GGG & THE KRUSHER
Just heard this awesome interview with my man Abel Sanchez, I knew that Sergey Kovalev had been reluctant to spar with Gennady Golovkin, but apparently Gennady dropped him as well. Watching his recent performances against Daniel Geale and Curtis Stevens, I am convinced that Gennady is the best pound-for-pound fighter on the planet right now. He’s more than just a power puncher, he’s not even about the power, take it away from him and he’ll still be able to outbox you. Couple that with his humble personality and ability to keep on learning and fine tuning his craft – what do you see about his future potential? Might be a little too early, but would you agree that we are watching a future all-time great?
Speaking of Kovalev and hard hitting motherf___ers, how do you see the eventual Kovalev vs. Bernard Hopkins match up? Personally, I think Hopkins is gonna beat him, and listen I’m as sick as anyone else about this word “exposed,” so let’s stick with “exploit” for this one. Now, let me say first that Kovalev’s boxing ability is underrated, but in comparison to Gennady whom many like to compare him with, Sergey is a little inexperienced for a 31 year old. And unlike Gennady, I don’t think he has seen the likes of Hopkins yet. He doesn’t have that Olympic background nor has he been in America for too long and sparred the best, and although he’ll be dangerous until the very last bell, I’d favor Hopkins to exploit that inexperience and a little of the “basicality” in Kovalev’s game, and the only time I’ve seen Hopkins legitimately hurt was against that dude Segundo Mercado, and that was in the damn 90’s. Hopkins can take a shot.
Let me also say that I’d favor Kovalev to send Adonis Stevenson into lobotomyland if they ever we’re to fight, but I’d favor Stevenson to beat Hopkins. How do you see those potential matchups in the light heavyweight division?
And by the way, if Cinnamon Man is too busy fighting Miguel Cotto (I’d give Canelo more of a chance than anyone to beat Golovkin because of those body shots and that good chin), what do you think about putting Golovkin in with Erislandy Lara? I know Lara may be a bit undersized, but the boy can fend for himself and I’d think it would be an engaging matchup. Take care. – William from Sweden
I think Golovkin-Lara is a bad matchup for the fans and especially for the Cuban southpaw. Lara wasn’t confident enough to stand his ground against Alvarez, who doesn’t cut the ring off as well or punch as hard as Golovkin does. I can’t envision Lara pausing to get off for even a few seconds against the undefeated WBA middleweight titleholder. The only way Lara wouldn’t get KTFO is with non-stop running. Who needs that? Nobody; not GGG, not Lara, and certainly not the fans.
I give Canelo a good shot of beating Cotto. I give him next to no shot of beating Golovkin.
Regarding the Hopkins-Kovalev-Stevenson rock-paper-scissors style matchups: I would heavily favor B-Hop to bring kryptonite to Superman’s game, I slightly favor boxing’s grand old man to outpoint Krusher, and I think the Russian would wear the Haitian-Canadian down to a late-rounds TKO.
Stevenson is more of a one-trick pony (or should I say one-armed bandit?) than Kovalev, in my opinion. He’s got a good jab, decent movement and a really solid body attack, but his primary weapon is his straight left. Hopkins would neutralize Stevenson’s jab, which would hamper the rest of southpaw puncher’s offense and cause the linear champ to gamble and lunge with lead left hands, which the ultra-veteran would easily counter. I think B-Hop would be in Stevenson’s head before the end of the fourth round and in his ass by the late rounds. Hopkins can eventually neutralize Kovalev’s offense, too, but I think it would take more time because The Krusher punches with both hands and he does so in combination. However, I think Hopkins can gradually do it with the right amount of lateral movement, counter punching and grappling/holding on the inside. The question I have is how much punishment can Kovalev dish out prior to being shutdown by the old master and how much punishment can the 50-year-old version of B-Hop take? I basically view Stevenson-Kovalev as a 50-50 fight but my hunch is that the Russian is a more complete boxer with a better chin.
Regarding my man GGG, it’s WAY too early to even talk about him as a potential hall of famer, let alone an all-time great. In my opinion, he hasn’t done enough to merit the top-10 pound-for-pound ranking many of my peers have bestowed upon him. However, I’m not going to bother arguing with anyone about who they believe is worthy of the “mythical rankings.” There’s no set criteria for the P4P, so if Golovkin looks unbeatable to you and you think he’s the best, more power to you. However, my pound-for-pound ranking is based on accomplishment, and since GGG has faced only one top-five contender (Geale) in his pro career, he doesn’t crack my personal top 10.
