The Top 10 ‘GGG’ moments

Photo credit: Larry Moronez

 

This Saturday night on HBO Pay-Per-View (8:00 p.m. ET/ 5 p.m. PT), Gennady “GGG” Golovkin will defend his unified IBF, WBA and WBC middleweight titles against Saul “Canelo” Alvarez in a super-fight that has been craved by boxing’s hardcore fan-base over the past few years. This article will review the Top-10 moments of GGG’s career since making his American debut five years ago:

 

10. October 18, 2014 – Golovkin KO 2 Marco Antonio Rubio | StubHub Center, Carson, California | The looper

 

 

On the surface, this was one of many showcases of Golovkin’s career but there were two important footnotes involved in this fight with Marco Antonio Rubio: It offered Golovkin a chance to win a WBC trinket that eventually made him a mandatory for the organization’s middleweight title and it was the West Coast debut of GGG in Southern California’s premier boxing arena, the StubHub Center. There wasn’t a shred of competitiveness out of Rubio, who also showed up overweight, but Golovkin still managed to awe with a crazy display of punching power. In the second, an overhand left was thrown down on Rubio’s scalp and dropped him for the fight’s final moment and only knockdown. A right uppercut from Golovkin, prior to the left, was just as pretty and ultimately started the unraveling of Rubio. Canelo Alvarez’s name was mentioned to Gennady for the first time in the HBO post-fight interview and the latter simply called the former a “good boy.”

 

9. May 16, 2015 – Golovkin TKO 6 Willie Monroe Jr. | The Forum, Inglewood, California | The mess around

 

 

Just three months after the Martin Murray fight, Golovkin came back to the states for an obvious showcase against Willie Monroe Jr. and still managed to fill The Forum in Inglewood, California with 12,000-plus crazed boxing fans – the biggest crowd drawn by GGG up to that point. In the second, Golovkin stalked the fleet-footed Monroe into a corner and landed a tremendous counter left hand to his chin for the first of three knockdowns. It’s one of the best single punches Golovkin has thrown and led to another knockdown, moments later in the round. With an unmatched opponent at hand, Golovkin allowed Monroe to let his hands go from rounds three to five but finally sealed his fate in the sixth round, in which, after the final knockdown, Monroe capitulated.

 

8. September 1, 2012 – Golovkin TKO 5 Grzegorz Proksa | Turning Stone Resort & Casino, Verona, New York | The beginning

 

 

Golovkin’s United States and HBO debuts were originally slated to be against Dmitry Pirog, who held the WBO middleweight title, at the time, but a back injury, one that abruptly ended the Russian’s career, forced him to pull out of the fight. Polish contender Grzegorz Proksa stepped in his place but ultimately became the first victim of this unknown Kazakhstani. Proksa found the canvas in the opening around and again in the fourth but the final one in the fifth left a lasting image of him prone on his belly, motionless long enough to become the imprint of Golovkin’s introduction. Five years in the making, Golovkin, now 35, turned himself into a household name in boxing while looking for the big fight. Now that he has it on September 16, bigger things could be on the horizon. How different would it be if Pirog never suffered the back injury? The world will never know but it’s fun to think about.

 

7. October 17, 2015 – Golovkin TKO 8 David Lemieux | Madison Square Garden, New York, New York | The intermediary

 

 

The only unification bout for Golovkin was, again, versus his most dangerous opponent to date but this outclassing of David Lemieux was perhaps his most impressive performance of all. Golovkin showed his boxing prowess by beating up Lemieux with a dominant jab that set up punishing left hands to the body and head: shots that lead to an eventual stoppage in round eight by referee Steve Willis. There was no real moment in Golovkin-Lemieux, just utter dominance and not even the third man in the ring could hide his enjoyment for this splendid display. Willis, a cockeyed New York referee known for his quirky reactions during a fight, had this nod of approval in the fourth round thanks to Golovkin’s counter left hook. In the seventh, Willis’ smile of approval turned to grimaces as Lemieux got bludgeoned and never did he take an eye off of the French-Lebanese-Armenian-Canadian power-puncher up until he rightfully decided to stop it in the eighth. This was Golovkin’s first HBO Pay-Per-View event and, by selling out Madison Square Garden, Willis was the emotional intermediary for all those watching.

 

6. January 19, 2013 – Golovkin TKO 7 Gabriel Rosado | Madison Square Garden Theater, New York, New York | The obliteration

 

 

“Tino, I’d gotta stop it – you’re son’s gonna die, man!”

 

Trainer Billy Briscoe pleaded to Gabriel Rosado’s father as Golovkin beat his son into a bloody pulp, and, while clinching a bloody white towel, you can see the undeniable fear on his face. Rosado, a rough and rugged fighter out of Philadelphia, moved up a weight class for the middleweight title shot and a spot in Golovkin’s second appearance on HBO but the bout turned out to be a scary bludgeoning. Golovkin’s relentless offense forced a few leaking cuts on Rosado’s face, starting in the second round, and, despite how remarkable it was that he stayed on his feet during the entire fight, this one is up there with being the most brutal affair constructed by GGG. Befittingly, Golovkin wore an all-white outfit on this occasion and, once Briscoe finally did stop the fight in the seventh round, one of the best photos of Golovkin was taken as he raised his hand in victory.

