The Middleweight championship fight between undefeated WBA/IBO world champion Gennady Golovkin and top contender and former two-time world title challenger Marco Antonio Rubio had what appeared on paper to have all the makings of a shootout between two knockout artists. Golovkin, one of Boxing’s hottest rising stars, who entered the fight undefeated in thirty professional fights, scoring twenty-seven knockouts. The champion also entered having knocked out his previous seventeen opponents and successfully defended his title eleven times. The champion faced what appeared to be his toughest test to date in Marco Antonio Rubio.
Rubio, the longtime Jr. Middleweight and Middleweight contender and veteran of sixty-six professional fights entered the fight having scored fifty-one knockouts in fifty-nine career wins. Rubio also held interim status in the World Boxing Council’s (WBC) Middleweight ratings. Before the fight took place however, there was a slight controversy that emerged when Rubio failed to make the 160lb. Middleweight limit at the weigh-in on October 17th. Rubio who weighed 161 ¾lbs. was fined $100,000 of his purse for the bout, lost his interim status in the WBC’s ratings, and was unable to win Golovkin’s unified championship if he were to emerge from the bout victorious.
Although Rubio was unable to make weight, the championships as well as Rubio’s previous interim status remained on the line for the champion Golovkin. All the anticipation of what some expected to be a head-on collision between two power punchers culminated when Golovkin and Rubio squared off on October 18th at the StubHub Center in Carson, California. No matter how a fight may look on paper however, sometimes it does not always appear to live up to the anticipation that often precedes a fight when the fight actually takes place.
Although the first round of this fight was competitive the clear difference was not only the champion’s ability to out land the challenger, but also the systematic approach in which Golovkin set up his offense. Even though what has endeared Golovkin to Boxing fans is his seek and destroy style along with devastating punching power, what should not be overlooked is Golovkin’s approach that sets up his offense.
Golovkin has shown an ability to be aggressive, but at the same time be very accurate with his offense and has also shown patience in waiting for opportunities to present itself without looking recklessly for a knockout. Golovkin’s ability to cut off the ring and be very accurate with his offense is one facet along with his punching power that makes him such a devastating force.
Rubio was able to land some punches in the first round, but he could not dictate how the fight was to be fought and Golovkin was able to take Rubio’s offense and keep pressing forward. This would set the stage for the second round. Golovkin continued to apply pressure on Rubio in the second round behind his consistent jab, which set up opportunities to land his right hand. Rubio did land a couple of solid body shots in close, but he could not land anything significant enough to halt the champion’s pressure. A right hand followed by a left uppercut from Golovkin sent Rubio back on the ropes. Golovkin would knock Rubio down with a left hook to the head moments later. Rubio was counted out by Referee Jack Reiss at 1:19 of round two. With the win Golovkin scored his eighteenth consecutive knockout and his twelfth successful title defense of his unified WBA/IBO Middleweight world championship.
Prior to this fight I stated that it would be interesting to see how Golovkin would respond to Rubio’s punching power. It was clear in this fight that the edge in punching power was in Golovkin’s favor. I also stated prior to this fight that it would be of equal interest to see how Rubio would respond to Golovkin’s power. Even though this fight did not last long, Rubio did take some punishment before absorbing the left hook that ended the fight.
Although this ultimately did not prove to be the test that some expected for Golovkin, it was another demonstration of his devastating punching power on full display. Whether or not Marco Antonio Rubio was affected in any way by the difficulty he had in trying to make the Middleweight limit of 160lbs. is a subject for debate. This observer believes that it was more a case of Golovkin being simply the harder puncher of the two more than the potential issue of weight that led to Rubio’s downfall in this fight. As for Rubio’s weight issues, some may criticize a fighter for not making weight. Sometimes, despite all the effort a fighter might make in training, the fighter’s body simply cannot make a weight limit.
I suggested prior to the fight that Rubio may have been looking at this fight as his last chance to win a world championship. If this is not the end for Rubio and if he can no longer make the Middleweight limit, it will be interesting to see what potential options may be available to him in the 168lb. Super-Middleweight division.
As for the champion Gennady Golovkin the outlook for him remains the same as it was following his title defense over Daniel Geale earlier this year. As Golovkin continues to score knockouts Boxing fans and experts alike will continue to question who may be able to give Golovkin a significant test. Off of this latest victory, it will be interesting to see if fighters who are considered by most to be stars of the sport in or around the Middleweight division will be interested in challenging the undefeated champion for his title.
What will be interesting coming out of this fight is if a potential fight between Golovkin and WBC champion Miguel Cotto is on the table in 2015. In addition to retaining his title against Rubio, Golovkin also earned interim status in the WBC’s ratings. Although this is likely the first time a world champion has earned status that would put him in line to challenge for another title in the same weight division, I believe that is a moot point given that a fight between Golovkin and Cotto would be a unification bout if it can be made. For his part following the fight against Rubio, Golovkin called out Cotto, Saul Alvarez, and Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. for potential fights.
This observer believes it’s more likely that a fight between either Golovkin and Cotto or Alvarez seems more logical at this point, due to Chavez Jr. fighting in the Super-Middleweight division and it is doubtful that he could move back down in weight to 160lbs. given his own difficulties making that weight when he was campaigning as a Middleweight. Another scenario if a fight with Cotto, Alvarez, or Chavez Jr. is not what is next for Golovkin is for Golovkin to potentially face Danny Jacobs or Dmitry Chudinov who each hold regular/interim status in the WBA’s ratings. With the situation concerning what might become of the IBF Middleweight championship remaining uncertain for the time being, it will be interesting to see who Golovkin will fight next out of the potential five opponents.
With now twelve successful title defenses a storyline that might become increasingly interesting with each title defense Gennady Golovkin attempts will be the potential march towards the Middleweight championship record for successful title defenses in the division which was set by current unified WBA/IBF Light-Heavyweight world champion Bernard Hopkins, who reigned atop the Middleweight division from 1995-2005 defending his title an incredible twenty times. We will see what the next chapter in the career of Gennady Golovkin has to offer.
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