Gennady Golovkin: Boxing’s Next Messiah?

By Jarrett Zook on November 19, 2013
Gennady Golovkin: Boxing’s Next Messiah?
Golovkin won the title from Milton Nunez, currently ranked 254th on BoxRec.com. (HBO)

When Golovkin blows through fighters like Stevens he is simply doing what everyone expects. He isn’t proving anything we don’t already know…

Gennady Golovkin is a talented fighter. He’s a tremendously fluid puncher capable of throwing lethal combinations. That’s what makes him so appealing and why he’s the media darling of the moment. Golovkin is the rare hard hitter who is capable of doing more than stalking and throwing telegraphed haymakers. Moreover, he never really seems to have been hurt in a fight and has barely lost more than a handful of rounds. Indeed, Golovkin has all the makings of an elite and maybe even possibly one day hall of fame fighter. But Golovkin is currently counted as one of today’s best pound-for-pound fighters by many boxing writers and commentators, even though he has fought just one top ten contender within his own fairly weak middleweight division. Furthermore, while he looked good in his match with Curtis Stevens I did notice some flaws that could potentially be exploited by higher caliber fighters.

Until Golovkin fought Matthew Macklin his best opponent was likely Gabriel Rosado. Rosado is a decent scrapper who always shows up with his work pail in hand ready to give his all. There is nothing extraordinary about him besides maybe his ability to get the very most out of his ability, yet Rosado was Golovkin’s toughest opponent to date. It is common knowledge that present-day boxers are often moved slowly. But Gennady was defending his WBA middleweight title for the sixth time. That means Golovkin was defending his “title” against a slew of journeymen/extreme fringe contenders who are barely worthy of carrying the bags of the members of the famous Joe Louis Bum of the Month Club. Not to mention that he won the title from Milton Nunez, currently ranked 254th on BoxRec.com.

While his first six defenses were against very limited competition, GGG’s opposition was somewhat better in two of his last three title defenses. In his second to last fight Golovkin obliterated Matthew Macklin, the only top ten contender he has faced in his career. It took the heavy handed Kazakh only three rounds to dispatch a fighter who lasted 11 closely contested rounds with Sergio Martinez and who lost a controversial split decision to German titleholder Felix Sturm.

Many fighters have lost controversial decisions to Felix Sturm as he refuses to fight outside of Germany. German judges are notorious for playing favorites and no titleholder since Sven Ottke has enjoyed home cooking as much as Sturm. Sturm is also famous for ducking fighters. I’m convinced that almost any top five middleweight within the last few years would beat him convincingly

The victory over Macklin is overvalued. Macklin’s performance against Martinez was gutsy but unimpressive. To compete with the division’s top fighter is no mean feat, but at the time of the fight Martinez was starting to show signs of aging. In his fight before Macklin, Martinez struggled with heavy underdog Darren Barker. Additionally, Martinez hasn’t stopped either of his opponents since his fight with Macklin and has had more than his share of shaky moments in his last two defenses.

Golovkin’s last fight caught the attention of the boxing world, but he struggled more with Curtis Stevens than he did with Matthew Macklin. Only five fights ago Stevens lost a very wide decision to the lowly regarded Jesse Brinkley, a fringe contender who always comes up short when fighting “A” grade fighters. If Stevens lost to Brinkley how could he be expected to fare well against Golovkin? When Golovkin blows through fighters like Stevens he is simply doing what everyone expects. He isn’t proving anything we don’t already know.

Golovkin hammered Stevens in convincing fashion. He did however get tagged and displayed a few weaknesses. GGG doesn’t have a glass chin. But he can be hit. A top fighter with the ability to put combinations together might give Golovkin trouble. His hands are blazingly fast, but his head is a stationary target. Another flaw is his inability to counterpunch. When he is not on the attack he looks to dodge and move backward when the opponent starts firing away. Against faster and more persistent fighters this may prove costly.

Golovkin may not be the next messiah. He is an extremely talented. He has all the potential in the world. But there’s no guarantee that he will dominate the likes of Quillin, Martinez, or the many talented super middleweights that he seems destined to fight in the future. I believe Golovkin will be among the top pound-for-pound fighters in the future. But in any sport, and especially in boxing, you can never count your chickens before they hatch.

