In October of last year undefeated unified WBA/IBO Middleweight world champion successfully made the fifteenth defense of his world championship by continuing his quest to fully unify the Middleweight division by stopping IBF world champion David Lemieux in eight rounds and in doing so added the IBF world championship to his unified crown. It was not only Golovkin’s fifteenth successful title defense in a reign that began in 2010, but also the champion’s twenty-first consecutive knockout.
Readers may recall following Golovkin’s dominating win over Lemieux last October this observer stated much as I have after several of Golovkin’s world title defenses that it is time for Golovkin to face a fighter who is considered a marquee star in the sport. I also stated after his victory over Lemieux that even though there were two other world champions in the division besides him that it is hard to argue against Golovkin’s statistics as being the number one fighter in the Middleweight division.
Golovkin’s victory over Lemieux also put him five successful title defenses away from tying the all-time record for most successful Middleweight championship defenses set by Bernard Hopkins from 1995-2005 of twenty successful defenses. Despite my opinion that Golovkin has more than earned his chance to show what he can do against a fighter considered to be a star in the sport, he has not yet secured that chance as the next chapter in Golovkin’s reign as unified Middleweight world champion will take place on Saturday night at The Forum in Inglewood, CA against undefeated contender Dominic Wade, who is currently rated number three in the world by the International Boxing Federation (IBF) and number eight by the World Boxing Council (WBC).
Although Wade will enter into this fight unbeaten with a record of 18-0, with 12 Knockouts, he will likely be considered a significant underdog against the champion, who enters with a record of 34-0, with 31 Knockouts and has a career knockout percentage of 91%. The challenger Wade will however, enter coming off of his most significant victory, a ten round split decision in June of last year over longtime division cornerstone and former world champion Sam Soliman.
Even though some might say that this fight will do little in terms of getting Golovkin in position for a marquee fight perhaps later this year, the danger in any fight regardless of the opposition is the potential of a world champion taking his opponent likely. As Golovkin has continued to carve out what this observer has called a path of destruction through the Middleweight division he has never shown any sign of treating an opponent as a mere afterthought, but after twenty-one consecutive knockouts and virtually dominating all opposition placed before him one might wonder if the struggle in securing a lucrative fight against a marquee star has taken a toll on him.
This observer also stated following the Lemieux fight that the most logical option was for Golovkin to face the winner of last November’s WBC world championship fight between Miguel Cotto and Saul Alvarez. Following Saul Alvarez’ victory over Miguel Cotto last November, I stated it would be logical to assume that a battle between he and Golovkin might be in the near future especially given that Golovkin also holds interim championship status in the WBC’s Middleweight ratings and said whether or not the WBC would in fact mandate a fight between the two to take place sometime this year remains to be seen.
As most Boxing fans know, Alvarez will make the first defense of his WBC world championship on May 7th against former Jr. Welterweight world champion Amir Khan at the new T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, NV in a fight that will be broadcast by HBO Pay-Per-View in the United States. It will be interesting to see should Golovkin successfully defend his title on Saturday against Dominic Wade whether or not the WBC will announce that it will mandate the winner of Alvarez-Khan to face him.
As for Dominic Wade he does not have the possibility of a fight against the winner of Alvarez-Khan to worry about. Wade is a fighter with good lateral movement and hand speed. The question for Wade is essentially the same that has been asked of every previous Golovkin opponent. Can Wade provide a significant test for the champion?
As virtually every previous opponent of Gennady Golovkin has found out, it is not an easy task to deal with a fighter who is not only a “Knockout Artist”, but is one that executes his fight plan in such a tactical measured way that few fighters have been able to go the distance against. It will be interesting to see if Wade, who can box and has the ability to throw many punches per round will be able to work behind a consistent jab and use his lateral movement to offset Golovkin’s steady pressure.
Fighters such as Willie Monroe and former Middleweight world champion Daniel Geale each had the movement that some felt would give Golovkin problems, but were ultimately unable to land anything to discourage Golovkin from coming forward. The key to this fight in my eyes will be if Wade can find a way to offset the champion from the outset and nullify Golovkin’s pressure. It is important that Wade continue to box even if he is able to win a couple of rounds against Golovkin. He must be an elusive target and not allow the champion to cut the ring off and trap him where Wade’s lateral movement might be nullified.
As for Golovkin is logical to assume that he will look to apply pressure from the outset and back Wade up. Golovkin is a fighter who can knockout opponents with either hand and has also shown the ability to take a punch as was the case against Daniel Geale when he absorbed a flush right hand to the head while throwing his own right hand, which would not only land flush, but knocked Geale down and subsequently ended the fight.
Whether or not Dominic Wade will be able to put together a fight plan that will have success against a fighter who has continued to compile a lengthy list of knockout victims and pull off what most would consider a significant upset remains to be seen. As for the champion this title defense of his WBA/IBO/IBF Middleweight world championship is another chapter in what could be a historical reign when all is said and done. Gennady Golovkin should remember however, that even though a lucrative fight may be on the horizon for him against a marquee star of the sport, his focus should squarely be on the fighter standing across the ring from him on Saturday night.
“And That’s The Boxing Truth.”
Golovkin vs. Wade takes place Tonight, (Saturday, April 23rd) at The Forum in Inglewood, CA. In the United States the fight will be televised by HBO Sports at 10 PM ET/7 PM PT. Check your local cable/satellite provider for time and channel in your area. In the United Kingdom and Ireland the fight can be seen on BoxNation at 2 AM (Sunday April 24 Local UK Time) for more information please visit www.HBO.com/boxing or www.BoxNation.com. Check your listings internationally.
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