PPV around the world.
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