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Gennady Golovkin_ Milton Nunez.avi



Gennady Golovkin vs Matthew Macklin Full Fight HD



Jesse Brinkley Vs Curtis Stevens



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  1. Alex 09:44pm, 06/26/2014

    Aside from the other points made I don’t understand how the author can claim that Golovkin isn’t a counter puncher??!!! He is what you call an aggressive counter puncher. As soon as his opponents feet plant to throw a punch Golovkin “counters” before they know whats happening. Remember a punch starts from the feet so he is reacting to a punch. Because he is such a good counter puncher and because he hits so hard you very quickly see his opposition start back peddling.

  2. Luke 10:45pm, 11/27/2013

    Yes it is true, Macklin and Stevens his toughest opponents.  Still think GGG beats the other title holders. DiBella has made it clear Martinez is not getting in the ring with GGG though.  On a side note, maybe Felix Sturm has fought outside Germany once.  When Oscar De La Hoya got a very favourable UD in their fight in Vegas….. and not once since… Don’t blame the guy. Beyond the judges it was hard to find anyone who think Oscar won that one…

  3. sam 1969 01:10pm, 11/21/2013

    Again lets gonna cut the crap and put GGG against a real boxer, to be honest with you a have to give some credit to Rosado but Macklin (just cause put Martinez a little bit in trouble), Stevens and japanese guy who beat Kirkland are just pump record opponents, GGG needs Lara, Chavez JR, Murray (even if not too popular), Sturm, Kirkland, Quillin,a bad night against Rosado can happen and still won, so until then I will call GGG a sensation and not a sensational fighter, he might beat all the names I just typed above but a bad night could also bring a surprise to GGG specially after his last words after Stevens KO where he really sounds overconfident.

  4. raxman 06:54pm, 11/20/2013

    ted - If sturm can beat barker surely a GGG vs Sturm fight in Germany would bring in big dollars. GGG’s first 20 fights were in Germany, that would be a huge fight over there espec if its a unification fight. conversely if barker beats Sturm a GGG v Barker in England or Germany would be better than any other option GGG has (short of the Martinez or Ward fights)in the states. the thing of it is the 160pound division is a dog. its a weak division made worse by the fact its without American representation - aside from Quillin of course.

  5. raxman 06:11pm, 11/20/2013

    Mike Schmidt - as a huge froch fan i’m sad to say i’m beginning to think Groves may cause an upset. I think there were signs vs Kessler#2 that froch may have slipped a little. he was great in the early rounds and gutted out a win with his awesome endurance but through the middle part when Kessler made adjustments froch didn’t look his best and took a few hard shots that he didn’t seem to see. groves only weakness apart from inexperience is his chin so maybe froch can spank him and look great doing it - but St George is a lovely boxer with a good mind and a hard punch. i’m starting to feel an upset coming - if so that would put a hole in your GGG v Froch fight.

  6. Ted 05:54pm, 11/20/2013

    That is all

  7. Ted 05:54pm, 11/20/2013

    Koolz, There is no big money in fighting Barker, Lee, Degale, Murray, or Sturm. Maybe in Quillin, maybe.

    It’s time GGG went after some big money and Chavez, Cotto, and/or Canelo = big money.

    Boxing is a business. Business is about making money.

  8. Ted 05:51pm, 11/20/2013

    George Thomas Clark , these days 31 is not old.

  9. Ted 05:49pm, 11/20/2013

    Wow, lots of hate towards Chavez Sr, and Jr. Excuse me but I submit Rubio and Duddy were decent opponents. And so was Lee at the time. Chavez has a stinker against Vera and all of a sudden he is a “bum.”  He was one punch way from ending Martinez’s run. One punch.

    I think when his girl friend/wife has the baby, he might settle down some. I still think he is a great opponent for GGG. He is very big and that would test GGG’s power. Chavez, if anything, has a great chin.

    Quillin won’t fight GGG so he has to either move up or move down. A fight with Ward is two years away.

  10. Ted 05:41pm, 11/20/2013

    Rax, actually yes. Logic is logic.

