Thursday, July 24, 2014

Can Geale Derail Golovkin’s Path Of Destruction?

Following Miguel Cotto’s dethroning of Sergio Martinez last month in what was a dominating performance, Boxing fans will again focus on New York’s Madison Square Garden on Saturday night for another world Middleweight championship fight. Undefeated unified WBA/IBO world champion Gennady Golovkin will defend his world title for the eleventh time against former two-time Middleweight world champion Daniel Geale.

Some readers may recall following Golovkin’s last title defense over Osumanu Adama in February that I stated that it was only a matter of time before Golovkin will get marquee fights against top stars. Following Cotto’s win over Martinez it has somewhat changed the landscape of the Middleweight division in that Cotto was not only victorious over the WBC champion Martinez in what was his first fight at Middleweight, but in doing so also defeated the man many considered the number one fighter in the division.

This has changed what appeared to be an obvious collision course between Martinez and Golovkin. It has however, set up a potential fight between Cotto and Golovkin that Boxing fans should eagerly anticipate. Before Golovkin can set his sights on Cotto in a fight to further unify the Middleweight division, he faces what could be his most difficult test to date in the form of Daniel Geale.

The question heading into this fight is can Daniel Geale find a way to derail the path of destruction that Gennady Golovkin has carved out in the Middleweight division since becoming champion in 2010. After ten successful title defenses and sixteen consecutive knockouts, Golovkin certainly has to be viewed as the favorite heading into this fight. Being in the position of an underdog however, is not something new for Daniel Geale.

Geale is a two-time world champion that many fans will remember for his performance against former longtime Middleweight world champion Felix Sturm. A fight where Geale outworked Sturm and won the decision in Sturm’s home country of Germany. Despite Golovkin’s devastating knockout streak and an overall career knockout percentage of nearly 90%, Geale does have the type of style and skill that poses an interesting challenge for Golovkin.

Geale is a fighter who likes to use lateral movement and execute his offense in volume. In Golovkin’s last six fights he was able to either gradually break his opponents down or end fights quickly, as he showed in March of last year when the champion ended his fight with Nobuhiro Ishida with one punch in what this observer felt was the knockout of the year.

An argument could be and perhaps should be made that the only fighter who has been able to provide some resistance against Golovkin was top contender Curtis Stevens. Stevens put forth a “Game” effort in his challenge of the champion last November before being stopped at the end of the eighth round. 

The key to this fight in my mind is simple whether or not Daniel Geale can establish himself as an elusive target and be able to avoid the consistent seek and destroy pressure of the champion. If Geale is able to be elusive, use his lateral movement, and hand speed to avoid Golovkin’s pressure it could  nullify the champion’s offense. This may put the champion in a scenario that he has not faced thus far by potentially being behind on the scorecards if Geale is able to take this fight into the late rounds. An important thing to remember as this fight approaches is that Gennady Golovkin has only gone as far as ten rounds only once in his career, in his stoppage of former Jr. Middleweight world champion Kassim Ouma in 2011.

As I have said in my previous coverage of Gennady Golovkin, when a fighter has scored as many consecutive knockouts as Golovkin has, questions regarding that fighter’s stamina may indeed be warranted. Although Golovkin has gone the distance three times in his twenty-nine career wins, those fights were only scheduled for eight rounds. A question that will follow Golovkin with each fight will be whether or not fatigue will be a factor and more specifically whether or not his punching power will be affected if he is extended into the later rounds of a twelve round championship fight.

This could be the fight that will answer that question. Golovkin will not only face a man who is a former world champion, who not only has good lateral movement and hand speed, but also a man who has never been stopped in thirty-two professional fights.

Following Golovkin’s last fight, a seventh round stoppage of Osumanu Adama in February, I stated that no matter who emerged victorious out of the Martinez-Cotto showdown one might argue that it would present a win/win scenario for Golovkin. With Golovkin-Geale taking place in Madison Square Garden and given that Miguel Cotto has been a significant draw at The Garden for several years, if Golovkin is able to retain his world title in his bout with Geale it would certainly set up what would be one of the most intriguing fights in recent memory and a hot ticket attraction if the fight were to take place at The Garden. 

If however, Golovkin is looking past Geale to a potential fight with Cotto, the ingredients might be there for what some would consider an upset. This observer will again remind readers of what I said following Golovkin’s last title defense in that it will be interesting to see if someone can throw a monkey wrench into any plans that Golovkin could have for potential big money fights down the road. 

If there is a Middleweight out there who can truly test Gennady Golovkin, it still remains to be seen. We will see whether or not the former world champion Daniel Geale is the Middleweight who can provide that test for Golovkin on Saturday night.

“And That’s The Boxing Truth.”

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