Via Michael Malaszczyk: Do you remember when Gennady Golovkin joined the stormy sport of boxing?
That year was 2015. Mayweather-Pacquiao’s “Fight of the Century” came and went and left many disappointed. Both Mayweather and Pacquiao were looking to retire, and by the time they retired the throne of the “King of Pounds” was vacant, a throne that Pacquiao and Mayweather had shared for years before their duel.
Two boxers emerged as potential successors to the throne: Saul “Canelo” Alvarez and Gennady “Triple G” Golovkin.
Canelo made his mark at the age of 154; he was the champion in that weight class and despite his crushing defeat to Floyd Mayweather, moved up to middleweight and beat Miguel Cotto by decision to win the WBC and Ring Magazine belts in middleweight.
But Golovkin is the one who is ready to take the number one spot.
Gennady Golovkin was an exciting and explosive knockout in the middleweight division, and in the early 2010s was shunned by big names in the league like Felix Sturm and Sergio Martinez. However, Golovkin won the WBA “Regular” belt as well as the IBO minor belt in 2010 and 2011, respectively, and fought through the middle divisions. He has racked up a number of notable wins over respected contenders such as Gabriel Rosado, Matthew Macklin, Curtis Stevens, Daniel Geare and Marco Antonio Rubio. Somewhere during this time, he was elevated to a WBA Super champion instead of a regular.
2015 was his best year in the sport to date. He knocked out worthy opponents Martin Murray (who is said to have been world champion more than once during his career) and Willie Monroe Jr., before being placed in the unification title with tough tennis player David Lemieux.
While Golovkin was the favorite, many felt Lemieux would be a tough test for him. It is anything but. Golovkin vs Lemieux was a one-way beat that saw Golovkin claim the middleweight IBF title.
A showdown with Canelo-Golovkin is imminent. But then, Canelo promoter Oscar De La Hoya poured cold water on the fight, saying it needed to be “marinated”.
Meanwhile, Golovkin battles the brave but superior Kell Brook and the cunning Daniel Jacobs. He won both, eventually forcing the fight with Canelo to come to fruition in September 2017.
Canelo Alvarez vs Gennady Golovkin was a competitive match that saw Golovkin beat Canelo for most of the match. Canelo made some sharp coordination from the outside and unleashed some beautiful power, but was eventually knocked out by Golovkin in 10 of 12 rounds. Most of the goals scored for Golovkin. The referees viewed it differently, and it was awarded a draw.
This draw included one of the strangest scorecards in boxing history; Judge Adelaide Byrd scored Canelo 118-110 (10 innings for 2). Golovkin and many boxing fans felt deceived by this, and a rematch was set for the following spring, then pushed back to the fall when Canelo failed a ghost test. drug.
The rematch is a much closer affair. While Golovkin still outplayed Canelo, using a trademark power shot for each round of the fight, Canelo fought the majority of the rematch with his front foot while Golovkin circled. Canelo unleashed many eye-catching chances and forced Golovkin to engage in the first half. Golovkin’s late-half surge leveled the playing field.
Many also gave this match score to Golovkin, despite agreeing that it was over. When Canelo was announced the winner by majority decision, there was disappointment but not much outrage on behalf of Golovkin.
And then Golovkin’s career took a different turn. While he has every right to feel relieved by the fights with Canelo, he didn’t make the best decision after the second Canelo fight.
He fired longtime coach Abel Sanchez and battled Steve Rolls in 2019, while Canelo put up a united fight against aforementioned Daniel Jacobs. He then went a step further in fighting for the IBF title (vacated by Canelo) against Sergiy Derevyanchenko, and won by a very close decision; many felt he looked as if he had aged during the battle with Derevyanchenko.
Rather than seek unity against Jermall Charlo or Demetrius Andrade, which will enhance his legacy, he seems content to sit on the belt and wait for Canelo, while Canelo has other plans.
In Golovkin’s defense, Canelo was told to “get a belt” for the trio, which he did. And while Canelo himself seems to have other plans, Oscar De La Hoya always seems to hang the fighting trio for Golovkin. At least until Canelo fires De La Hoya in 2020.
Golovkin battled the overwhelmingly superior Kamil Szeremata in 2020, and went on to emphasize that he was “ready for Canelo”. Canelo once again has other plans, fighting (and beating) Callum Smith in 2020, followed by Billy Joe Saunders and Caleb Plant in 2021 to become the undisputed champion at super-middleweight.
At no point during this time did Canelo seem interested in a fight with Golovkin. Meanwhile, another fight for Golovkin came to fruition; Ryota Murata.
Murata holds the WBA middleweight belt, also with Canelo vacating. This fight is GGG’s last stand.
For the first time in three years, Canelo seemed interested in a three-part match against Golovkin. It comes as a bit of a surprise, but it seems to have been agreed that Golovkin and Canelo will fight for the third time this fall, as long as they get past Dmitry Bivol and Ryota Murata.
Murata may not be the most overrated champion in the sport, but he’s not an easy match. He is taller than Golovkin, and possesses some strength. This war was an absolute victory for Golovkin for several reasons.
First, he needs to secure that Canelo trio. Second, he needs to claim his status as the greatest middleweight champion of all time by becoming a two-time unified middleweight champion. Undoubtedly, Golovkin was hard hit by boxing from 2010-2015, and then bad luck from 2016-2018. However, his performance from 2019-2021 has been disappointing and a potential stain on his career.
Confronting Murata, he has a chance to wash away the stain of inactivity, and any doubts about his legacy. While Murata isn’t the greatest win of all time, any middleweight who can become a unified champion at the age of 40 has certainly claimed a great place in the rich history of the heavyweight division. 160 lbs.
While many are shrug off this fight, Murata is a good fighter, and Golovkin has aged. This is really his last stand. If he lost this war, his career would be over for sure. Can he do it? We will know soon.