Gennady Golovkin: Matthew Macklin, Golovkin’s opponent on Saturday night in Mashantucket, Conn., was supposed to be his biggest test. The Englishman was a good, strong boxer and tough, as he proved in a competitive setback against middleweight champ Sergio Martinez. Well, if that was a test, then Golovkin needs to skip a few grades. The Kazakhstani controlled the fight from the outset, keeping intelligent – and punishing – pressure on Macklin until he found an opening to end matters in the third round and retain the WBA middleweight title. Golovkin buried a left hook into Macklin’s liver, sending him to the canvas in great pain and unable to continue fighting. The official end came at 1:22. Now what? Golovkin (27-0, 24 knockouts) said immediately after the fight that he’s ready for anybody, a sentiment shared by anyone who has seen him fight. The problem is that there is no clear candidate in or near the 160-pound division. Sergio Martinez? Julio Cesar Chavez Jr.? Daniel Geale? Doesn’t matter. Their fate would be similar to that of poor Macklin.
Matthew Macklin: Let’s get something straight: Matthew Macklin (29-5, 20 KOs) is a good fighter. He lost a split decision to longtime titleholder Felix Sturm, a decision many believe should’ve gone his way, and he gave a peak Martinez trouble until falling in the 11th round. He deserved a second chance to fight for a major title. The Englishman simply ran into a superhuman opponent on Saturday night. That said, how many more opportunities will Macklin get? He is now 0-3 in his biggest fights, evidence that suggests he doesn’t quite have what it takes to get over the hump. I can see Macklin as a competitive fighter on the European scene for several more years; he’s only 31. And who knows? Maybe he’ll get one more shot to do something special. If he does, he’ll probably give his opponent all he could handle – as long as his name isn’t Golovkin.
Brandon Gonzales: Thomas Oosthuizen (21-0-2, 13 KOs) was supposed to beat upstart Brandon Gonzales on the Golovkin-Macklin card, then move on to a major fight at 168 pounds. Gonzalez (17-0-1, 10 KOs) had other ideas. The 29-year-old Californian, facing by far his biggest test, stunned his tall South African opponent and all those who suspected he was in over his head by methodically and aggressively outworking Oosthuizen for much of the fight. Oosthuizen rallied to a degree in the second half of the 10-rounder. Still, the decision – a split-decision draw – was a gift to the favorite and a bitter disappointment for the underdog, who deserved the nod. The scores were 98-92 Gonzales, 96-94 Oosthuizen and 95-95. Gonzales shouldn’t feel too badly. He proved on national television that he can beat an elite opponent. That’s a nice consolation prize. Oosthuizen? He needs to go back to the gym and figure out what went wrong.
Willie Nelson (21-1-1, 12 KOs) also was lucky to emerge without a loss on the Golovkin-Macklin card. The junior middleweight prospect had all he could handle in Luciano Leonel Cuello (32-3, 16 KOs) of Argentina, who fought well and with great passion even though he was the much shorter of the two. Cuello hurt Nelson a number of times but, in the eyes of the judges, didn’t do enough over the course of the fight and lost 97-93, 97-93 and 96-94. ÔÇª Former junior middleweight titleholder Sergio Mora (24-3-2, 7 KOs) looked sharp in his return after a 10-month hiatus, fairly easily outboxing Grzegorz Proksa of Poland in a 10-round middleweight bout on Friday in Jacksonville, Fla. The scores were 98-92, 96-94 and 96-94, the first of which reflects what happened in the ring. Proksa (29-3, 21 KOs) came to the U.S. last year with some promise but one-sided losses to Golovkin (TKO 5) and Mora have eroded his credibility. ÔÇª Future Hall of Famer James Toney (75-8-3, 45 KOs) outpointed a nearly 300-pounder named Kenny Lemos (12-8-2, 8 KOs) on Friday at a casino in Colorado.