With his systematic and
workmanlike destruction of the game Curtis Stevens at the Theater of Madison
Square Garden in New York this past weekend, WBA middleweight titlist Gennady
Golovkin completed the most productive stretch of his career.
It's been the Year of
“I think it's been a
breakout year for Gennady. I think he's ‘Fighter of the Year’ for 2013,” claimed
Tom Loeffler, Managing Director of K2 Promotions, who handles his career. “He's
got four dominant victories, four stoppages against quality opposition and I think
his performance not only inside but outside the ring made fans make him ‘Fighter
of the Year.’”
In addition to halting
Stevens in eight rounds, he also took care of business against Gabriel Rosado (TKO
7), Nobuhiro Ishida (KO 3) and Mathew Macklin (KO 3). Now while there is
something to be said about his work rate and consistency, defeating this
quartet probably won’t be enough to win those honors (which will most likely come
down to Floyd Mayweather or Tim Bradley).
But make no doubt about it;
Golovkin has arrived as a marquee name in the sport. He came into this fight an
admittedly peeved prizefighter after listening to the bluster of the Brooklyn
native, who, among his more bold statements, had tweeted photos of caskets dedicated
“Yeah, I was angry, like, ‘Man,
y’ know...’ not like sportsman. He has big mouth like mad dog, just too much,”
Golovkin told the ringside media shortly after his 28th professional
victory. Stevens brought not only tough talk but a pair of heavy hands that
brought an element of danger not seen in his previous contests. But Golovkin
stated, “I never felt his power.”
After sending Stevens to the
floor in the second with a left hook, you were reminded of Mike Tyson's old
quote, “Everyone has a plan...till they get hit.” Golovkin has the type of
power that changes the equation inside the ring for anyone standing across from
him. Stevens never went all-in offensively for fear of the buzzsaw he might run
Despite having huge amateur
credentials, there is still some who doubt Golovkin’s overall skill set. But
against Stevens, he was patient and sound and just slowly chopped Stevens down with
well-placed and accurate shots to the body and head. You got the feeling that
if Stevens didn't catch lightning in a bottle early on, his chances at pulling
the upset would dissipate by the moment. Every once in awhile, “Showtime” could
catch Golovkin but could never really sustain his attack. In the last moments
of the eighth, Golovkin battered him to the body and you could almost feel the
air come out of Stevens, who bravely withstood the assault. As the bell sounded
to end the round, his trainer, Andre Rozier made the prudent decision to call
off the fight (and based on current events and what would happen later this
night, could anyone argue?)
“There's nothing to be
ashamed of. I showed more in this loss than most people show in a win,” said
Stevens, who dropped to 25-4 (18). “This is not the end. I'll learn from my
mistakes and I'll be back.” For Golovkin, this was just another night at the
office. “Hey guys, you see my fight. It's nothing for me. It's an easy job for
So what's next for Golovkin?
A crowd of just over 4,600 was announced for this most recent event (just shy
of a sell-out) and his fights do create a bit of a buzz now. But the question
is: Can he get one of the marquee names to step into the ring with him in 2014?
You get the sense that the risk vs. reward ratio to face this Kazakh is still a
bit too low for the likes of consensus 160-pound champ Sergio Martinez (who
seems destined for a fight versus Miguel Cotto) or anyone else with a
middleweight title strap.
“I'm champion. I'm open for
everybody. I want it,” stated Golovkin, now 31.
Loeffler explained, “HBO,
they gave us a lot of support to make the Macklin fight. That was really the
fight that put Gennady over the top here in the United States as far as raising
his profile and you look at the crowd tonight - we had 150 tickets that went
unsold. So that's basically a sell-out and it was a great fight night.”
Perhaps in lieu of a
lucrative match at 160, Golovkin moves up to super middleweight to face the
likes of Andre Ward or Carl Froch.
“I know HBO wants to put
together a big fight for him and we're going to keep moving in that direction,”
said Loeffler. When asked what he considered the most realistic option for
Golovkin, he answered, “Sergio Martinez is a very proud champion. I think he
wants to continue to prove that he's the best middleweight champion. If [Martinez]
fights somebody like Miguel Cotto and he wins, I think that's the most
realistic fight out there.”
It's not clear what 2014
will bring for Golovkin but there's no doubting what the past year has meant to
him and his career. No longer is he just this European urban legend but a boxer
who just might have arrived.
“Yes, absolutely right,”
said a satisfied Golovkin. “It's just step by step, baby steps for me. I'm
ready for big fights. I'm ready for tough fighters.”
