Two of a kind: ‘GGG’ and ‘Chocolatito’ return
Once again, Gennady “GGG” Golovkin and Roman “Chocolatito” Gonzalez fight on the same evening, continuing a boxing double-feature that has showcased a pairing of the sport’s offensive masterminds. Tonight will be the fifth time in a row the two have fought on the same date and at Madison Square Garden in New York City, this HBO Pay-Per-View card (9:00 p.m. ET/6 p.m. PT) marks the fourth event in which this gruesome-twosome are paired.
It all started in the “City of Champions” almost two years ago. Their opponents weren’t ever a match that night but Golovkin and Gonzalez left a sold-out crowd at The Forum in Inglewood, California, wanting more. Strong ratings on HBO also indicated the same in Gonzalez’s network debut – a medium on which flyweights were rarely seen. Some of the match-ups got better, some worse, but the end result has always been the same when these two grace the same ring and the crowd as followed the dominance coast-to-coast.
American boxing fans aren’t following domestic hopefuls or brash personalities but two soft-spoken imports with the same thirst for action. Golovkin, no less the face of this operation, is the only one who speaks English and, while even that is limited, what he and “Chocolatito” can’t communicate through words are translated with styles that can resonate to anyone.
Golovkin, Karaganda, Kazakhstan, has been the Batman of this “Dynamic Duo,” although Gonzalez is the more accomplished fighter overall. GGG has gained popularity with brute knockout power that is often described as a blessing only the heavens can endow on someone from birth. Armed with a jab that is also defensive, in ways, Golovkin is always on the attack and his ability to cut off the ring suffocates opponents into fighting his fight. Twenty-three straight have fallen victim to Golovkin and, along with a name that can easily roll off an English tongue, the happy-go-lucky smile he flashes doesn’t hurt the cause when it comes to gaining popularity. He may not be front-and-center just yet but he’s firmly on the periphery of the mainstream eye and, make no mistake about it, his fighting style has gotten him where he is today.
A few weeks shy of his 35th birthday, Golovkin, 36-0 (33), looks to defend his unified IBF/WBA/WBC middleweight titles against his toughest opponent to date – a recurring narrative that dates back to 2012 when he made his HBO debut. Daniel Jacobs, 32-1 (29), is thought to be the man who can give Golovkin a competitive fight but putting on an exciting one has never been an issue.
Although both can be described as offensive juggernauts, Gonzalez, Managua, Nicaragua, goes about it differently when compared to Golovkin.
Gonzalez, 46-0 (38), who recently won his fourth world title – the WBC flyweight title – in as many divisions, doesn’t so much overpower his foes but overwhelms them with fluid combinations that come from all angles. Thanks to savvy footwork, positioning and the inclination to let his hands go, Chocolatito is creative with his offense and leaves onlookers scratching their heads, once precisely delivering combinations that feature a wide array of punches. The knockout power has dwindled as of late, as Gonzalez nears 30 but the Nicaraguan has been moving up in weight. In his most recent outing, last September, Gonzalez was given a tough fight by Carlos Cuadras and no longer did Gonzalez look like the immortal fighter who dominated the lightest of weight classes.
HBO’s “2 Days”:
Srisaket Sor Rungvisai, 41-4-1 (38), will be the next man to challenge Gonzalez and the southpaw gave Cuadras a tough fight back in 2014 for common opponents’ sake. Srisaket, 30, is still a mystery, for the most part, to those watching tonight but if he’s the stereotypical tough guy who usually comes out of Thailand, Gonzalez won’t have any easy night, in trying to continue a historic run. The WBC has already mandated that the winner of this match-up must face Cuadras next – who also appears on the HBO PPV undercard against, David Carmona.
Emotions will be high for all involved tonight but you wouldn’t know it, judging from their temperaments. They are calm and collective but Gonzalez, who lost his original trainer Arnulfo Obando in an untimely death on Nov. 7, 2016, should have his emotions running high, regardless of result. Golovkin, on the other hand, has yet to be really emotional at all but it remains to be seen how he reacts, should he beat a guy like Jacobs.