Gennady Golovkin (25-0, 22 KO) is a fighter you should know. He’s just beginning to get the recognition he deserves as one of the very best fighters in the world, and on Saturday, his skills will be on display against Nobuhiro Ishida (24-8, 9 KO) in Monte Carlo, Monaco.
Golovkin, aka GGG, will put his WBA and IBO middleweight title on the line against the Japanese challenger, in what many hope will be his last fight before a unification bout with one of the other middleweight or super middleweight champions—namely Sergio Martinez or Andre Ward.
Ishida is a heavy underdog, but he’s excelled in that role before. Watching GGG’s talent and Ishida’s quest for the upset is the major draw in the fight. Here’s how you can watch.
When: Saturday, March 30 at 3 p.m. ET
Where: Salle des etoiles in Monte Carlo, Monaco
The Book on Golovkin
How Good is GGG?
In this day and age of the sport, an undefeated record can be very deceiving. But in Golovkin’s case, it isn’t.
It’s true he hasn’t faced a ton of renowned opposition, though he did batter tough middleweight contender Gabriel Rosado in his last fight, but Golovkin is a guy that none of the major names want to face.
Even though he's relatively new to the boxing mainstream, he’s not a young, raw fighter. He’s 30 years old, has been a champion since 2010 and has six successful title defenses.
The level of competition is increasing for him, and so is the exposure. If he keeps winning impressively, it’s just a matter of time before we see him in the ring with a major name.
In the Ring
This guy is all business between the ropes. He has a bright smile and an endearing personality, but he is a cold-blooded assassin as it relates to boxing.
He fights with great balance and he is a fundamentally sound puncher. You will see very few wild or uncontrolled punches from GGG.
He isn’t a slugger with boundless holes in his defense either. He moves his head, keeps his chin tucked and though he loves to bang on the inside, he knows how to hide his head in close quarters.
GGG is strong and a little quicker than he appears. Speed is not his best quality, but he has solid timing and the rare ability to seemingly get stronger as the fight progresses.
He bangs the body like a wild man and wears opponents down with pressure and a consistent attack
The Book on Ishida
Looking For Another Stunner
Ishida has been in the role of the underdog before and he has shocked the world before—at least a small part of it.
In 2011, he faced up-and-coming light middleweight contender James Kirkland. It was widely expected that Ishida would be destroyed by the hard-punching American.
Instead, the generally light-punching Ishida floored Kirkland three times in the first round to score a surprising KO victory.
After scoring another KO in his next fight later that year, Ishida was completely out-classed by Paul Williams and Dmitry Pirog in his next two bouts
The stunning win over Kirkland afforded him a few opportunities to face notable fighters—the battle with Pirog was for his WBO title—but Ishida has yet to capitalize on his shots at the big time.
He is 37 years old, unless he performs well against GGG, this may be his last fight against a top-notch fighter.
In the Ring
Can Golovkin beat Ward or Martinez?
He is tall and rangy at 6’1” but is naturally thin.
Despite the KO win over Kirkland, he isn’t a big puncher, as evidenced by his modest KO total. Though he has the height, I don’t consider him a very natural 160-pound fighter.
He is a very good counter-puncher, which is how he was able to land effectively against Kirkland. But Kirkland’s lack of defensive technique and wide punches made it a bit easier.
Ishida has a pawing jab that serves as a range finder, but he will have a tough time keeping GGG out of his personal space on Saturday.
This is going to get ugly.
Ishida’s lack of power will be his biggest issue. It’s only a matter of time before GGG walks him down and punishes him with vicious body shots.
I’ll be surprised if this fight goes five rounds. I’ll take Golovkin by third-round KO.
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