MARCO ANTONIO RUBIO had originally hoped to fight Gennady Golovkin in October 2010 in the Kazakh’s first defence of his WBA middleweight crown. In boxing, as in life, you should be wary of what you wish for. Not many yearn for a fight with ‘GGG’ once, to do so twice is unwise in the extreme.
The tussle that was four years in the making lasted barely four minutes as Golovkin sent the Mexican hard-case sprawling to the deck with a clubbing left hook to the temple, ending matters after just one minute and 19 seconds of round two.
For the second fight in succession, Golovkin showcased staggering speed with brilliantly unorthodox execution. Having relieved former IBF middleweight holder Daniel Geale of his senses in Madison Square Garden with a scarcely believable right hand, another brutally unorthodox blow, this time with the other fist, accounted for Rubio. Delivered from above head height, the venomous fight-ender detonated with unerring accuracy. There are many pages to this Kazakh textbook, all of which make for chilling reading.
It should be noted that Rubio was not cannon-fodder, there only for gratuitous pension money, for he can misread the script when cast as underdog. In April 2011, he knocked out one of the sport’s rising stars, David Lemieux, in his Montreal lair when the highly-touted prospect had blitzed his way to 25-0, finishing 24 foes early. Unfazed by the Canadian’s dazzling PR machine, Rubio halted an exhausted Lemieux, whose mind was frazzled by the Mexican’s durability and chin, in the seventh session.
The 34-year-old challenger had also lost a highly competitive decision to Julio Cesar Chavez Jnr in April 2012, and tuned up for his latest world title tilt by becoming the first man to stop perennial fringe contender Domenico Spada (who takes on St Helens’ Martin Murray in Monaco next week) and has largely campaigned at super-middleweight over the past two years. Indeed, he failed to make weight for his date with GGG. However, all it meant on the night was that his naturally bigger frame hit the canvas with a bigger thud.
Golovkin’s savage second round destruction of Robert Garcia’s rugged Mexican charge was ‘Triple G’s 18th straight knockout victory, 11 of those coming in world title fights, and his 28th early finish on an unblemished 31-fight ledger. All of which means a frightening 90 percent of his foes have failed to hear the final bell.
Aside from the late undefeated Edwin Valero, no world champion in the sport’s recent history has achieved a higher knockout percentage than Golovkin. The tragic Venezuelan had amassed 27 knockouts from as many fights en-route to the WBC lightweight gong before taking his own life amidst sickening circumstances in April 2010. Sergey Kovalev owns an 88 per cent knockout percentage at light-heavyweight while ‘Dr Ironfist’, Vitali Klitschko, boasted an 87 percent knockout ratio during his heavyweight reign.
Blessed with balletic movement of foot and sublime boxing skills that accounted for an incredible 345 of his 350 amateur foes, and hideous knockout power in both hands, it is unsurprising that the queue to face Triple G is smaller than an oompa loompa’s foot print.
When Floyd Mayweather sits down with boxing’s omniscient advisor, Al Haymon, to discuss potential foes for his supposed penultimate fight in May, Golovkin is unlikely to be the foremost name on their notepads, unless it has an indelible cross through it.
Despite Gennady’s star soaring stateside, the man who looks like an amiable accountant but punches like a deranged mule, doesn’t quite fit Mayweather’s risk and reward model at this late stage in his Hall of Fame career. Fortunately for Floyd, the Karaganda wrecking ball has gone on record to say that he wouldn’t be interested in dropping down the weights, despite the loaded nature of the welterweight and light-middleweight divisions.
A year ago the mouth-watering prospect of a clash with WBC middleweight king Sergio Martinez, would undoubtedly have topped Triple G’s wish list. However, Martinez has dramatically fallen from the middleweight precipice following his stunningly one-sided beating by the division-leaping, history-maker Miguel Cotto.
Cotto was the man on Golovkin’s lips when asked who he wanted next by HBO’s Max Kellerman post-fight. Despite the magnetic appeal of a blockbusting Cotto-Golovkin dust up at Madison Square Garden, it’s highly unlikely that the Puerto Rican idol will fancy testing out his new offensive arsenal against the sport’s most savage operator. With his legacy secured as the first of his countrymen to win world titles in four divisions, giving away natural poundage (having largely campaigning at 140lb and 147lb during his illustrious career) to such a primitive puncher at the peak of his powers would be a huge risk.
If Cotto was undecided about whether to vacate his WBC strap or drop back down, Rubio’s distressing plight is likely to catalyze the downward transition. For being called out by Golovkin is boxing’s equivalent to walking the green mile and, barring an unlikely reprieve, your fate is depressingly dire.
Another frequently avoided fighter, the frustratingly inactive Andre Ward, would certainly fit the bill at super-middleweight or at a catch weight. A combination of injuries and legal wrangles have curtailed Ward’s activity of late, but the undisputed king at 168lb, would surely entertain such a fight given his huge natural weight advantage, having won Olympic gold in 2004 at light-heavyweight. Having wowed the west coast crowd in California, Golovkin would surely be an easy sell to the notoriously travel-shy ‘Son of God’ in his native Oakland fortress.
If unification fights are what drives Golovkin, perhaps putting on a 12-round snooze-fest would lure in a fellow title-holder. The unenviable souls loitering in boxing’s most dangerous queue, could be waiting a while for such an eventuality.
Goading the Kazakh doesn’t work either, as Curtis Stevens found out to his cost last November. The heavily chiseled American’s wholly unwise tweet, uploading a picture of a headstone with the Kazakh’s name inscribed on it, was a grave error of judgment. Gennady took vindictive revenge with an eight-round demolition of the brash New Yorker.
Golovkin has the boxing world at his feet, but getting anyone to dance with him is proving to be a wildly complex matter. For someone so remarkably laconic outside the ring, he is wondrously loquacious inside it. The perils of being fluent in such a dangerous language.