The Week That Was (Oct. 28 - Nov. 3, 2013)

By Teron Briggs on November 4, 2013
The Week That Was (Oct. 28 - Nov. 3, 2013)
The fans wanted to see a brawl, and the two warriors didn't disappoint. (Naoki Fukuda)

Golovkin’s trainer, Abel Sanchez, told the press after the fight, “Gennady was mad. He doesn’t want to admit it, but he was mad coming into the ring…”

Ringside Recap:

Madison Square Garden Theater, New York, New York, USA

Boxing’s most fearsome puncher Gennady “GGG” Golovkin stops another foe

“Don’t make me angry. You wouldn’t like me when I’m angry.” Though those are the words of fictional superhero The Incredible Hulk they might as well have come from the mouth of WBA middleweight titlist Gennady “Good Boy” Golovkin (28-0, 25 KOs).

For months, Golovkin was subjected to endless amounts of trash talk from brash challenger Curtis Stevens (25-4, 18 KOs) who vowed days before their fight he would “f——Gennady Golovkin up.” For his part, the usually genial titleholder, who’s known almost as much for his endearing smile as he is for his ability to dish out fistic beatdowns, refused to trade insults with the challenger. He insisted he wasn’t angered by his opponent’s antics, which included Stevens staging a mock funeral in his hometown of Brooklyn with a casket with Golovkin’s initials on it. However, his trainer, Abel Sanchez, told the press after the fight, “Gennady was mad. He doesn’t want to admit it, but he was mad coming into the ring.” After brutalizing Stevens for eight rounds and forcing his corner to end the vicious carnage, Golovkin was once again all smiles.

After stopping 14 straight opponents and racking up a gaudy 89% knockout percentage in 27 career fights Golovkin, who also goes by the nickname “GGG”, found it increasingly difficult to find a worthy challenger willing to face him. Resurrected middleweight contender Curtis Stevens, winner of four straight contests, was amenable to the task, for the right price. After some haggling by his promoter Main Events over his purse, he jumped at the chance to face the Kazakh fighter on HBO.

The scene at the Theater at Madison Square Garden could’ve been taken right out of Kazakhstan. Thousands of GGG supporters turned out to support their hero as many waved the bright sky blue county’s flag throughout the night. After an exciting heavyweight tussle in the main undercard fight the fans in attendance at the packed Theater were ready for more than just the “Sweet Science”—they wanted to see a brawl, and the two warriors didn’t disappoint.

After a pretty evenly matched first round that GGG won by establishing an accurate jab, fireworks went off in the second. Midway through the round, the WBA titleholder landed a sick left hook that upended the Brownsville, Brooklyn native from his feet and sent him careening to the canvas with a loud thud. Though Stevens was clearly hurt after tasting GGG’s vaunted power, he refused to back down.

The third round saw the challenger do little offensively as he tried to get his bearing back, but he was much more competitive in the fourth and fifth rounds. With his corner pleading with him to throw his jab so he could get within reach of the longer fighter, Stevens found some success with quick flurries as he tried to maneuver out of harm’s way. Whenever GGG would land a good combination, Stevens would land one or two hard shots in return to temporarily halt his attack.

Stevens inability to stifle GGG’s offense with a steady jab got him in big trouble in the sixth round. Good Boy threw an astounding 102 punches in the frame, connecting on a whopping 41, as he literally raked Stevens from corner to the corner. Uppercuts, hooks, body shots and overhand right hands started to take their toll on the challenger by the seventh. Despite the nonstop assault, Stevens refused to wilt under the pressure as he valiantly tried to stand his ground. However, after an eighth round in which he absorbed a frightening amount of punishment his trainer and uncle, Andre Rozier, rightfully stopped the contest.

Afterwards, Stevens promised that the loss wouldn’t’ be the “end” for him and he would learn from his “mistakes” and would be back. After some time off, I for one would love to see him matched with another top contender in the division. GGG gave himself a “10” when asked how he graded his performance. The jubilant fans that chanted his name and celebrated for some time after the mauling most certainly agree. “I am ready to fight anybody, but specifically I want to fight Sergio Martinez (lineal champion),” GGG would say about his thoughts on his next opponent. As much as boxing fans would love that matchup, we’re more likely to see Bob Arum and Oscar De La Hoya go for a carriage ride in Central Park together. The 38-year-old Martinez, who is currently rehabbing a knee injury and is not expected to return to the ring until the spring of 2014, is likely to face boxing superstar Miguel Cotto next. GGG’s promoters, K2, are already prepared to bring him back as soon as February possibly in Monte Carlo. No victim, I mean opponent, has been named.

Perez decisions Abdusalamov in exciting scrap; Mago hospitalized for blood clot in brain

After engaging in an unexpectedly entertaining but brutal fight, Russian-born and Florida-based heavyweight Magomed Abdusalamov was placed in a medically induced coma following brain surgery to remove a blot clot suffered in a 10-round unanimous decision loss. As of Sunday evening, the 32-year-old Abdusalamov was in stable condition in intensive care after having a piece of his skull removed to allow swelling in his brain to go down. Abdusalamov was initially taken to Roosevelt Hospital in New York because he believed his nose and hand were broken in the fight. It was only then that doctors discovered the brain clot. HBO Sports president Ken Hershman issued this statement: “The thoughts and prayers of all of us at HBO Sports are with Magomed Abusalamov. We are grateful for the medial care he is receiving in New York City and out of respect for Magomed and his family, we will wait for any official updates on his condition before making any further statements.”

