ON September 16 inside the T-Mobile Arena, unified middleweight champion Gennady Golovkin will go toe to toe with Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez, in one of the most anticipated fights of the year. Ahead of his blockbuster clash with the Mexican, this article looks at five defining moments in the Kazakh’s glittering career.
5. Amateur supremacy
Even before he turned to the professional ranks, Golovkin was a household name in his home country of Kazakhstan, putting together a remarkable amateur record of 345-5. Golovkin’s stock rose further, when he won gold at the 2003 World Championships in Thailand. The Kazakh defeated future world champions Andy Lee and Lucian Bute on his way to the final, where he beat Ukranian Oleg Mashkin. Golovkin’s amateur career came to a crescendo at the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens. He defeated Andre Dirrell in the semi-final, however, was beaten in the final bout by Russian Gaydarbek Gaydarbekov. This prestigious amateur pedigree gave Golovkin a solid foundation to build from as he went into the paid ranks.
4. Abel Sanchez connection
After moving to the professional ranks, Golovkin had ambitions of replicating the Klitschko brothers’ by fighting at Madison Square Garden. To achieve his dream Golovkin signed with K2 promotions, and teamed up with veteran trainer Abel Sanchez. The Big Bear based trainer had previous success with Hall of Famer Terry Norris, and was immediately impressed by the young Kazakh prodigy. Sanchez instilled a Mexican fighter’s attitude of aggression, with Golovkin’s controlled eastern European amateur style, this combination built a fighter who is ruthless as well as accurate.
3. First significant professional title
On the 14th of August 2010, Golovkin faced Colombian Milton Nunez for the WBA interim title in Panama. Golovkin’s opponent seemed out of his depth from the first bell, the bout was finished in the blink of an eye, taking Golovkin only 58 seconds to knockout Nunez. The Kazakh claimed the WBA interim belt, however, he was elevated to WBA regular champion later that year.
2. Kell Brook contest
British boxing fans were able to see the all-conquering Golovkin up close, when Sheffield’s Kell Brook went up two weight divisions to face the unified middleweight champion. Even though Brook was stepping up from welterweight, some believed that Brook could be the first to beat the Kazakh in the professional ranks. The Brit started the fight strongly, countering Golovkin’s punches effectively. However, after Golovkin increased the pressure, and Brook suffered a broken eye socket, Brook’s corner threw in the towel in round five. The fight was crucial in increasing Golovkin’s popularity in the UK, where boxing is going through a period of heightened popularity.
1. Defeating Daniel Jacobs
Golovkin added the regular WBA title to his collection, in front of a capacity crowd at Madison Square Garden. It was classed as a fight between the two best middleweights in the world, which rang true as Jacobs troubled Golovkin at times. However, after knocking Jacobs down in the fourth, and controlling the majority of the fight, the Kazakh kept his unbeaten record.