Bunch of fives: Gennady 'GGG' Golovkin
Luke G. Williams
As his showdown with Saul 'Canelo' Alvarez approaches, Boxing Monthly brings you our selection of the five most significant fights so far in the career of Gennady Golovkin...
1. WBA middleweight title defence vs Gabriel Rosado, 19 January 2013 – won by TKO in round 7
Golovkin's second appearance in the United States on HBO saw him batter Philadelphia's Rosado from pillar to post, despite the fact the under the weather Kazakh had nearly withdrawn from the fight two days earlier through illness. The crowd at the Madison Square Garden Theater were suitably impressed by Golovkin's all-action 'Mexican style'. For this contest GGG was appearing on the undercard of Orlando Salido vs Mikey Garcia, but soon he would be a headliner in his own right and a major player in the United States boxing scene. "He's a tough fighter," admitted a bloodied Rosado post-fight.
2. WBA middleweight title defence vs Curtis Stevens, 2 November 2013 – won when Stevens retired after round 8
For the ninth defence of his WBA crown, GGG was now top of the bill in New York's MSG Theater. Enraged by Stevens' pre-fight trash talk, Golovkin laid an utter beating on the Brownsville upstart. Dropping his opponent in the second was a prelude to a further six rounds of savage punishment as Golovkin landed almost half of his power punches. "I am bad boy. This is my show - knock him down, knock him out," declared GGG afterwards, in his characteristically endearing broken English:
3. WBA middleweight title defence vs Daniel Geale, 26 July 2014 - won by TKO in round 3
Going into his showdown with GGG, Aussie Geale was a former unified middleweight champion who had only lost two fights - close split decisions to Anthony Mundine and Darren Barker. Most reckoned he would provide Golovkin with the toughest test of his career to date...Some hope. Post-GGG, a ruined Geale would go 1-2 and was last seen in a professional ring being KO'd by Renold Quinlan. Headlining in the main Madison Square Garden arena for the first time, GGG smashed the Aussie to the canvas in round two, absorbed a heavy right in round three without being budged and a split second later counter-punched Geale back to the canvas with a devastating right of his own to secure his 17th stoppage victory in succession. "In all my years in boxing, he's the best 160-pounder I've ever seen," admitted Geale's promoter Gary Shaw after the bout.
4. WBA 'Super', IBF and WBC interim middleweight titles unification vs David Lemieux, 17 October 2015 - won by TKO in round 8
The murderous punching Lemieux was reckoned by many to have a better chance than most of inconveniencing Golovkin, but the Canadian was treated with near contempt by a rampant GGG. With the precision of a surgeon, Golovkin broke Lemieux down and apart, flooring him in the fifth before the referee called a halt to the one-sided affair in round eight. 20,000 plus fans roared their approval in what was Golovkin's first pay-per-view appearance.
5. WBA 'Super', IBF and WBC middleweight title defence vs Daniel Jacobs, 18 March 2017 - won by unanimous points decision
Once again headlining at Madison Square Garden, this time against local Brooklyn boy Jacobs, GGG was given the sternest test of his career, as he was extended the full 12 rounds for the first time in his career and his 23-fight KO streak was snapped. Jacobs' length, skills and boxing IQ gave Golovkin major problems, although he managed to eke out a 115-112, 114-113 (twice) verdict, thanks to a pair of right hands which floored Jacobs in round four. Was GGG merely under par or was the then 34-year-old's stuttering performance the result of him finally entering a period of decline and decay? We should know the answer once he has finally faced Canelo later this week...