Having said that, I think he has the potential to be an elite boxer and a solid attraction. I also think he can be the most dominant middleweight since Bernard Hopkins’ reign as undisputed champ (2001-2005).
GGG’S EASY ROAD TO THE TOP
I know you are big on GGG but you have to see that the guy is taking the easiest road possible to the top. The MW division ain’t what it used to be but this is getting nuts! The guy has fought tune up fights in his last 3 fights. Geale hasn’t been the same since his loss to Barker and literally quit in Saturday! So GGG calls out Peter Quillin again, Cotto, but word is today that they will try to unify with Sam Soliman. WTF! He won’t go up for Andre Ward, but he will for Julio Cesar Chavez Jr., he won’t go down to 154 for anyone but Floyd Mayweather.
He is avoiding any and all possible challenges yet he and his team claim everyone is avoiding him. He says Quillin is hiding behind Showtime, he won’t even try to get in with Cotto assuming Cotto won’t even try to defend his title. All of the top guys now are taking the easiest possible fights and trying to leap frog to the top. IMO, GGG is exactly what is wrong with boxing. -DJ Perdue
I couldn’t disagree with you more, DJ. I think Golovkin is great for the sport. There’s anticipation and expectations prior to his fights and there’s intensity and excitement during his fights. After his fights, there’s lots of chatter and debate among hardcore fans. Some folks are over the moon for GGG, like William from Sweden (and please note that fans from all around the world are watching Golovkin), and some folks, like you, believe he’s sham. I’m not about to declare him one of the best, pound for pound, or a future hall of famer, but I think Golovkin is a hell of a fighter. At the end of the day, it doesn’t matter what we think, because we’re all watching him and we all care enough to have an opinion on the man, which is not the case with most pro fighters.
I also think you’re wrong about the top fighters taking the easiest fights possible. We have bona-fide stars like Mayweather, Pacquiao and Cotto who are near the end of their hall-of-fame worthy careers and are mainly fighting for money, but we also have a lot of elite fighters and world titleholders willing to challenge themselves.
All the top fighters under featherweight are willing to face each other and they often do – unfortunately, too many so-called hardcore fans ignore them (I’m not even going to bother mentioning fabulous flyweight in action in September). Canelo Alvarez hasn’t ducked anyone. I don’t think Wladdy Klitschko is scared of Pulev, Stiverne, Wilder, Fury or Jennings. They’ll all eventually get their shot at him. Ward and Carl Froch proved they were willing to face the best when they entered the Super Six tournament and The Cobra has mostly faced top-class fighters since losing to Ward. I’m sure Ward would be fighting quality guys if he were able to. I don’t think Tim Bradley is looking to avoid a challenge, and neither are young guns like Terence Crawford, Shawn Porter and Keith Thurman. If you look at most of the ranked welterweights and junior welterweights (guys like Devon Alexander, Amir Khan, Danny Garcia, Marcos Maidana, Brandon Rios, Lucas Matthysse, Lamont Peterson, Paulie Malignaggi, Mike Alvarado), you see a lot of fearless vets or unbeaten up-and-comers who are not afraid to let their “0” go, as the Thurmanator likes to say.
I don’t think Golovkin is looking to protect his undefeated record, either. He’s 32 years old and he finally has the right folks behind him (Tom Loeffler with K2 Promotions and HBO) to take advantage of what’s left of his prime. He doesn’t want waste it, which is why he keeps a busy schedule and has yet to turn any opponent down, according to HBO and Loeffler.
You’re wrong about Golovkin claiming that Quillin is “hiding” behind Showtime. He wants that fight, as does K2 Promotions. That’s why he mentions Quillin’s name in his post-fight interviews. It’s boxing fans (and some media) that say Kid Chocolate is happy fighting his “bum-of-the-every-six-months” club opponents. (By the way, it’s funny how hard you are on GGG’s opposition, when he’s faced more legit top-10 middleweights than Quillin, who’s only faced one, Hassan N’dam.)
And do you really believe Golovkin “won’t even try to get in with Cotto”? Dude, he’ll do anything to get Cotto in the ring with him. That’s a pay-per-view level fight. That’s something he and his team desperately want. They thought they would get that opportunity with Chavez Jr., until the Mexican star flipped the script on them. GGG was willing to fight Junior at 168, and he’s willing to do so against Froch or Ward – Loeffler’s on record with that. He notes that Chavez and Froch are more realistic fights to be made because of the economics they bring with their fan bases, but he’s just being real.
(And if you were being real, you wouldn’t even try to insinuate that Golovkin is avoiding Ward until the super middleweight champ gets his legal issues with Dan Goossen straight and is able to schedule a fight.)
