On Saturday night at Madison Square Garden, Gennady Gennadyevich Golovkin destroyed David Lemieux in eight rounds, thus establishing himself as the most dominant force in boxing since Floyd Mayweather Jr.’s retirement in September.
For Golovkin the evening was a coming out party.
He simultaneously sold out Madison Square Garden (over 20,000 in attendance), established himself as a pay-per-view star, and unified titles in the middleweight division, all while making it look relatively easy.
Among the screaming crowds were New York celebrities like Donald Trump and Louis CK, as well as boxing royalty from around the world. The crowd roared to life any time Golovkin’s name or image flashed across the big screen.
Mayweather Jr.’s retirement from boxing has left a vacuum at the top, and Golovkin seems the heir apparent, yet the two could not be more different.
Golovkin, a Kazakstani, is a humble man with a beaming smile. Only once he steps in the ring does his monstrous side come out.
In interviews, Golovkin never ever mentions finances or disparages other boxers. By all accounts, Golovkin is fixed with laser like focus on winning every title and cleaning out the middleweight division, and making boxing history against the stiffest competition he can find.
Female MMA superstar Rhonda Rousey, who has publicly feuded with Mayweather Jr., appeared absolutely dotty in an interview praising Golovkin’s technical abilities and candor. “He’s so cute… He’s such a gentleman.. He holds himself so well, I couldn’t say better things about him,” Rousey told Fighthype.com.
Stylistically, again, Golovkin is the antithesis of Mayweather Jr. While Mayweather Jr. focused on his defensive abilities and drawing opponents into cerebral chess matches where his speed and boxing IQ ruled the day every single time, Golovkin is a hard charging power puncher who isn’t afraid to take hard shots in order to land his own more devastating blows.
Here Golovkin takes a flush right hand shot from former champion Geale, but Golovkin’s return fire ends the fight:
In fact, a problem with Golovkin so far has been his difficulty in getting opponents to last more than two or three rounds with him, a fact that Golovkin acknowledged in his last fight when he stood in the center of the ring and invited the craft southpaw Willie Monroe to tee off on his face as much as he dared.
The result was a memorable and dramatic fight, in which Golovkin demonstrated his extreme degree of control over a determined opponent, as well as his dedication to the fans.
Here Golovkin gets hit with two good shots from Monroe, and beckons him to throw more:
In his ever-improving, yet still flawed English, Golovkin is often quoted as saying he wants to bring his fans a “Big drama show.” His poise, charisma, and willingness to engage head on with the best competition available make him the complete package of what a boxer should be.
Golovkin has a truly international appeal as a Central Asian star who speaks several languages and employs what fans have dubbed a “Mexican Style.” Golovkin’s prospects are limited only by the fact that few in his division are willing to fight him, and even fewer stand a chance of beating him. This trouble is exacerbated by the fact that unlike most boxers at Golovkin’s level who fight once or twice a year, Golovkin endeavours to fight as many as four times each year, taking on any challenger just to stay busy.
For boxing fans worldwide, the sun has set on Mayweather’s technically perfect yet somehow less than thrilling career, and the stage has been set for a new kind of champion who fights for the love of the sport and his fans.