Golovkin Tightens His Grip at 160; Walters Changes 126-Pound Landscape
The knockout streak continues at 18 straight after Gennady Golovkin sent former WBC interim middleweight titlist Marco Antonio Rubio to the canvas in the second round. With the victory, Golovkin successfully defends his WBA middleweight title for the 12th time.
From the sounding of the opening bell, Golovkin wasted no time stalking his prey. The full four minutes and 19 seconds of the bout was Golovkin moving forward and Rubio retreating. His accuracy was superb, and in the end, a left hook to the temple of Rubio secured the win for Golovkin.
Golovkin coined the phrase, “Mexican Style” for his mental approach of fighting that takes after the long list of fighters from Mexico who go toe to-toe in consistently exciting fights. Done with the intention of reaching out to an important group of Mexican fans, the Kazakh phenom also acknowledged the crowd in Spanish, a move of public relations brilliance.
The StubHub Center in Carson, CA was at full capacity during the undercard, meaning everyone was on time, something that doesn’t happen that often in sporting events in Los Angeles. But the fans seemed to know that showing up late to this event would be an utter mistake. It was probably the first time a majority Mexican crowd was cheering for the opponent of a Mexican. But heritage aside, they are now willing to fully adopt.
In the co-feature, Nicholas Walters dethroned Nonito Donaire of his WBA featherweight crown in knockout fashion. It happened in the sixth round after an overhand right landed just behind the ear of Donaire. As Donaire tried to beat the count, referee Raul Caiz Jr. waved the bout off, hugging the wobbly Filipino-American.
The first two rounds were competitive with each fighter trading precise shots and at the end of the second, Donaire almost knocked Walters down but the bell saved the Jamaican. In the third, Walters returned the favor by sending Donaire to the canvas, also opening a cut to the right eye of the Filipino countryman. It was a crucial point in the fight because afterward, Donaire changed instantly into an apprehensive fighter. It seemed as though Walters could smell that and stepped on the gas pedal from then on.
With the victory, Walters becomes the first Jamaican in eight years to hold a world title and now puts himself in play to unify his belt with fellow Top Rank Promotions featherweights Vasyl Lomachenko or Evgeny Gradovich. Donaire, on the other hand, has some reflecting to do about the future of his boxing career. He hasn’t shown the same brilliance as he has in the lighter weight classes and now goes back to the drawing board.