I agree that the middleweight division isn’t deep as it was a few years ago when Sergio Martinez, Kelly Pavlik and Paul Williams added some name recognition to it, but I also think you’re unnecessarily s__ting on Geale and Soliman.
Calling Geale a “tune-up” fighter is either the ultimate disrespect to a classy former two-belt titleholder and consensus top-five contender or it’s the ultimate compliment to GGG, who blew through Aussie vet as though he were a stepping stone. But Geale is not a “tune up” or stepping stone. And he wasn’t diminished in anyway after his close fight with Barker, which he arguably won. He looked great dominating tough Garth Wood prior to the Golovkin fight. And he didn’t quit last Saturday, the referee saw that he didn’t have the legs to continue fighting and he waved it off. Michael Ortega did the right thing.
And Soliman is no one to scoff at. He’s twice traveled to Germany and got the better of Felix Sturm. He’s been fighting at the world-class level for 10 years and he’s only been stopped once in 56 pro bouts. He’s been in the ring with a borderline hall of famer in Winky Wright, current WBC 168-pound titleholder Sakio Bika (twice), and one of the best middleweights of the last 10 years in Sturm, and he gave them all hell.
EXCITED BUT HESITANT
Lemme preface by saying Golovkin excites me. He is powerful, technically proficient, a gentleman, etc. There is nothing NOT to be excited about. However, I think people are letting their excitement get the best of them. While GGG has obliterated everyone put in front of him, he hasn’t faced an elite fighter and is being ranked by some very high on p4p lists. I noticed you retweeted someone’s comment that he’s more unbeatable than Floyd Mayweather. Golovkin’s potential is off the charts but it’s just that. Money is a d-bag but he has dismantled many deserving p4pers over 16 years since beating up Genaro Hernandez. GGG has to do a lot more than knocking around Curtis Stevens and Daniel Geale to be mentioned in the same sentence.
Remember how shocked we all were when Jeff Lacy was whitewashed by Joe Calzaghe or Pavlik by Hopkins? It could easily happen again…but it’ll be fun to see what happens.
On to a few fantasy fights:
GGG vs Gerald McClellan
Canelo vs Trinidad
Andre ward vs James Toney
Keep doin’ the damn thing. – Drew, Boston
I wholeheartedly agree with you, Drew. I don’t view GGG as a P4P player and won’t until he beats an elite fighter or he faces a parade of legit top-10 contenders the way Froch has since 2008.
Regarding the Twitter comment about Golovkin and Mayweather, this is what I retweeted (from @TomBTG):
I didn’t retweet it because I think nobody can beat GGG. Anyone who has read these mailbags for any length of time should be aware that I don’t believe that ANY fighter is unbeatable. I’m on record that I think Ward can best GGG, and I wouldn’t count out a few others (such as Froch).
I don’t think Golovkin is “better” than Mayweather or “more unbeatable” as @TomBTG stated (which makes no sense, by the way, unbeatable is unbeatable – how can someone be “more unbeatable”?). I liked the tweet because of the second part of it.
Golovkin has the potential to be as dominant at 160 pounds as Mayweather is at 147 pounds, but he won’t be obnoxious about it (i.e., wear “TBE” gear, become obsessed with the undefeated record). I like that about GGG.
I hear what you’re saying about Lacy and Pavlik but I have to point out that neither American was a world amateur champ and Olympic medalist as Golovkin was, and though both could crack, neither was as mature or complete a fighter as GGG is.
Your fantasy fights:
GGG vs Gerald McClellan – Yikes! This would be one violent confrontation, but I think Golovkin would keep his head better during the exchanges and gradually break down the arguably harder punching but lesser polished American bomber to a late TKO. As with the junior middleweight mythical matchup between GGG and Thomas Hearns that someone brought up in Monday’s mailbag, I think the G-Man’s “puncher’s mentality” would ultimately work against him against Golovkin.
Canelo vs Trinidad – I’m a big Canelo fan but the young man would get decapitated by the junior middleweight version of Tito. I don’t see it going past seven or eight rounds.
Andre Ward vs James Toney – I did this one in the Monday bag, I like “Lights Out” via controversial decision.
BROOK & THE NEW ENGLISH BREED
Not a long time but impressed by your stuff.
I want to know what you think about why every American fan thinks Kell Brook is the underdog going into this fight with Shawn Porter when the level of opponents are pretty much the same barring Porter’s last 2 fights. But skill-wise I can only see one winner. Brook brings so much more to the table in my opinion and has the power to make Porter respect him and to stop his rushing crude style.