  11. MIKE SCHMIDT 05:24pm, 11/20/2013

    Rax I think the kid (Chavez Jr) kinda gets the reverse boxer discrimination thing ie he gets a free ride because he is the son of that legend guy that got his arse handed to him by Sweet Pea. His work ethic and outside ring behaving leaves one’s head shaking but in terms of the padding—hell we got a kid that had the big zero amateur background and ends up fighting the best middle (at the time) at the age of 26—and hell they brought him to that point with so damned good management—Beating the shit out of the back end ranked 8 to 20 of the likes of Lee, Rubio, Manfredo, Zbik, Cuello, Vanda—most managers should be so lucky in their life to have a guy that got to that level—now that I got all that bullschmidt out of the way—GGG is still going to kick the shit out of him!!!! Would rather, if Martinez is going to pussy out of this fight and squeeze the life out of that Middle belt of his, watch a GGG vs Froch fight—be damned entertaining.

  12. raxman 04:59pm, 11/20/2013

    ted the bull!!!!! I’ve won you over? I can’t believe it!! lets be clear, I’ve never dismissed Golovkin as a fighter - just his resume. having followed him through 5years of amateur competition I expected him to be fighting Matthew Macklin level of opposition within 10 fights. we see lomachenko is doing it. rigo has done it. and going back kostya Tszyu did it (fighting Hector Lopez who was an animal)

  13. raxman 04:52pm, 11/20/2013

    mike Schmidt - I thought maravilla was fantastic against Chavez jnr - but I think to be fair to - well to my own argument re Martinez - that fight showed us more about Chavez Jr than it did SM. it showed us that he is a lazy fighter who was satisfied with a last round knock down. despite losing the fight. keep in minds Chavez jnr had/has the most padded record in pro boxing

  14. George Thomas Clark 03:18pm, 11/20/2013

    Golovkin’s a terrific talent and still in his prime but he needs to keep an eye on the clock - he’s already 31.

  15. Koolz 10:15am, 11/20/2013

    I guess if he stepped up and fought Chavez Jr it would be at 168
    Canelo after Cotto maybe?
    I want to see him fight Barker, Lee, Degale, Murray, Sturm,  Quillin
    All of which would be KO’s.

  16. Ted 08:05am, 11/20/2013

    Step up and fight Chavez Jr.

    Step down and fight Canelo

  17. Koolz 05:29am, 11/20/2013

    Everyone knows that Golovkin has been ducked by pretty much everyone.

    As for fighting better opposition well before Proksa it was supposed to be Pirog. 
    I loved that Ishida fight, that Ishida fight showed me GGG’s amazing skills! better then his last two fights after it.
    If Froch lost to Groves would he still fight Golovkin?
    Why do guys keep bring up Chavez Jr this isn’t Chavez Jr of old it’s Chavez Jr of getting his butt wooped by Vera. 
    I honestly think in that fight it would be a TKO Golovkin would beat him silly as he comes forward trying to preasure GGG on the ropes.  I think Chavez Jr would be worst then Stevens.

  18. Mike Schmidt 04:59am, 11/20/2013

    Bullseye and right on target to Black African and Mohummad. I don’t like the “call the guy out” thing but in this case if I was GGG’s team I would lay it on—the huge offer made, the refusal to sign the contract, the bullshit reasons for night signing—embarrass the hell out of them

  19. Mohummad Humza Elahi 03:32am, 11/20/2013

    As with the others, I’m a big GGG fan, Good Boy Season is my favourite time of year nowadays.  I understand the points that he should be facing much better opposition than he has (I agree to an extent) but the real reason for is that he has one attribute that makes him a nightmare to fight and it’s not his power.  His ability to suffocate space is relentless.  He shuts the ring of so well Macklin used the whole thing and he admitted it was like fighting in a phonebooth.  I wanted him to fight Murray next and if the man who went to Sergio’s backyard and should have got the win doesn’t want GGG, that is telling in itself.