Ireland resident, by way of Cuba, Mike Perez (20-0, 12 KOs) recorded the biggest victory of his career when he beat the gutsy but limited Abdusalamov (18-1, 18 KOs) over 10 ferocious rounds of action at MSG Theater. The two southpaws performed a trick that even David Copperfield couldn’t pull off. They put on an exciting and combative heavyweight fight.

Abdusalamov is best known for his second round stoppage of long faded heavyweight title challenger Jameel McCline in September of last year. Perez’s record has a few recognizable names on it, but his background that saw him escape Cuba to move to Ireland garnered the most attention in the prefight hype. Both fighters entered the contest undefeated as they vied for the not so coveted USNBC belt, which is in no way related to the network television station bearing the similar name.

From round one till round ten the two hit each other with the frequency of featherweights, but with the power only heavyweights can posses. As early as the first round, Mago was staggered by a straight left hand from Perez. By the third round, they were fighting nose-to-nose as neither felt the need to use their jab as they exchanged heavy shots. They traded bombs through the middle rounds as Perez gained control of the fight, though Mago remained a constant threat. That neither fighter was knocked down was a testament to both of their chins as they each were hit by clean power punches. The Russian seemed to be outworking Perez, but his shots weren’t as accurate as the Cuban native.

The amount of abuse Abdusalamov was taking in the latter half of the fight was alarming. His face was starting to become grotesque, almost resembling the “Elephant Man” as one boxing scribe tweeted, as Perez battered him. In the 9th round veteran third man in the ring Benji Estevez shockingly deducted a point from Perez for a legitimate low blow, however the fighter had not previously committed any infraction nor did he receive any warning. The 10th round featured a one-sided beating as Perez had his way with Abdusalamov, who was barely able to remain standing and was in a tremendous amount of trouble. The judges unanimously scored the fight for Perez 97-92 twice and 95-94.

Hopefully the distressing outcome of this contest for Abdusalamov will help dictate the course of action that those in the sport take when our fighters are suffering a frightful beating. The notion that a fight should be stopped if it is uncompetitive and one man is being brutalized is common, but most people around the sport are reluctant to halt a contest that is close. The fighter’s corner is unfortunately sometimes the last to realize a fight needs to be stopped because they want to give their man, who’s worked his ass off to prepare for this moment, every opportunity to win. What they fail to realize is in trying to win the fight, their man could risk losing much more. We need the referee, ringside physician and most importantly boxing commissions to assert their power and do what sometimes even the fighters cannot do for themselves, and that’s protect them at all times.

Afolabi wins lightly regarding IBO cruiserweight title in dull affair

Former world title challenger Ola Afolabi (20-3-4, 9 KOs) won a majority decision over Lukasz Janik (26-2, 14 KOs) on the untelevised portion of the Golovkin vs. Stevens HBO card. The fans watching at home didn’t miss much, as the two seemingly fought through the motions for much of the fight before trying to slug it out in the late rounds.

Afolabi previously came up short in three spirited attempts to win Marco Huck’s WBO title, losing two of the contests by decision and receiving a draw in a third, all held in the champion’s home country Germany. Unfortunately for US fight fans he didn’t bring that same “spirit” to the ring with him against Janik, who seemed more interested in clinching with the UK native than fighting him.

Afolabi landed the cleaner and harder punches all night, though Janik did have some success in the fight. The judges had the contest for Afolabi by scores of 114-114, 117-111 and 115-113.

Centro de Usos Multiples, Hermosillo, Sonora, Mexico

Segura stops Marquez in the 12th round of Fight of the Year contender

Unfortunately I have not had an opportunity to watch what I’ve heard is an excellent fight, but I highly recommend you read the excellent recap by columnist Matt McGrain at this link:

Follow us on Twitter@boxing_com to continue the discussion

Gennady Golovkin vs Curtis Stevens / Геннадий Головкин Кертис Стивенс

Magomed Abdusalamov (Магомед Абдусаламов) vs Mike Perez (Майк Перез)

Giovani Segura vs Hernan Marquez full fight 02.11.2013

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  1. Ted 06:13pm, 11/05/2013

    I like what Max said about GGG. the EURO PAQUIAO. First euro to capture the fancy of the US fans, though I say Froch is close to being another.

  2. bk don 02:40pm, 11/05/2013

    FD - that was definitely my error. Sitting ringside I didn’t see the warnings prior the deduction. Thanks for pointing it out.
    Ted - Agreed!

  3. Ted 09:28am, 11/05/2013

    Great quote about these fight:

    “Three men from three very different parts of the world, bound together– not just by occupation, but by human nature. In the world away from the fake civility of an overfed, cushy suburban lifestyle, the less fortunate are engaged in perpetual struggle. Fight or Die. This is the desperation that breeds warriors. This the reality of those who choose to fight for a living.”

  4. Ted 12:51pm, 11/04/2013


  5. FrankinDallas 09:44am, 11/04/2013

    The ref warned Perez twice about low blows before deducting a point. Perez repeatedly hit Mago low in the second round. The second warning was after the ref separated the two boxers, asked Mago if he was alright, held up 2 fingers (for second time) and said to Perez “keep em up”.

    Happens at 19:00 of the video.

  6. Ted 08:41am, 11/04/2013

    It was a great week for great fights!

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