Would Golovkin Beat Hagler?

By Robert Ecksel on February 1, 2016
Would Golovkin Beat Hagler?
"I hate to say this," said Jackson, "but there’s more hype to Golovkin than people realize."

John David Jackson, when talking about a possible fight between Golovkin and Canelo, mentioned Marvelous Marvin Hagler…

There are more what-ifs in boxing than oil in Saudi Arabia. Fight fans love to fantasize about dream fights, where pound-for-pound fighters from different eras get it on. How would Tyson Fury do against Muhammad Ali? How about Roberto Duran vs. Benny Leonard? What about Adonis Stevenson vs. Bob Foster, or a fight between Floyd Mayweather vs. Emile Griffith?

What about Gennady Golovkin vs. Marvin Hagler?

In an “On the Ropes” radio interview, Jenna J asked John David Jackson, the trainer of Sergey Kovalev, what he thought about the possible bout between Gennady Golovkin and Canelo Alvarez.

After discussing the upcoming fight between Manny Pacquiao and Timothy Bradley, which doesn’t concern us here, and the possibility of another fight between Pacquiao and Floyd Mayweather, which concerns us even less, John David Jackson, when talking about Golovkin vs. Canelo, mentioned Marvelous Marvin Hagler.

“I hate to say this,” said Jackson, “but there’s more hype to Golovkin than people realize. He’s good but he hasn’t fought the best in his division, but that’s not his fault, I’m not blaming him for that. But when you hear guys say that he’s better than Hagler, no, he wouldn’t have beat anyone like that.”

That anyone would dare suggest that today’s fighters are not as good as the fighters of the past is a sacrilege to some. Others simply shrug their shoulders and carry on.

“When people say Golovkin would beat Marvin Hagler, they’re either smoking something or drinking something or they’re just not with boxing at all. He’s good now in his era, but unfortunately for him in his era there’s not too many top middleweights, so he can run it. If he can fight these guys and meet them all, he would probably come out the winner.”

It’s hard to tell whether John David Jackson is a fan or a realist, but I’m leaning toward the latter.

“It’s gonna take one hell of a boxer to outbox Golovkin and be able to maneuver him around the ring and neutralize his power and beat him,” he said, “but I don’t see anybody that can do that right now at his weight. If there was a middleweight Roy Jones when Roy was younger, or a guy like James Toney, they would have taken him to school because Golovkin is strong but you don’t see the skill level that he has to show because he mainly outpowers most of the fighters that he goes against.”

Roy Jones and James Toney were something else. It’s easy to forget how fantastic they were, especially when both fighters have done their damnedest to besmirch their reputations.

“If Golovkin and Alvarez fight, I don’t think it will be a slugfest,” continued Jackson. “I don’t think Alvarez will stand toe-to-toe with him, I think he will try to outbox him and maneuver him around the ring. That would be a very interesting fight, if it happens it would be great. I doubt that it will happen for a lot of reasons, and I’ll go and record and say it, right now Alvarez is the cash cow for Golden Boy, and why would they want to stop the cash cow from making cash for them? Right now the fight makes no sense for those reasons.”

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Marvin Hagler vs John Mugabi



Marvin Hagler vs Thomas Hearns, April 15, 1985 [Full Fight]



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  1. tuxtucis 11:46pm, 05/29/2017

    @esto: after the Danny Jacobs fight it’s very difficult to see Golovkin beating an Hagler at his best. About Hearns, chin could be a factor in a match up. No comparison with Cuevas: the Mexican was a natural born, shorter, light chinned welterweight, while the Kazakh is a natural born iron chinned middleweight. Against The Hit Man, Golovkin could have at least the puncher chance.

  2. esto 05:47pm, 05/29/2017

    I’m showing my age, but I grew up watching Hagler, Hearns, Leonard, Duran, Benitez, et al. on TV—often. Golovkin can certainly punch, and is pretty effective at cutting off the ring.  However, Hagler was a much more complete fighter—very well-rounded, with a full bag of tools to work with.  He had better hand speed, better balance, better defense, better movement, and better combination punching than what I’ve seen from Golovkin.  GGG seems one-dimensional by comparison.  I’d say the pre-Mugabi Hagler would have outboxed GGG fairly handily.  I’ll go further: the Hagler who faced Hearns would have out-gutted and out-punched the current version of GGG for a mid-rounds stoppage.  That was peak Hagler—a ferocious beast.

    This may piss some people off, but, as styles make fights, I could easily see Hearns teeing off on GGG and stopping him with several of those long, thunderous rights.  (Basically, the same technique as in the Cuevas fight, but it would go longer.) Golovkin is just not that hard to hit, and his style would be tailor made for Hearns to exploit.

  3. R8chard Nii Ankrah 06:03am, 09/21/2016

    I strongly believe that GGG will be as tough like Floyd vrs Pacman, all the same GGG can only win hagler if only he avoids Marvin Hagler deadly punches.

