Rumors swirling around the Internet (perhaps started by me) indicate that the middle initial of Gennady Golovkin’s nickname, GGG, stands for something really, really scary.
Is it Godzilla? Gangster? Grim reaper? Does it stand for Goblin? Gravedigger? Grievous?
What is it?!
Regardless, boxing fans and media members are already starting to say Golovkin should jump eight pounds up to the super middleweight division and face pound-for-pound superstar Andre Ward.
Hold up, now. I’m all for finding out what scary thing that middle G in Golovkin’s name stands for (is it Ghoul?), but that doesn’t mean the undefeated technician from Khazakstan with dynamite in his fists is ready to take on Andre Ward just yet.
In fact, it’s borderline silly to ask it.
(As for his name, please, nobody ask him. And if you do, don’t tell him it was someone from Bleacher Report you’re asking for. And if you do, tell him it’s another Bleacher Report writer, someone like Jonathan Snowden or Lyle Fitzsimmons. They won’t mind.)
Seriously, though, has ever there been such a fighter as Gennady G. Golovkin, one who’s galvanized boxing fans and media so quickly into his corner without really doing that much yet as a professional?
Oh, don’t get me wrong, I’m absolutely in Golovkin’s corner, too (especially, if he asks). The man can fight. He’s got everything a promoter could ever want in an up-and-coming boxing phenom (save perhaps he doesn’t hail from a boxing-hungry land like Mexico or the Philippines), and he will likely become a stalwart of the middleweight division in years to come.
But he isn’t quite there yet. Is he?
Oh sure, we think he’d beat middleweight kingpin and lineal champion, Sergio Martinez, but we often think a lot of things that don’t actually happen. And sure, we all assume he’d pulverize the next level of the division, guys like Daniel Geale, Peter Quillin and Julio Cesar Chavez Jr., but I’ve yet to see even one of their names on his unblemished ledger.
In fact, a quick glance at the names of guys he’s taken out thus far in his young career shows Golovkin’s best wins were against opposition that made most of their money at a lower weight class. In fact, the only sincerely notable middleweight Golovkin has defeated to date is Matthew Macklin, a class fighter but someone who has never earned a world title belt in any of his three tries.
So is Golovkin ready to take on Ward?
The guy who’s climbed up into the top two of almost every legitimate pundit’s pound-for-pound rankings?
The guy who demolished then lineal light heavyweight champion Chad Dawson to the point that the poor guy might never be the same fighter again?
The clear choice by almost everyone in the boxing world to be the fighter who will carry Floyd Mayweather’s torch of being the best boxer in the biz long whenever 36-year-old Money May calls it quits?
Not for me, at least not yet. Look, what Golovkin has done is admirable. He’s a winner, the real deal. But Gennady Golovkin’s middle G just might just stand for Greenhorn, at least for the time being. If his management is wise, they will look for more middleweight fish to fry instead of barking up the Andre Ward tree.
Because if Golovkin is to make a name for himself in the sweet science, if he is to become someone worth mentioning in historical circles years from now, it will be because he first cleaned out a middleweight division chock full of staunch competitors.
There is still a lot for him to do as a middleweight.
Thankfully, Golovkin's promoter, Tom Leoffler, appears to be on the same page. In the aftermath of Golovkin’s demolition of Macklin last month, even newly enshrined BWAA Vice President and TheSweetScience.com editor, Michael Woods, couldn’t help but ask Golovkin’s right-hand man about a potential matchup with Ward.
I admit, I did let my mind wander Saturday, and ponder a Golovkin fight against Ward, at super middleweight. Loeffler brought me back to earth, and said Golovkin has much work yet to do at 160. It feels like to me the winner of the August 17 Daniel Geale-Darren Barker fight is in the lead to get a crack at Golovkin in that November slot. But looking further down speculation road, I asked Loeffler, do you think Ward blunts Golovkin's power, defuses him? "Absolutely, Gennady would carry his power to 168," Loeffler said. He said he thinks Ward, who Loeffler termed "a great fighter and great person outside the ring,” would be receptive to a fight with Golovkin.
Sure, let’s hope such a fight happens. But let’s hope more that it happens when it should happen: after Golovkin actually proves he’s the scariest man in the middleweight division. Because as it turns out, that middle G people are so scared of is just his middle name after all. It stands for Gennadyevich.
(Wait…what does Gennadyevich mean? Is it something scary?)