I’m definitely going for a Brook stoppage inside eight. Just 1 more thing, the new breed of English prospects look pretty exciting. I’d just like your thoughts on Luke Campbell, Anthony Joshua and Callum Smith. – Pete from Sussex, England
I think all three English prospects are blue chippers. Campbell and Joshua are Olympic gold medalists, so obviously they have tremendous promise. They were world-class amateurs and they look like they will be world-class pros very soon, despite only having a handful of pro bouts. They’re both mature and smart, as Smith is. Campbell and Smith are tall and rangy and they don’t give up their height. All three possess a busy offense with excellent punch selection but they always remain poised. They don’t rush or get reckless. I like that. They all seem to be good athletes, too. They have quick hands and reflexes and very good balance and coordination.
Joshua is especially spry, fast and fluid for a man who looks like he jumped from the pages of a comic book drawn by Jack Kirby (co-creator of the Incredible Hulk) or Dave Cockrum (co-creator of Colossus).
I look forward to watching all three develop into contenders and one day covering them live (I’ll see Campbell and Smith on the Porter-Brook undercard).
If your prediction of Brook stopping Porter comes true it will arguably be the most notable UK victory against a U.S. boxer scored on U.S. soil since Froch stopped Jermain Taylor, or maybe even since Lloyd Honeyghan halted Donald Curry.
Which isn’t to say that I think it would be a huge upset (as Froch-Taylor and especially Honeyghan-Curry were considered). I view the Porter-Brook as an even matchup. I agree that Brook is the more versatile boxer, he might be little faster and the slightly harder puncher. Porter has the edge in physical strength, maybe in durability, and he’s been tested a little more than Brook, in my opinion, although the Sheffield native has been developed very well. I think Brook is the more talented of the two but I don’t know if that will be enough to check Porter’s brute strength and somewhat awkward aggressive boxing style. These guys matchup very well.
So why are most American fans counting Brook out? It’s very simple, Pete, it’s because Brook has never fought on Showtime or HBO before, and he’s only fought in the U.S. once (off TV). If his last six or seven bouts took place in the U.S. and on a U.S. network, I guarantee you that a lot of American boxing fans would consider him a threat to Porter.
Hey man, TV is powerful. If Golovkin had beatdown Geale, Stevens, Rosado and Proksa in Germany and off U.S. TV, I positive that he wouldn’t be on the pound-for-pound lists of so many American boxing writers and fans.
OK, NOW I’M A BELIEVER
Just thought I would give a follow up email to my initial one which stated Geale was being overlookedÔÇª..I couldn’t have been more wrong. GGG’s performance was brutal. I don’t think there is another middleweight on the planet that takes Geale out like that. From watching Geale’s entire career he is a quality boxer but he didn’t even look like he belonged in that ring with Golovkin.
I can’t see anyone at middleweight troubling him and if Cotto or Canelo for some reason don’t fight each other and go after GGG they will be in for a world of pain. Stepping up to super-middle, I can see Froch and Ward providing his biggest challenges. As far as fan friendly fights go GGG v Froch would be brilliant. That’s the fight I want to see next. Imagine that fight at Wembley! With Tyson Fury v Liam Gallagher on the undercard! One fight I definitely don’t want to see at this point in GGG’s career is Sam Soliman. Yes he has a belt but it would just be a sloppier version of what we saw on the weekend and do nothing for Golovkin’s career/legacy.
After the utter destruction I witnessed on the weekend of a usually tough and respectable boxer, Golovkin has now gone straight to the top of the “cannot miss a fight list”. Cheers. – Mitchell
Golovkin is near the top of my “cannot miss list,” along with Froch, so obviously that matchup is at or near the top of my “dream fight” list.
It would be awesome if Froch and Golovkin got it on in their next bout, but the reigning IBF 168-pound titleholder is aiming at a Jan. 24 showdown with Chavez Jr. in Las Vegas. I can’t be mad at The Cobra for those plans. Froch vs. Chavez also has the makings of a thriller (though less significant than a fight with GGG thanks to Junior’s past unprofessional behavior). Still, at this point in time, Chavez has a bigger name and fan base than Golovkin, as does Froch.
I totally understand their wanting to fight each other before they risk their necks against GGG. Maybe the winner of Froch-Chavez will take on Golovkin later in 2015. Or maybe they’ll engage in a rematch if it’s a close fight (which it might be). The only way Golovkin is going to continue to build his name and fan base is by staying busy and staying in the public eye.