  4. Rich 01:43am, 05/20/2016

    Golovkin would beat Hagler but you’ll never get anyone from the USA to admit it because they refuse to accept how good Golovkin is. It’s a shame that such a wonderful boxer/fighter like Golovkin gets so much disrespect from Americans when he is loved by everyone else around the world. That’s the US fight fans for you, they only respect their own. Golovkin from Eastern Europe will never get the respect he deserves from the USA. Particularly from Black Americans who are simply racist towards Golovkin. I feel sorry for him, he’s a great guy, respectful to everyone, inside and outside the ring, he’s a fantastic boxer/fighter, taking fights anywhere and everywhere he can, unafraid to fight anyone, including liars like Andre Ward who shamefully calls him ‘lil G’ and lies about the fact that Golovkin has twice offered to fight him but Ward denies it. Golovkin is great for boxing, certainly the best 160 fighter since Hagler and in my opinion better than him in terms of skill, footwork, power, cutting off the ring, more power and far more accurate than Hagler. But like I said no American will ever admit that Golovkin would beat Hagler or any other superstar boxer from the USA, but if Golovkin was American, he’d be considered the best 160 fighter of all time. And don’t give me this shit about Golovkin’s resume, he can only beat who wants to fight him! If all the other so called cowardly champions didn’t run away and duck him all the time he’d have that resume! Ward, Saunders, Cotto, Sturm, Lara, Mayweather, and the worst of them all Canelo the coward! All of them have said they could beat Golovkin and then refused to fight him! But that’s okay with Americans, as long as they can continue to slag Golovkin off, just ignore the ducks.

  5. Pynchon 02:42am, 02/03/2016

    So basically Jackson admits that no one can beat Golovkin and implies that Canelo should avoid him, but yet he claims Golovkin is overrated…hilarious.

  6. Eric 08:17am, 02/02/2016

    Hagler could be psyched out. He was psyched out in the Duran fight and gave Roberto way too much respect, and Leonard lived in Hagler’s head rent free. As dominant as Hagler was, let’s not forget that like Monzon, he largely built his reputation by defeating smaller men. Hagler’s wars in Philly aren’t as recognized as his battles with former lightweight and welterweight greats, Duran, Hearns and Leonard. IMO, Leonard won pretty damn convincingly in his fight with Hagler. I don’t see how anyone can say Hagler even came close to winning that fight. Let’s not forget that Hagler was retired by the time he turned 34 as well. A G3 win over Hagler isn’t impossible, I would say the odds would actually favor a Golovkin victory. Seeing as how Golovkin probably weighs about 170lbs during the fight, and that despite his muscles, Hagler was a small middleweight, G3 would also have a slight size advantage as well.

  7. tuxtucis 10:34pm, 02/01/2016

    I don’t give Hagler much credit for his win vs Hearns. Hitman was never a great over the 154 lbs limit and in his fight vs the Marvelous had the most idiot tactic a boxer had in a great fight: he traded punches vs a natural iron chinned middleweight instead trying to outbox him with his superior reach. Hagler was no more at his best, he had no more the movements he had at starts of his reign and relied on chin. Yo cannot trade punches with Golovkin as he did vs Mugabe.

  8. raxman 07:39pm, 02/01/2016

    shame on you all. although GGG looks great doing his thing, his thing so far has only been to beat guys that he was always going to beat. you know who else did that? Bute. Who else? Jeff Lacey. all the way up until they met a opponent of quality
    what do you think Hagler would have done to the quality of opposition GGG had faced.
    Golovkin is so far off proving anything close to what Hagler proved in the ring that he shouldn’t even be mentioned in the same sentence.

  9. Koolz 07:10pm, 02/01/2016

    Ok I decided to watch the Hagler vs Hearns fight of 1985…and
    no Golovkin would never fall for any of those wide a## hooks.  he would be throwing a pin point accurate jab, nobody is going to be jumping into his face to hook him like that.  He would be more accurate and Hagler is damn easy to hit in this fight.  This war.  Lemeiux vs GGG was supposed to be War.
    Golovkin had other ideas like say more intelligent boxing. 
    If Golovkin through bombs like those guys they would be on the Canvas, there to easy to hit.

    Ok that’s all I got.

  10. Koolz 05:35pm, 02/01/2016

    I can’t make up my mind on this one.  Will Golovkin beat Hagler will Hagler beat Golovkin.
    Hagler says one thing then he says something else, he doesn’t even know!
    I know one thing that everyone doesn’t give GGG enough credit.  They say silly things like GGG hasn’t even beaten the Champions of this Era.  Really what Champions are at middle weight that could beat GGG?

    When Golovkin moves up and he will at some point or fight say Degale I think people will be surprised. 
    Can Hagler take a GGG’s Body Shots over 15 rounds?  NO.

  11. Eric 02:47pm, 02/01/2016

    peter…Agree with all of your calls except I like Quarry over Bonavena by decision. I see Cooney taking out Coetzee as well, but if the big South African lands that bionic right on Cooney’s suspect chin, it could just as easily end in a knockout victory for Coetzee. Lyle’s power isn’t in the same league as Foreman, Shavers or Cooney, Norton takes the win.