On hand at the fights was veteran
observer Steve Farhood (who, yes, does go to HBO fights as a member of the
media) and I asked him if Golovkin's plight reminds him a bit of the road
traveled by Marvelous Marvin Hagler in the '70s before striking it rich.
“It does except for the
quality of opposition. This guy’s been in nine WBA title fights; he's scored
nine knockouts. As a fan, you have to say that he's whetting your appetite. You
want to see more. You want to see him against the very best. Hagler, we saw against
the very best; even the guys coming up, the Philadelphia guys were real good
fighters,” said Farhood, referring to the likes of Eugene “Cyclone” Hart, Bennie Briscoe and
“And this guy, you have to
want to see him against the very best. That's what's next and money can usually
make that happen.”
So who would Farhood pick if
Golovkin fought Martinez right now?
“I would take Golovkin.”
While he wasn't victorious,
Stevens showed he can still be very useful in the middleweight division. He's
come a long way in a short time under the guidance of Main Events.
“I told him, ‘I know you're
really upset and I know it sucks to lose but you have nothing to be ashamed of.
You made lots of fans tonight,” said Kathy Duva to her client, who is now an
easier sell to HBO going down the road. “They're actually telling me that now,
HBO executives, that they'd like to see him again. Look, that guy [Golovkin] we
saw in the ring tonight beats everyone else in the middleweight division.
There's a lot of good fighters in the middleweight division. He's exciting;
he's fun; he's explosive, powerful. Why wouldn't you want him back?”
Duva also noted, “I think he
has finally banished the ghost of Jesse Brinkley.”
While at the airport on Sunday
morning, I received a phone call from a boxing insider who told me that
heavyweight Magomed Abdusalamov had brain surgery late Saturday night and was
in a coma after his 10-round loss to Mike Perez in the HBO co-feature.
Unfortunately, this news was true and FightNews.com reported that afternoon:
Grinberg, manager of heavyweight warrior Magomed Abdusalamov, has confirmed to
Fightnews.com that Abdusalamov has been placed in a medically induced coma at
Roosevelt Hospital in New York City. According to Grinberg, the 32-year-old
Abdusalamov suffered a broken nose and cheek and a broken hand in his
particularly brutal fight with Mike Perez Saturday night at the Madison Square
Garden Theater. Magomed complained of a severe headache several hours after the
fight and doctors discovered a small blood clot on his brain. Grinberg stressed
that Abdusalamov is in stable condition and more will be known soon. Fightnews
will continue to monitor the situation.
Later on, Przemek Garczarczyk gave this
update for FightNews:
to Boris Grinberg, manager of heavyweight Magomed Abdusalamov, Mago is doing
better. “He is in the hospital, under steady observation but he’s definitively
better with every passing hour,” Grinberg told Fightnews.com. “I want to say a
big thanks for all the well wishes we received. We will know more Monday
morning when our team will issue a special press release about Magomed’s health
And then this:
Lewkowicz, Vice President of Sampson Promotions, has updated Fightnews.com on
the condition of heavyweight contender Magomed Abdusalamov. The brave Russian
warrior who went ten brutal rounds against Mike Perez Saturday night, is still
in ICU at Roosevelt Hospital and remains in stable condition. According to
Lewkowicz, Abdusalamov had part of his skull removed to reduce swelling.
Hershman, President of HBO Sports, issued the following statement: “The
thoughts and prayers of all of us at HBO Sports are with Magomed Abdusalamov.
We are grateful for the medical care he is receiving here in New York City and
out of respect for Magomed and his family, we will wait for any official
updates on his condition before making any further statements.
I think this really
illuminates the wise decision of the Stevens corner in choosing to end the
fight when they did instead of subjecting its charge to an unnecessary and
perhaps fatal beating from a hard-punching fighter. In the wake of the passing
of Franky Leal and now this past weekend, I think all of boxing needs to
rethink and readjust its attitudes toward pulling boxers out of fights that are
hopelessly lost and the arcane belief that there is a certain morale victory in
going the distance in losing efforts.
Loeffler announced that Golovkin
will return on February 1st in Monte Carlo and would be negotiating
with HBO to get this televised...I heard that the Giovani Segura-Hernan Marquez
fight was quite the scrap. I'll be catching that on my DVR...So James Kirkland
is back with Ann Wolfe? Good. They simply belong together...Saturday night
showed that Miami is still at least a recruiting class or two away from being
where Florida State is...Always great to hang out at Jimmy's Corner when in New
York City. Jimmy Glenn is a gem...Long distance flights are much better when
you can watch the NFL Red Zone as I did on Sunday afternoon...
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