Canelo vs GGG 2: the fights that have defined GGG
Luke G. Williams
As his rematch with Saul 'Canelo' Alvarez approaches, Boxing Monthly brings you our selection of the five most significant fights so far in the career of Gennady 'GGG' Golovkin, while BT Sport selects his top five knockouts...
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HBO saw him batter Philadelphia's Rosado from pillar to post, despite the fact the under the weather Kazakh had nearly withdrawn from the fight two days earlier through illness.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 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.
3. 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.
4. 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? The evidence since this night has been inconclusive...
5. WBC, IBF, WBA 'Super' and lineal middleweight title fight vs Saul Alvarez, 16 September 2017 - drew via split points decision
The biggest fight of Golovkin's career and the most controversial. Most ringside observers thought GGG shaded it, although Canelo's impressive counter-punching stole more rounds than many thought he would. GGG also, for the second time in three fights, gave away late rounds, raising question marks about his effectiveness and stamina over the 12-round distance. The 118-110 scorecard tabled in the Mexican's favour by Adalaide Byrd will, of course, forever have a prominent place in boxing's unofficial hall of infamy. However, although this is a fight many felt GGG won, in many ways it was also a contest that left us with more questions than answers about GGG. Questions that hopefully this weekend's rematch will definitively answer.