He can’t do that if he’s too choosy with his opponents. No, Soliman won’t enhance GGG’s legacy, but he’ll get him back in the ring, give him another opportunity to wow an American audience (if HBO opts to air it, which I think they will) and an opportunity to another major belt to his collection. And then it’s onto whoever is next in 2015. His first bout or two next year might not be against marquee opponents, but by the time of his third or fourth bout (and they do plan on fighting four times in 2015) things may have worked themselves out in the 160- and 168-pound division to allow for a showdown against a star or an elite boxer (Froch, Chavez, the winner of Cotto-Canelo, or Ward).
Hi Mr Fischer,
Got a couple of questions for you, maybe I’ll get lucky and you’ll post this:
I’ve noticed something of a flaw (or not) in the way GGG comes forward, with slow “lazy punches” that are prone to counterattacks, sometimes he just comes forward head first with no punches thrown (like Maidana does). Is this a flaw or does he do it just to measure the distance? He sure gets hit when coming forward like this, maybe he gets careless because of being overconfident of his powerful chin.
One thing that I noticed in this fight (that people rarely focus on) is his incredible ring generalship: he cuts the ring brilliantly!
Second question: do you think (as I do) that GGG would murder Canelo? Given the latter’s lack of mobility, isn’t he tailor made for the Kazakh beast?
Keep up the good work!! Cordiales Saludos. – Sebasti├ín Eyzaguirre Tafra
You’d be surprised at how well Canelo would move if he were in the ring with Golovkin. He jabbed and utilized lateral movement like a savvy veteran during the sparring session I witnessed between the two in 2011. Of course, that was just sparring and it was before GGG’s style was changed to include more pressure-fighting tactics. Back then, his style was closer to Kostya Tszyu than Julio Cesar Chavez Sr.
Still, even though Golovkin is marching forward and expertly cutting off the ring (as you note), I don’t see many defensive flaws. I don’t think he’s as easy a target as a lot of fans think he is. He picks punches off well and he can block and counter with the best of ’em.
What appear to be “lazy punches” are actually probes and teases that are meant to measure distance, to disrupt his opponent’s rhythm and concentration, to maneuver them and to entice them to let their hands go when they probably shouldn’t. I don’t see a careless boxer or a guy with Maidana’s style or mentality when I watch GGG fight.
You should check out this video called “GGG Boxing Intangibles & Technique” that’s on YouTube. The narrator, Barry Robinson of cleanboxing.com, does an excellent job of breaking down and isolating the nuances of Golovkin’s game.
GGG VS TBE?
Good day Dougie! Love the Monday and Friday mailbags. They are refreshing read after a long Monday, and equally so at the end of a hard week at work.
I have been a big fan of Triple G since I first saw him fight, (how could one not – given his power and personality??) and he impresses me more each time I see him.
What makes him exciting to watch, in addition to his incredible power, is the fact he is not opposed to getting hit to do what he needs to take care of business. This brings up an observation. He stated he would go down in weight to fight Mayweather. Do you think it’s possible that Mayweather may have seen some of the (albeit very limited) success that Geale showed at the onset of the fight in making GGG miss, while be able to sneak some of his own in? I really think if Mayweather were to get on his bicycle, and occasionally pot shot, he could survive with a points win. (Although we know that the reward does not even come close to the risk for the cherry picker to take this fight.) What are your thoughts? – Mike in New Brunswick.
Mayweather was concerned enough about Canelo’s size to have the junior middleweight fight at a catchweight and he was concerned enough about Maidana’s power to make a fuss about the gloves. I don’t even want to know what Golovkin would have to do to make Mayweather consider getting into the ring with him. He’d probably have to come down to 147 and wear 18-ounce gloves. I’m not interested in that stuff.
And honestly, I wouldn’t be interested in Golovkin-Mayweather even if Floyd pulled a “Duran” and challenged GGG while allowing the WBA middleweight titleholder to weigh-in at 160 pounds. Why? Because I don’t think it would be competitive (at least not for very long) and I think Mayweather would get seriously hurt. Floyd’s fans like to call me a “hater,” and while it’s true that I’m not fond of the man, I don’t really hate him and I don’t want to see any fighter (or any human being) get seriously hurt.
Thanks for taking the time to answer my e-mail in Monday’s mailbag. Best Monday ever! Also loved the way you handled the cowardly chickens__t trolls in the comments section this week. Some of the things said are completely disgusting. Glad you smack them down without sinking to their level. – D-Bone
You’re welcome, D-Bone. I haven’t met the troll that I couldn’t tame.
Photo by Naoki Fukuda
Email Fischer at [email protected]. Follow him on Twitter at @dougiefischer