Gennady Golovkin will take on Gabriel Rosado at Madison Square Garden on Saturday night. It is just one part of an exciting night of action on HBO's Boxing After Dark.
The two middleweights will battle for Golovkin's WBA title.
Golovkin, aka GGG, has compiled an impressive 24-0 record with 21 KOs, but most of his wins have come outside of the United States. The 30-year-old from Kazakhstan has been trying to make a name for himself in America.
This is his second straight fight in the United States. He stopped Grzegorz Proksa in the fifth round in September 2012. He's looking to run his record to a perfect 25-0 and raise his popularity level with American boxing fans.
He could be looking at fights with Canelo Alvarez, Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. or Sergio Martinez in the future.
Rosado stands in the way of Golovkin's big plans.
The Philadelphia-born fighter is 21-5 with 13 KOs in his career. At 27 years old, he is at his peak. If he's going to make some noise in the middleweight division, he needs to do it now.
He hasn't faced an opponent as good as Golovkin in his career, but he's won seven fights in a row. Five of them have come by TKO or KO.
Here are how you can watch the fight and some deeper analysis into this matchup.
When: Saturday, January 19, 9:45 p.m. ET
Where: Madison Square Garden, New York
The Book on Golovkin
GGG fights a lot like Henry Armstrong.
Before you blow a gasket, I'm not putting him in that class. But the constant pressure of leaning forward into his opponent's chest while throwing a variety of powerful head and body shots reminds me of a far less accomplished version of the Hammer.
Golovkin simply doesn't back up. I've seen him fight seven times—even some fights as an amateur—and he applies an insane amount of pressure.
He isn't out of control or wild—just constant.
Take a look at Golovkin dropping Lucian Bute in the amateur ranks in this video. The knockdown takes place at the 2:50 mark. It's a crisp lead right hand, and it lands right on the chin.
Golovkin also pounds the body well.
His whacking left hook to the midsection is especially effective. His attack is not only consistent; it is varied in angles. Here he finishes Anthony Greenidge with a powerful liver shot.
It happens at the 4:30 mark:
He has decent hand and foot speed, but they aren't blinding. He makes up for any quickness deficiencies with very good accuracy and an ability to cut off the ring.
Golovkin does a much better job moving his head now than he once did, and overall he's improved as much as any fighter I've watched over such a long period of time.
He'll be a tough out for any middleweight, and that includes Rosado.
The Book on Rosado
He keeps his hands down most times, and the stance lends itself to his quickness and unpredictable attacks. He has good speed, but I'm not sure it is good enough to employ a hands-down style against top-notch competition.
Though he has scored a stack of KOs in a short period of time, 13 stoppages in 21 wins don't scream big-time power. That's especially the case when many of those KOs have come from cumulative punishment or cuts.
Rosado battered Jesus Soto Karass, who was fighting well above his most comfortable weight. He traded with Soto Karass, but he really wasn't risking much in those exchanges.
In Rosado's most recent fight, he stopped a game Charles Whittaker in 10 rounds. Here is a video from that fight:
Golovkin is a full-grown and natural middleweight and far more skilled than Whittaker or Soto Karass.
To win, Rosado needs to keep this fight on the outside. If he allows Golovkin to get into his chest, GGG will feast on his body. It won't take long for Rosado to lose the speed advantage he holds, and it could be curtains from there.
Even if Rosado tries to keep the fight on the outside, Golovkin is too good at pursuit, and his stamina is great. He'll walk Rosado down and punish him to earn the win.
The specific outcome depends on how Rosado chooses to fight.
If he fights smart, he'll lose by decision or late stoppage. If he tries to trade with Golovkin on the inside, he'll be knocked out by the seventh round.
Either way, GGG will remain the WBA middleweight champion.
Follow Brian Mazique and Franchiseplay on YouTube and Twitter for reactions, analysis and news from the world of sports and sports video games