  20. nicolas 02:59am, 11/20/2013

    GGG is probably never going to fight Quillin unless Quillin really wants to, and the problem here is that Quillin is with Showtime, Look at at all the guys who have ducked GGG, Pirog was supposed to fight him, but then like a lot of fighters today, seem to get hurt before the big fight, and will he ever fight again? Geale decided to get revenge on Mundine instead of risk losing with GGG. As for Martinez, did not one of his representative say that they don’t want to get their man in with that animal, that they would like him to just get some easy paydays? One of the smart things that GGG is doing is keeping busy. Had four fights this year, and is supposed to fight in February. GGG’s problem is that there are four other major organizations, and many of the so called contenders I am sure would rather fight one of those champions right now instead of fight GGG. Sugar Ray Robinson said that when he was boxing in the forties, often he had to carry fighters, otherwise he would have been avoided. Does GGG have to do the same?

  21. Black African American from Brooklyn 11:07pm, 11/19/2013

    The article wants to make Rosado, Macklin and Stevens look like bums? while in truth Rosado was as good as Quillin in his last fight, Macklin knocked down Martinez and Stevens used to fight in heavier divisions. Even Ishida, who is not a great boxer at all, some might say, gave Pirog a hard time. Sturm is ducking GGG, Murray is ducking GGG. Martinez is still playing the game of “Golovkin who? I don’t know such boxer. I’m too famous to know”, clearly ducking GGG. Listen people, Gennady is publicly calling out ANYONE. He even names Quillin and Martinez. How is that Golovkin is the one to be blamed for his allegedly poor opposition? Trust me, Golovkin would fight Barker, Murray, Geale, Sturm, Quillin and Martinez in 2014 alone, if it were up to him.

  22. Mike Schmidt 07:06pm, 11/19/2013

    Well Sirs what do you say to this as a fun fight—GGG vs Froch

  23. Mike Schmidt 07:04pm, 11/19/2013

    Rax I here ya and all valid shots/points. I was of the same opinion on Sergio until I was ringside to watch Martinez fight Chavez. Three things—I was absolutely shocked how fast Martinez hands were (and even more so given his age), secondly, the guy has the heart of a Lion, and thirdly he is in superb condition. Alas, all Lions come of old age and a new pack member takes over—totally agree. Methinks Sergio’s top end days are gone gone gone—fighting Ward at this point makes no sense for GGG. Chavez is not going to make 160 anymore—so that leaves Quill-n and I doubt that happens based on how Chocolate looked in his last fight.

  24. Ted 06:30pm, 11/19/2013

    I think Macklin lost a lot in his brutal fight with Moore years ago. I did not consider him much of an opponent for GGG, especially after he was brutalized by Martinez..

    I am switching around to Rax’s thinking here. GGG must step up his competition. Stevenson was not a step up. Quillin will be easy pickings.

    Martinez would be nice, but it has to get done now. Also Chavez Jr.

  25. Don from Prov 06:17pm, 11/19/2013

    Good article.  I love to watch Golovkin fight and think he is very good


    However, I sure as hell would NOT put him in the ring with Ward tomorrow—
    If I were his manager, I’d ignore my own “best fight the best” exhortations and leave Golovkin among the middleweights for a couple of years.  Maybe I wrong and the Good Boy beats up Ward, but I’d bet some money he wouldn’t.

  26. Ezra 05:45pm, 11/19/2013

    If Teddy Atlas already has Lomanchenko as #10 pound for pound, I wonder where he has Golovkin.

  27. sam 1969 05:30pm, 11/19/2013

    Lets gonna cut the crap and put this phenomenal GGG against Chavez Jr, Lara, Kirkland, Canelo, Martinez and see a real opponent finally where we can judge seriously this boxer.

  28. raxman 05:11pm, 11/19/2013

    MS - to be honest with you I’ve never really rated Sergio. long before I railed against GGG opposition i was critical of Maravilla’s top 5 p4p ranking - but that’s another story. the whole macklin gave Martinez stick and GGG destroyed him argument, for me anyway, doesn’t work the same way mayweather-hatton-pac argument doesn’t hold water - the first victor does the hard yards - the second is just finishing off damaged goods. not to mention the style thing my friend - Martinez is never going to beat a guy the same way GGG beats him. the important thing is the victory.

