Gennady Golovkin: Questions Remain

By Paul Magno on September 14, 2017
Gennady Golovkin: Questions Remain
Glimpses of vulnerable humanity have been seen in the Triple G machine. (Brett Newton)

Nobody really knows what to expect from this encounter, primarily because nobody can really know what to expect from Golovkin…

It would be great to say that we had all the pertinent info at hand when it comes to predicting a winner for the upcoming Saul Alvarez-Gennady Golovkin bout. But that would be a lie.

The fact of the matter is that nobody really knows what to expect from this encounter, primarily because nobody can really know what to expect from Golovkin.

The Kazakh KO artist’s opposition has been so uncomplicated, so utterly made for him, stylistically, that it’s nearly impossible to make a smart prediction as to what to expect.

In his last two fights, glimpses of vulnerable humanity could be seen in the Triple G machine. It wasn’t age—Golovkin is a young 35 in boxing years, hardly touched up, and not even challenged all that much in 37 pro fights. Physically, Golovkin is fine and will walk into this Saturday’s fight as fresh as he was when he first tore through Grzegorz Proksa five years ago in his HBO debut.

Golovkin looked unGolovkin-like at times against Kell Brook and Daniel Jacobs because he was matched against styles, skills, and mindsets unlike any others he had seen before in the ring.

Brook’s hand speed was enough to handcuff him at times and, if not for the fact that it was, literally, a middleweight vs. welterweight match-up, Golovkin may have had real problems down the line against someone able to touch him at will. As it was, though, Brook couldn’t hurt Golovkin and the larger fighter merely walked through the smaller opponent, breaking his face en route to a stoppage victory.

Against Jacobs, Golovkin met up with a physically large, athletically gifted fighter with strong legs who could stick to a somewhat coherent game plan. Make no mistake about it, Jacobs did not execute genius strategy in befuddling Golovkin at times. He was merely moving and failing to fall in line with what Golovkin was brought along to expect in an opponent. Many observers, including this writer, actually had Jacobs winning the bout. But even if the decision in Triple G’s favor was a proper and just one, Golovkin didn’t look like GOLOVKIN and it was proof positive, if such a thing needed proof positive, that much of what made the man a monster had to with who he was matched against.

It’s true that the same can be said about any fighter, really. Opposition matters and styles also matter. But the Golovkin career route highlights this point at an extreme level. Up until his last two fights, Golovkin has been in one stylistically favorable match-up after another, booked against fighters either ill-equipped to handle his power and aggression and/or ill-suited to do anything about it.

It says a lot that it took thirty-seven pro fights and nineteen world title fights to finally find out what would happen when Golovkin meets someone not 100% built to lose to him. It also says a lot about just how hard it may be to make an accurate assessment of just how good he is.

Canelo Alvarez is not a pure boxer, not a mover, not a true thinker in the traditional boxing sense, but he can do a lot of those things better than just about anyone Golovkin has faced in the past. The 27-year-old Mexican star is the best all-around fighter Gennady has ever had to deal with and, while not truly stellar in any one area, he can do almost everything very, very well. Toss in a level of concentration second to none, laser-sharp focus, and the supreme confidence of an elite-level star—and Alvarez is a very tough character to beat.

What will happen when Triple G meets up with someone who can move well enough to avoid many of his best shots and then stop on a dime, stand in the pocket, and confidently shoot back counters? What will happen when Triple G meets someone brave and confident enough to crowd him and rip thudding body shots to the gut?

We don’t know the answer to any of these questions or to any questions regarding Golovkin’s ability to adapt and fight back against a real, live foe.

None of this means that Golovkin won’t prove himself to be as good as years’ worth of mega-positive press clippings have told us. It just means that we honestly don’t know much about this guy who, despite a long and accomplished amateur career and an eighteen-bout world title reign, has not really had to show all that much in becoming a media darling and a widely-regarded “all-time great” at 160.

Saturday, we’ll know a lot more about who Gennady Golovkin really is.

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Golovkin vs. Brook 2016 – Full Fight (HBO Boxing)

Classic Fights: Gennady Golovkin vs. Daniel Jacobs

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  1. Kid Blast 12:08pm, 09/16/2017

    Sorry but it was Fat Tony Salerno who first said to the FBI “go fuck yourself.” Frank was an actor. Fat Tony was not.

