HBO results: Gennady Golovkin squashes Vanes Martirosyan in two
Gennady “GGG” Golovkin swiftly took care of Vanes Martirosyan Saturday night, knocking him out in the second round, and the ease he utilized was far simpler than it was to salvage the May 5 date. The contest was the main event of a card held at the StubHub Center in Carson, California, and televised live on HBO.
Defending his unified middleweight titles successfully, Golovkin extended his reign with another defense that will one day reach historical proportions but, in light of the IBF not recognizing Martirosyan as a true 160-pound challenger, this was nothing more than a stay-busy fight.
Martirosyan, 36-4-1 (21), the WBC’s No.2 ranked junior middleweight contender, came out of the gate unafraid and willing to let his hands go in his biggest fight to date. The tactic worked in the opening round as Golovkin calmly calculated his distance with a jab and it gave the Armenian a moment, when he landed a right hand on Golovkin’s chin, warranting a nod from the Kazakh before pressing forward to engage in some back-and-forth action. If Martirosyan could keep up with Golovkin this way, a competitive match may’ve broken out but everything changed in the second round.
Golovkin, 38-0-1 (34), stepped his pace up after his first conversation with trainer Abel Sanchez, on the stool. His jab was doubled up but, more importantly, its accuracy was starting to affect Martirosyan. Soon enough, Golovkin showed he still had the predator-like instincts that seemingly made everyone a fan for the past few years. Golovkin used his uppercut to slightly stun Martirosyan earlier but another one, while the challenger backed into the ropes, had him reeling and stuck there for the remainder of the fight. Golovkin had Martirosyan trying to bob and weave but a left hook from GGG hurt him badly. Another right landed on his face just before he crumbled to the canvas, and Martirosyan laid on his belly in pain. Referee Jack Reiss reached the count of 10 before Martirosyan could get up, rendering his first defeat by knockout.
The win marked Golovkin’s 20th defense of his first middleweight title (WBA), which ties Bernard Hopkins for the most in the division’s history. That, of course, is nothing more than a fine PR headline after a fight that wasn’t all that competitive to begin with. 7,837 fans showed up for the event, however, on a day when all eyes would’ve been on him in Las Vegas fighting Canelo Alvarez in a rematch, much further from where they watched him on Saturday night. Whether they enjoyed the night or not, they could thank Canelo for what transpired tonight.
In the opening bout of the HBO telecast, Cecilia Braekhus successfully defended her undisputed welterweight championship with a unanimous decision win (97-92, 96-93 twice) over Kali Reis but had a scare in the second half of the contest, that rendered the crowd dissatisfied afterward.
Braekhus, 33-0 (9), overcame a knockdown in the seventh round after Reis landed the best punch in the entire fight: a straight right hand to the chin. The shot buckled Braekhus’ legs and forced her to catch herself from falling completely but the champion wasn’t seriously hurt. Braekhus even smiled while propping herself back up but Reis certainly gained plenty of momentum after being outboxed in the first half of the fight. Reis, 13-7-1 (4), even seemed to stun Braekhus again in the eighth, making the final two rounds tense. Braekhus certainly won the 10th behind the jab that banked her earlier rounds and, although the champion got the nod, the only cheers post-fight were for the challenger. Braekhus would say afterward that Reis deserved the rematch.