  29. Mike Schmidt 04:49pm, 11/19/2013

    Rax when I say quality I am talking comparative/opponent link to Sergio—he gave Sergio all kinds of problems before running out of steam—he was hell on wheels and of course the big build up before his fight with GGG—Annnnd then when GGG makes it look like an easier than easy sparring session- the Mack the Knife is nothing much—double standard going around a whole lot on the Sergio PR work. Lets be fair, once you get past the top five in the Middle’s there ain’t much. Now for all those folks that think Ward is going to have his day with GGG—well go back and watch Ward’s fight when he is on the seat of his pants. He is a precision arm puncher and he will have all kinds of trouble with GGG’s in and out movement and inside punching power ability—clutch and hold one arm ain’t gonna doing for Andre—that is a tough fight and not a gimme by any means for either guy—FIRST MARTINEZ OR HONORABLY RETIRE—NO HARM IN THAT SERGIO.

  30. raxman 04:19pm, 11/19/2013

    Mike Schmidt - mack the knife was a what? a quality fighter. yeah in the smoke and mirror world of boxing rankings he’s been up there. but in reality matthew “I got knocked out by Jamie Moore” Macklin has never been more than a slightly better than average fighter when on the world stage.

  31. raxman 04:10pm, 11/19/2013

    its not me! I swear!! Jarrett I haven’t read any of the comments yet my friend but i’m sure your stating of pure and unadulterated facts are not going to win you any fans here at the golovkin circle jerk. I’m the longest serving GGG fan on this site having seen him beat Daniel Geale in Osaka ten years ago - but you and I are in the minority when we state Golovkin’s pro career as disappointing. I’m not a hater, I just hate being had, and GGG should’ve fought the likes of macklin and murray after his 10th or so pro fight, so great was his amateur career.

  32. Clarence George 02:58pm, 11/19/2013

    Excuse me, Anthony, but I said put him to sleep “literally, not as a boxing metaphor.”  It was a comment on Ward’s tedious, however effective, style.  I of course agree with you—no way in hell Ward could hurt, never mind kayo, Golovkin.

  33. Koolz 02:52pm, 11/19/2013

    I don’t see anyone at 154 or 160 beating Golovkin.
    Now 168 that’s another story.
    Right now in his weight class, yes he is the best.
    Of course we need to see the Martinez fight.  Honestly I don’t think that fight will ever happen.

  34. anthony 02:50pm, 11/19/2013

    clarence nobody is gonna put GGG to sleep…he has never been knocked down or even hurt for that matter in the amateurs or pros…they asked him if he has ever been hurt and he said not that he can remember…and u are telling me a guy with not much power may put him to sleep? silly….

  35. Clarence George 02:44pm, 11/19/2013

    I’ll put my two cents in (worth considerably more, if only because of inflation):  Neither Quillin nor Martinez would have the slightest chance against Golovkin.  In fact, I can’t think of anyone at junior middleweight, middleweight, or super middleweight who could beat him, with the possible exception of Ward, who might very well put the Kazakh to sleep…and I mean that literally, not as a boxing metaphor.

  36. anthony 02:14pm, 11/19/2013

    well if u did your homework then you would know GGG was just a counter puncher before he got with Abel Sanchez…Abel turned him into an offensive aggressive fighter…so he went 345-5 as a counter puncher in the amatuers so I’m 100 percent certain he knows hot to counter punch…he is just working on other parts of his game…like Abel said after the 2nd round with Stevens it was like a sparring session for GGG and was working on other things….he spent almost his whole career as a counter puncher…I dont think he needs work on that…

  37. Mike Schmidt 01:49pm, 11/19/2013

    Sorry, one other note, Mack the Knife was a quality fighter before facing GGG—he gave Sergio all he wanted—suddenly he is not a top guy?? GGG was fighting guys too small, suddenly he destroys Mack, a legit top ten middle, and destroys a guy who often fought as a Super-Middle and Light Heavy, ....GGG is not a big Middle and the excuses are wearing thin. This is the best Middleweight around right now—how good is he—damned good—is he great—we don’t know—hasn’t had the dance partner yet. And the guys who have bragged about 8 division titles etc etc by winning Jr. Middle titles ( ie Manny, Floyd, Cotto), well you can bet your arse they are not getting in the ring with this guy either—in previous years guys like Butter Smooth Napoles, and all the guys back in the 40, 50 , and 60’s took a crack at the gold ring upwards—as did Tommy, Roberto, Ray, and Alexis and for that they will always be remembered and cherished. Some of these guys today—put a big mark beside their name—THEY WOULDN’T FIGHT THE BEST GUY BESIDE THEM DURING THEIR ERA. BOO, BOO and more BOOs