  12. peter 01:48pm, 02/01/2016

    Golovkin vs. Hagler? That’s blasphemous! Hagler wins every time….@ Eric— your list of “bouts that should have taken place” is interesting. My thoughts are as follows: 1) Quarry vs. Bonavena—(Bonavena by decision); 2) Antuofermo vs. Hamsho—(Hamsho by TKO) 3) Cuevas vs. Palomino—(Palomino by decision); 4)  Norton vs. Lyle—(Norton by decision); 5) Cooney vs. Coetzee—(Cooney by KO).

  13. Eric 01:20pm, 02/01/2016

    Mickey Walker vs. Jake LaMotta? Some matches that should have and could have actually taken place include Quarry vs. Bonavena, Antuofermo vs. Hamsho, Cuevas vs. Palomino, Norton vs. Lyle, Cooney vs. Coetzee, etc. Some boxing mag back in the 80’s used to have a regular feature with these type of fantasy fights. They would pick three experts and they would give their takes/opinions and predictions of the particular fantasy matchup.Would be nice to see a regular fantasy fight thingie on this site as well.

  14. Irish Frankie Crawford Beat Saijo aka Gimpel 11:59am, 02/01/2016

    The Pittsburgh Windmill “was guilty of persistent holding and stalling” and “let entire rounds go by without making more than a weak show of attack”. This from a Boxrec reported newspaper account of Greb’s effort in his second fight with Tunney. The writer who more than likely was an eye witness to the goings on was clearly full of shit. Either that or Greb must have concluded early on in the fight that the ten pounds or so pull in weight that Tunney had was too high of a mountain to climb or perish the thought he may have decided that if he went balls in that night his windmilling ass just might have gotten knocked spark out! For my part, I say that long ago boxing reporter was full of shit!

  15. Pittsburgh Wildcat 08:03am, 02/01/2016

    Harry “F**kin’” Greb beats Hagler-G3-Spinks-Krusher all on the same night.

  16. didier 06:34am, 02/01/2016

    Hagler would be too allround for Golovkin,who has been fed too many
    fixed fights in the past

  17. Eric 06:27am, 02/01/2016

    G3 vs. Hagler? Hagler’s had a cast iron chin that stood up to punchers like Cyclone Hart, Hearns & Mugabi, but IMO, G3 hits even harder at 160lbs. I give a very, very slight edge to G3. Don’t forget as great as Hagler was, he was taken the distance by a less than great Antuofermo and a blown up lightweight, Duran. I would like to see Kovalev vs. Spinks or Foster. Kovalev has never been in there with a fighter who hits as hard as Michael or Bob. Another toughie, I favor the Krusher over Bob The Beast, but I’ll take Spinks in a decision over Kovalev. Ali wins going away against Fury, but Fury’s size and reach could make it interesting at times. Ali never fought anyone near that size except for some huge Hawaiian guy named Duke Sabedong ( don’t know if I have the last name correct)early in his career. Ali wins a lopsided decision or a late round tko over an exhausted Fury.  Duran vs. Benny Leonard? Duran would destroy him. Duran was an animal at 135lbs. You could line them all up, Gans, Leonard, Chavez, and even Henry Armstrong,  pick whoever, Duran comes out on top. IMO, there is no debate when it comes to the greatest lightweight of all time.

  18. tuxtucis 05:39am, 02/01/2016

    Prime for prime, Hagler beats Golovkin. But the Hagler who struggled vs Mugabi and lost to Leonard, maybe would lose to a prime Golovkin. Anyway it’s not difficult to see Golovkin ko the likes of Antuofermo, Minter, Hamsho, Obelmeijas and maybe Hearns too.
    Roy Jones was too quick for Golovkin and Toney was a better boxer, but he had to be in his best night…

  19. Jack The Lad 04:37am, 02/01/2016

    As we’re discussing fantasy bouts, Golovkin wins, IMHO, against Toney, Hopkins, Martinez, Fullmer, Benvenuti, Pender and Downes and loses to Jones, Hagler, Monzon, Giardello, Robinson, Burley, (and most of the black murderers row) Walker and of course, Greb.

    By the way, I’m a big fan of Golovkin and his aggressive style.  Although a huge banger, he’s a better boxer than most people realise and would be a handful for any middleweight in history.

  20. Clarence George 03:33am, 02/01/2016

    Intriguing and entertaining piece, Robert, and here are my predictions for the fantasy bouts listed:

    Tyson Fury vs. Muhammad Ali:  Ali (I mean, come on).
    Roberto Duran vs. Benny Leonard:  Leonard (fantastic fight).
    Adonis Stevenson vs. Bob Foster:  Foster (assuming he doesn’t go in too cocky).
    Floyd Mayweather Jr. vs. Emile Griffith:  Griffith (albeit closely contested).
    Gennady Golovkin vs. Marvelous Marvin Hagler:  Golovkin (but that’s a damn tough one to call).

    Roy Jones Jr. and James Toney were also mentioned as opponents for Golovkin.  Hmmm, I’ll go with Golovkin, though a bit tentatively.

    I think, by the way, that John David Jackson is somewhat underestimating the Kazakh.  He’s not the only one, but that doesn’t make him right.

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