Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Why Golovkin Should Face Alvarez-Khan Winner

On April 23rd at The Forum in Inglewood, CA undefeated unified WBA/IBO/IBF Middleweight world champion Gennady Golovkin climbed into the ring to make the sixteenth defense of his world championship against undefeated IBF mandatory challenger Dominic Wade. The question going into this fight was the same as virtually every previous Golovkin title defense. Would Golovkin’s opposition be able to provide the world champion with a significant test?

What would happen in this fight would be almost a classic example of a fighter taking full advantage of an opening left for him by his opponent. Golovkin dropped Wade with a right hand at the end of the first round and subsequently scored two more knockdowns in the second round to earn his twenty-second consecutive knockout and successfully defended his championship over a “Game”, but over matched challenger.

Prior to this fight, this observer discussed Dominic Wade’s ability to box and use lateral movement in saying that it would be interesting to see whether Wade would be able to work behind a consistent jab and use his movement to offset Golovkin’s steady pressure. Although the challenger was more than willing to let his hands go in this fight, he opted to not use much lateral movement and allowed the champion to dictate how the fight was fought. What was more troublesome for the challenger was that he could not land anything to discourage Golovkin from coming forward.

As has been the case several times throughout Golovkin’s championship reign once he saw his opening the end came sudden and quick. Even though this was not a one punch knockout, once Golovkin scored the first knockdown of the fight it seemed as though it is only a matter of time as Wade really did not have an answer to first recover and second combat Golovkin, who sensed he had his challenger in trouble.

The first of the three knockdowns in this fight came as a result of a right hand that seemed to land behind the ear, but was ruled correctly a knockdown as Wade was turning away from the punch as Golovkin threw it. Wade appeared to go down awkwardly and never seemed to recover from the first right hand. In the second round Golovkin continued to apply pressure and landed some very effective punches the body of Wade, which set up the challenger to go down for the second time as a result of a right hand to the head and it was Golovkin’s right hand that would subsequently finish the fight moments later as he knocked Wade down for the count for a third and final time.

Although this fight ended up being a mismatch, it was another demonstration of not only Gennady Golovkin’s devastating punching power, but the systematic approach in how he executes his offense. Prior to this fight, this observer also discussed the potential of a lucrative fight that might be on the horizon for Golovkin against the winner of the upcoming WBC Middleweight world championship fight between champion Saul Alvarez and former Jr. Welterweight world champion Amir Khan.

As some Boxing fans might know in addition to holding three of five recognized world championships in the Middleweight division, Golovkin also holds interim championship status in the World Boxing Council’s (WBC) Middleweight ratings per his victory in a title defense over previous WBC number one contender Marco Antonio Rubio in October 2014. This theoretically should entitle him to a fight against the WBC world champion in what would be a unification bout.

Although readers have heard me state in the past that Golovkin’s interim status does not mean much as he is already a unified world champion, I believe it is time for the World Boxing Council to step in and ensure that Golovkin gets the opportunity to face the winner of Alvarez-Khan after not getting the opportunity to face Alvarez following his world championship victory over Miguel Cotto in November of last year. Even though there has been some discussion among both Boxing fans and experts alike as to whether or not a potential fight between Golovkin and Alvarez would indeed take place at the 160lb. Middleweight limit or if a fight between the two would take place at a “Catchweight”, this observer believes as an old school Boxing historian and enthusiast that if a fight between two were to occur it should be at the official Middleweight limit.

It is no secret to longtime readers or those that I have the pleasure of talking Boxing with on a regular basis that I am not a fan of “Catchweight” fights where more often than not fighters who compete at a lower weight class will fight against a fighter who has competed in a higher weight class, but will force that fighter to come down in weight in order for the fight to take place. I am one who believes that if a fighter who has fought in lower weight classes wants to compete against those who have fought in a higher weight class they should do so at that higher weight. The bottom line is it does nothing for a fighter who has fought in a lower weight division by fighting someone who traditionally fights in a higher weight class at a weight lower than where that fighter usually competes. Even if the fighter who has fought in a lower weight class wins the “Catchweight” fight it does nothing as theoretically the naturally bigger fighter will have fought at a weight where they are not as strong and are thus compromised.

After all, many of the legendary fights involving fighters who were moving up in weight to face a world champion at a higher weight division did not involve “Catchweights” and if the fighter who was moving up in weight emerged victorious they were often given more credit for their accomplishment than has been the case in recent times with “Catchweight” bouts. A more cynical point of view just might be that financial figures are often considered the more important factor as to where a fight takes place in terms of the weight scale.

Although of course, we do not know who will be victorious between Saul Alvarez and Amir Khan as of this writing, if either of them want to be taken seriously as not only a “Middleweight World Champion”, but also as a fighter recognized as a star of the sport, the winner that fight should face the fighter who has more than earned his chance to show what he can do on Boxing’s biggest stage. Simply put, after sixteen successful title defenses and now twenty-two consecutive knockouts it’s time for Gennady Golovkin to get the “Marquee” or “Super Fight” that is reserved for Boxing’s biggest stars. It is a fight that he has not only earned, but should not have to go down in weight to “Catch.”

“And That’s The Boxing Truth.”

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