  2. Billy Batts 07:36am, 09/15/2017

    Indeed it looks like the smart money is on GGG. How about some memorable Frank Vincent quotes.
    “Go f*ck yourself.”
    “I don’t want to get all bloody.”
    “Now go get your f*ckin’ shine box.”

  3. trebor relos 10:26pm, 09/14/2017

    i would go for golovkin a surely win for this fight, but we don’t know what will happen bec. sometimes the judges will rule the score cards.

  4. buddhabob 09:38pm, 09/14/2017

    Look, Jacobs was more like a light heavy and had 20 lbs on Golovkin in that fight. He’s 6’2 for god’s sake and a nasty,tough fighter. The red head will wither slowly on the accumulation of GGG’s power, his thudding jab and his pressure. Remember what happened to the last fighter who couldn’t handle Golovkin’s jab? Lemieux, was pile driven into the canvas several times and was looking around for his mother. Canelo does not really use his jab. He does not lead with it. Too bad for him. He will be eating Russian leather all night before the Cossack turns the lights out by round 9.

  5. Norm Marcus 05:10pm, 09/14/2017

    This fight will not go the limit. Gennady wins by KO in round 8.
    No one has wanted to risk going into the ring with Golovkin in years.
    Finally the money has out weighed the risk and Alvarez takes the match.
    It would have been nice if Mayweather had stepped up to middleweight and confronted Golovkin in his last fight. He finally would have shown some class!
    Instead Floyd took the easy money and fought a cage fighter that didn’t know how to box. Very brave of him…Fighting an aging, crippled Pac Man was also heroic!
    Andre Ward is running away from a Golovkin fight too. Hand troubles, a full moon, plenty of excuses there.
    Triple G in 8
    Just one man’s opinion.

  6. David 01:16pm, 09/14/2017

    No big names in the welterweight or middleweight division wanted to challenge GGG until now. Not Mayweather, and not even the supposed best fighter pound for pound today, Andre Ward. The Russian will be too big, too strong, and his punch will be too much for the Mexican, I think.

  7. Steven Stahler 11:29am, 09/14/2017

    Let’s not forget the fact Canelo has never Ko’d a quality opponent. That his last 2 years of victories came against nobodies and Cotto was smaller and WAY past his prime, a guy that Pac Man decimated in their fight when Cotto was prime. Canelo is a very highly hyped contestant that will be put in his place shortly.

  8. Timothy Agoglia Carey 11:24am, 09/14/2017

    Here’s the rub….Canelo has the physicality and the mentality to take a lickin’ and keep on tickin’ in this fight….which portends for a long night even the full twelve rounds. GGG says he is” Mexican” too….here’s the problem with that…. after twelve rounds of listening to the screaming chauvinistic fux in the crowd, the three stooges/judges will start thinkin’ they’re “Mexican” too….guaranteed!

  9. Tommy 10:47am, 09/14/2017

    GGG by TKO9. RIP to Frank Vincent. Vincent is now in Heaven after telling Satan to go get his shine box. There will not be a Pesci-Vincent IV for Frank to even up the score.

  10. Timothy Agoglia Carey 08:13am, 09/14/2017

    Sorry about the misfire! I had Caryn Tate on my mind!

  11. Timothy Agoglia Carey 08:10am, 09/14/2017

    @Red Plains-Yikes!This one is being analyzed to a fare thee well! Two questions: (1) Why didn’t Canelo get weight drained and weak as a kitten Chavez Jr out of there?! BTW saying that Baby Huey is a big lummox and was in survival mode is not an acceptable answer. (2) Why the deep discounting of Danny Jacobs who had a 15 pound pull on GGG and was fighting like it was a matter of life and death with the loser to be taken out back and shot! Analyze this….CCC is not Kovalev and Canelo is not Ward….not by a long shot….. and Danny Jacobs is sure as hell not Chavez Jr just ask Quillen about that.

  12. Koolz 06:27am, 09/14/2017

    sure I know what to expect GGG TKO’s Canelo.
    there you go.
    now my last time posting here before the fight.
    see ya.

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