IBO and WBA middleweight champion Gennady “GGG” Golovkin is set to step back on the proving grounds again.
After mourning the death of his father, Golovkin will defend his titles against tough Australian boxer and former world titleholder Daniel “Real Deal” Geale. GGG's bout with Andy Lee was canceled after 68-year-old Gennady Ivanovich Golovkin passed due to a heart attack.
The bout with Geale will take place Saturday night from Madison Square Garden. This will be Golovkin’s third title defense at MSG. He’s on a mission not just to hold onto his title but to become a major attraction in the sport.
A language barrier and a lack of signature opponents have slowed Golovkin's rise in popularity with American boxing fans. However, he seems to be inching closer to the opportunities that will kick open the door to stateside stardom in the sport.
Geale looks to slay the beast who has become one of the most intimidating fighters today. Here’s how you can watch this championship bout.
How to Watch
When: Saturday, July 26 at 9:30 p.m. ET
Where: Madison Square Garden in New York
Book on Golovkin
Is Golovkin really as good as it appears, or has he just not met the opponent to expose his weaknesses? This is the debate that rages when it comes to GGG.
Some experts, such as future Hall of Famer and current HBO analyst Roy Jones Jr., haven’t identified Golovkin’s Achilles’ heel. Per Eric Raskin of HBO, Jones Jr. says, “Right now, I don’t see a weakness in Gennady Golovkin.” That’s high praise from a man as astute on the sweet science as Jones Jr.
Still, critics will point to Golovkin’s less-than-monumental list of past opponents as a license to withhold praise. Sure, the 32-year-old from Kazakhstan has defeated tough opponents like Gabriel Rosado, Curtis Stevens and Matthew Macklin, but he hasn’t toppled the big name that will force the fight community to take notice and give him his propers.
In all honesty, Geale isn’t that guy, but he is a solid former champion. A win on Saturday night would seemingly set Golovkin up for the huge pay-per-view bout that could make him a household name.
In an interview with ESPN.com’s Brian Campbell, Golovkin was asked about unifying the titles at 160 pounds and possibly moving up a weight class. GGG mentioned WBC champion Miguel Cotto as an opponent he hoped to fight in the future.
He said, “My focus is on 160 pounds right now, and of course I would love to exchange the belts. Miguel Cotto would be a very interesting fight for me, and of course I would love to see who is the best right now in this category. It would be very interesting.”
Yes, Gennady, it certainly would be.
The Book on Geale
To call Geale an underdog is like saying Manute Bol was kind of tall. Per Odds Shark, Golovkin is listed as a minus-1667 favorite.
The 33-year-old Aussie could take these odds as a slight considering what he has accomplished in his career. He held the IBF title for more than two years. He defended the belt four times before losing it by a split decision to Darren Barker in Aug. 2013.
Since then, Geale has defeated Garth Wood in his native Australia in February.
While he isn’t brash, confidence has never been a problem for Geale. That doesn’t appear to be changing heading into a fight that almost no one gives him a chance of winning.
Even though Jones Jr. and the oddsmakers don't see an inroad for Geale, the challenger says there will be opportunities. Per David P. Greisman of Boxing Scene, the Real Deal talked about a few ways to expose Golovkin:
He has plenty of strengths. The guy’s got good feet, good hands, great hand-eye coordination, but he does drop his guard a little bit as well. He’s there to be hit. He does rely on that power. He knows that he hurts people, and he doesn’t worry about his defense probably as much. And another weakness as well, I guess he hasn’t been in hard 12-round fights. He hasn’t been taken into that water. There’s plenty there for me to work with.
Rarely will you hear a fighter speak as freely and specifically about his opponent’s weaknesses. Perhaps because Geale has so little to lose in this situation—aside from his consciousness—he felt a detailed analysis was in order.
Analysis is awesome, but it’s just rhetoric without execution.
Golovkin will win via mid-round stoppage.
Geale’s breakdown of the champion’s perceived weaknesses isn’t far-fetched. In fact, he’s probably spot on. The task is getting to a point where one can expose such weaknesses.
Two types of fighters will have a chance to knock off Golovkin.
The first is a power puncher without fear and a touch more quickness than GGG brings to the table. Golovkin has shown a solid chin, but then again, he hasn’t been in the ring with a fighter who could really crack.
The second is a fleet-footed boxer with excellent defense, footwork, hand speed, stamina and a solid chin. A fighter with a style like Floyd Mayweather Jr. or Guillermo Rigondeaux would likely be a significant challenge for GGG.
Unfortunately for Geale, he doesn’t fit either profile. With just 16 knockouts in 32 fights, he doesn’t have the power to slug with Golovkin. Staying in the pocket too long will leave him doubled over like Macklin was when he crumpled from a Golovkin body shot last year.
While Geale is a solid boxer with good speed, he isn’t quick enough to keep Golovkin at bay for 12 rounds. Perhaps the best skill GGG has demonstrated in his career is his ability to walk down and stalk his opponents. Sooner or later, he will corner and wear Geale down.
When he does, the end will come.
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