  38. Mike Schmidt 01:40pm, 11/19/2013

    You are absolutely correct Beaujack. As well there is “have” to fight and “want” to fight. As Duran pointed out recently in reference to a question about Mayweather, He (Duran), Marv, Leonard, Tommy WANTED to fight each other. Arguello WANTED to fight the top guys. GGG’s Promoters have paid way over scale to get guys in the ring—These fights, Martinez, Quillin etc can be made if HBO flexes their muscles—either you fight GGG or no HBO fights for you (and that will probably take some future contract adjustments because a lot of these guys have package deals—which is not the way I would go about this). No TV, means no big money… either you fight the top guys or adios- We just saw this with the Ward fight—HBO wants a tough guy first fight back and he negotiates Edwin, which with all due respect not anybody I know gave him a chance and we saw the difference in skill set- adios-And P.S there are exceptions—like young Mares for example—he is fighting the fights top end

  39. Ted 01:27pm, 11/19/2013

    beaujack , the paradigm has changed completely and many are slow to pick up on it.

  40. beaujack 01:05pm, 11/19/2013

    I agree GGG has never beaten a true quality fighter of the type we had years ago, BUT this is not his fault…A Martinez, a Quillin will most likely not fight him and Gennady cannot be blamed for their reluctance
    for them fighting him also…The sport of boxing is so different than it was when I was a kid growing up. The top fighters of that time had to fight everyone no matter how dangerous their opponents were….
    For example, before my time of watching boxing, the middleweight division of the late 1930s, early 40s had a Freddie Steele, Al Hostak, Billy Conn, Tony Zale, Georgie Abrams,  Fred Apostoli, Ken Overlin, Solly Krieger, Teddy Yarosz, all who would be champs today fighting each other often, because the public demanded these fights and the gates were small. A wonderful era unlike today…Having said this I believe GGG
    has the ability to compete with those worthies of those long ago days…

  41. Ted 12:54pm, 11/19/2013

    Hmm. Where is Rax?

  42. Ted 12:53pm, 11/19/2013

    I guarantee that he will dominate the likes of Quillin and/or Martinez.

  43. Danny Collins 12:12pm, 11/19/2013

    The reason I think they need to cash in now instead of waiting around is he is 31. This is most likely the prime of his career. Waiting another 2,3 years for the big fights to be made is a very dangerous game to play. Sergio is probably retired then, and GGG will be left never knowing how fighting the best in the division during his prime would’ve been turned out. That would be a shame.

  44. Danny Collins 12:05pm, 11/19/2013

    Agreed, Mike. I think GGG wants the big fights, and other guys are reluctant to step in the ring with him. But that’s where his manager and promotional team needs to step in and make things happen. Otherwise he’ll be fighting the Stevens, Rosados, and Ishidas of the world for the rest of his career.

  45. Mike Schmidt 11:17am, 11/19/2013

    It takes two to dance of course and K2 has had to overpay the freight a whole lot to get these guys in the ring. Champions fight the best—I think that is what GGG wants to do—these other guys, including Sergio at this stage, may not want to go at it.

  46. Clarence George 10:58am, 11/19/2013

    Raxman’s true identity revealed!  Film at 11.

  47. Danny Collins 10:50am, 11/19/2013

    I’m a huge GGG fan, and the Stevens fight was a good test for his chin, but I agree. He needs to fight either Murray, Martinez, or Quillin in the first half of 2014, or we as fans have a right to start getting legitimately frusturated. His opposition needs to start mirroring his expectations, otherwise what’s the point? That being said, he looks to be the total package.

  48. Mike Schmidt 10:42am, 11/19/2013

    GGG is going to absolutely destroy both Chocolate and Sergio—destroy, destroy as in no contest destroy—if their promoters put them in which in present boxing business climate is highly unlikely. Sergio a few years back would have been more than a handful but not now.

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