Gennady Golovkin is earmarked to be boxing's newest sensation but before people can believe the hype, he needs to deliver. His opponent Gabriel Rosado stands in Golovkin's way to becoming what boxing hopes to be the next middleweight star.
Gennady Golovkin became an instant fan favourite after his HBO debut last September. His exciting pressure style overmatched Grzegorz Proksa in a thrilling fifth-round knockout win.
It proved that Proksa was gritty, had great heart but that Golovkin can punch. He now needs to prove he can consistently perform with that form and the subsequent rewards will be infinite.
Rosado and Golovkin will fight tomorrow night on Saturday, Jan. 19 at Madison Square Garden on HBO for the latter's WBA World middleweight title. Another impressive win could open up numerous opportunities for the former amateur star.
At 154 pounds, he has Mayweather, Cotto, Trout and Alvarez. At 160 pounds, he has Sergio Martinez, Jermain Taylor, Chavez Jr. and Peter Quillin. At 168 pounds, he has Andre Ward. All of these fights would be great for boxing and prove most lucrative for the Kazakhstani. They are also feasible for this fighter who has said he can easily make 154 pounds and would go to 168 pounds for a "special fight."
Watch his post-fight conference to hear from the champ.
One caveat is that while Gennady Golovkin was relatively unknown as he made his HBO debut, so was his opponent, Grzegorz Proksa. "GGG" has never been tested professionally. Rosado is not an elite fighter but with wins over Sechew Powell and Jesus Soto Karass, their professional opponents have been at a comparable level.
For those that illogically believe in boxing math, Golovkin has a knockout win over former IBF champ, Kassim Ouma, whom Rosado lost a close split decision against. Rosado is a tough Philly fighter who will most likely be the final step for Golovkin to pass before he gets big-named opponents.
However, there is no comparing their amateur backgrounds. The Olympic medalist defeated Andre Dirrell en route to his silver medal at the Athens Olympics. Golovkin was also crowned the 2003 world champion defeating now professional stars, Andy Lee and Lucian Bute, in that tournament.
Fans might remember Rosado from Friday Night Fights in 2009 when he lost due to a quick stoppage against Alfredo Angulo. While he seemed fine, he was having problems with Angulo's pressure. Since then, he has gone 9-1. Rosado is an exciting fighter with a high-punch volume and looks to engage his opponents. He shows good head movement and weaves well, which will help him against the champ's pressure.
He has not been a fast starter traditionally and with "Triple G's" pace, this fight might not last long. Rosado's plan to walk people down methodically is effective against lower-level talent, but will it work against someone with the pedigree of "GGG"? Probably not.
It is very intriguing to consider the options that lay in his future. There are great things ahead should he deliver tomorrow night. Golovkin could be the conduit to link the best fighters across multiple divisions, and produce epic bouts for the sport and truly delight fans.
The champ seems willing and, save a massive upset, great things are ahead for the 30-year-old pugilist.