 

5. February 21, 2015 – Golovkin TKO 11 Martin Murray | Salles des Etoiles, Monte Carlo, Monaco | The ballroom brawl

 

 

Having already fought twice in Monaco, and with the GGG hype train bustling, HBO decided to follow Golovkin to Europe for his 13th defense of the WBA middleweight title and, thanks to a game English contender in Martin Murray, they captured one of the funnest fights of his career. Compared to all the blowouts before it on HBO, this one seemed competitive, even though Murray only won a couple of rounds and found the canvas three times. Two right hands to the body forced him to a knee in the fourth round but a beautifully timed right hand to the head, at the end of the 10th, dropped Murray hard. It was knockdown fit for a highlight reel and, although Murray got up from it to later be stopped in the following round by referee Luis Pabon, Golovkin put an exclamation point to a memorable Stateside matinee.

 

Photo credit: USA Today Sports

 

4. March 30, 2013 – Golovkin KO 3 Nobuhiro Ishida | Salle des Etoiles, Monte Carlo, Monaco | The sleeper

 

 

One of two fights that wasn’t shown on HBO since his 2012 debut, Golovkin’s knockout of Ishida is unique. Typically, Golovkin knockouts are the result of a stoppage by the referee, corner or even a beaten man shaking his head no but this right hand to Ishida’s chin put him to sleep in the third round. Even though it wasn’t televised in the United States, this highlight reel knockout has surely been seen by any competent boxing fan and, happening seven months after his introduction to the West, it left them yearning for more.

 

3. July 26, 2014 – Golovkin TKO 3 Daniel Geale | Madison Square Garden, New York, New York | The responder

 

 

Having fought in its Theater twice already, Madison Square Garden – boxing’s mecca – opened its big room for Golovkin’s 11th defense of the WBA middleweight title against a former 160-pound beltholder Daniel Geale. It’s hard to believe Geale was arguably Golovkin’s toughest opponent to date, at the time, especially because GGG was far superior in every facet imaginable. Unluckily for the Australian, Geale had to withstand a horrible opening round that mistakenly lasted four minutes and featured him tripping to the mat over a ringside cameraman’s strap. Geale was spirited enough to try to make it a fight after already withstanding one knockdown and, at the tail end of the third round, saw an opportunity to land a nice right hand to Golovkin’s face. In slow-motion, you could see the eager look on Geale’s face as he landed the open shot but Golovkin not only took it well, he managed to immediately deliver a right hand in the same motion. Compared to Geale’s punch, it didn’t seem like the stronger shot, how it was thrown, but it’s impacting result was far more superlative. Geale fell to the canvas immediately after taking it on the chin and, after getting up and testing his legs, capitulated to referee Mike Ortega.

 

2. November 2, 2013 – Golovkin TKO 8 Curtis Stevens | Madison Square Garden Theater, New York, New York | The meme-maker

 

 

One of the very few opponents to talk smack to Golovkin leading up to their fight, Curtis Stevens conjured a dark side of GGG but it all started with a couple of left hands in the second round. Stevens dropped hard to the mat and his facial reaction to the shot was as if he’d seen a ghost. Golovkin proceeded to methodically beat the Brooklynite down to an eventual corner stoppage after eight full rounds but not without offering a glimpse to how he reacts when getting hit. Regarded as a power-puncher himself, Stevens was able to return the favor but all it seemed to do was spur Golovkin on. Afterward, Golovkin admitted that he wanted to prolong the beating, in order to teach Stevens a lesson. Whether that’s actually true or not – we may never know – no one seems to talk smack to Golovkin anymore. Maybe other than Lemieux – and you already saw how that went.

 

1. June 29, 2013 – Golovkin KO 3 Matthew Macklin | MGM Grand at Foxwoods Resort, Mashantucket, Connecticut | The left hand to the body

 

 

There’s something about a fighter forcing another grown man to squirm on the canvas in pain. Unlike a knockout blow to the head, the body shot keeps the mind clear enough to feel the full extent of the pain and when it’s a perfect liver punch, with the left hand, you get reactions like this. There was no delayed reaction from Macklin and human instinct put him into the fetal position, while being counted out. Looking back, this is the prime Gennady Golovkin and it was a power display that really got the word out there about this Alfred E. Neuman-looking Kazakhstani guy who knew nothing else other than destruction in the ring. The left hand to the body is one of the key components to GGG’s attack and seemingly every opponent he’s faced has had to feel it. For that reason, this fantastic body shot knockout tops the list and, should Golovkin beat Canelo this Saturday night, it will certainly have to resort to second.

 

 

You can reach Michael Baca II at mikebaca2@gmail.com and follow him at twitter.com/mikebaca2.

 

 

 

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