Gennady Golovkin: Golovkin has gotten to the point where it’s almost impossible to live up to his reputation. Did he seem vulnerable to Curtis Stevens’ speed on Saturday in New York City? Perhaps to some degree. Did he take a few hard shots? He did. Yes, Golovkin is actually a human being. Here’s the bottom line, though: He methodically tore apart a legitimate contender until the victim’s corner had no choice but to end the slaughter after eight rounds. And Golovkin walked away unscathed. To me, that’s an excellent performance. Colleague Martin Mulcahey said the Golovkin (28-0, 25 KOs) we saw on Saturday reminded him of Julio Cesar Chavez Sr. Good call. Chavez took some punches, too. And he wasn’t always the quickest fighter in the ring. However, blessed with uncommon gifts and resilience, he was rarely deterred from his mission: to destroy his opponent. It’s too early to compare Golovkin with the great Mexican but he seems to be on a similar path.
Curtis Stevens: Stevens (25-4, 18 KOs) seemed to believe everything he said about how he was going to upset Golovkin. That is until the second round, when doubts suddenly – and violently – crept into his mind. The look on his face when he went down and was hurt badly by two left hooks seemed to say: “Uh oh. I’m in trouble.” And he would’ve been right. The fight was never the same after that, as Golovkin pounded the fight out of Stevens until the challenger’s corner had seen enough. Stevens had to be bitterly disappointed that he was pummeled in his first big-time fight. All is not lost, though. Stevens had his moments. He landed some good, eye-catching punches against the No. 2 (No. 1?) middleweight in the world, which perhaps are signs that he has more to give at the highest level of the sport. He’s obviously quick, athletic and strong. The guess here is that he’s just getting started.
Perez vs. Abdusalamov: The Mike Perez-Magomed Abdusalamov war on the Golovkin-Stevens card is how we imagine heavyweight fights should be. Perez, a Cuban defector who lives in Ireland, has a solid amateur background but fought more like a brawler than a technician. Magomed Abdusalamov, a two-time Russian amateur champion, had his face rearranged early in the fight and reportedly broke his hand but never gave up. The result was 10 rounds of drama rarely seen on in the sport’s one-time glamour division. Perez (20-0, 12 KOs) won a unanimous decision while Abdusalamov (18-1, 18 KOs) won admiration for his courage. Alas, the loser paid a steep price. Abdusalamov reportedly was placed in a medically induced coma because of a blood clot on his brain. He was in stable condition Sunday afternoon, according to a report on BoxingScene.com. A sad ending to a great fight. Our thoughts are with Abdusalamov and his family.
Luke Campbell: There is so much to like about Campbell, who stopped inexperienced Lee Connelly (2-6) before a house packed with his enthusiastic hometown fans in Hull, England. The 2012 Olympic champion has the natural gifts, refined skills, good power, good looks and the fan base to become a star. TV analyst Jim Watt compared him to a young Oscar De La Hoya, which was apt. Campbell (3-0, 3 KOs) very patiently picked apart his game, but limited opponent before stopping him 2 minutes into the fifth of a scheduled six rounds. It wasn’t a great performance. I thought Campbell should’ve stopped – or at least hurt – such a raw and aggressive opponent a little sooner. That doesn’t matter, though. Campbell needs this kind work to develop as a professional fighter. Indeed, it was another step toward realizing his vast potential.
Win, lose or draw, Giovani Segura is never boring. Segura (31-3-1, 27 KOs) stopped former flyweight titleholder Hernan Marquez (36-4, 26 KOs) with one second to go in the final round of a thriller Saturday in Hermosillo, Mexico. The fight was billed as a WBO title eliminator. Marquez, who went down three times, reportedly was given oxygen and removed from the ring in a stretcher. ÔÇª Australian heavyweight Lucas Browne’s fifth-round TKO over then-unbeaten Richard Towers (14-1, 11 KOs) on the Campbell-Connelly card was nothing special unless you consider one thing: Browne (18-0, 16 KOs) trained himself. He’s 34 but appears to have some potential. A good trainer would help. ÔÇª Ola Afolobi (20-3-4, 9 KOs) got past Lucasz Janik (26-2, 14 KOs) by a majority decision on the Golovkin-Stevens card. He was coming off a draw and then a majority-decision loss to Marco Huck in his previous two fights.