Golovkin vs. Rubio: GGG Builds Rep as Boxing's Baddest Man with Vicious KO

Kelsey McCarsonFeatured ColumnistOctober 19, 2014

GGG was too good for Rubio.
GGG was too good for Rubio.Alex Gallardo/Associated Press

Gennady Golovkin butchered Marco Antonio Rubio on Saturday night in just two rounds to prove he’s the baddest man on the planet.

Golovkin’s ruthless precision is akin to what Mike Tyson did in the 1980s. The point was much belabored after the win by HBO’s broadcast team, but for good reason: Golovkin is that good.

Host of HBO Boxing Jim Lampley compared Golovkin to an early version of Tyson. “You’re going to get your money’s worth, but you’ve got to get it in a hurry,” said Lampley. “It doesn’t last long.”

Alex Gallardo/Associated Press

After seeing Golovkin land 54 percent of his power punches on Rubio’s head and body, color analyst Roy Jones Jr. agreed. He called Golovkin a middleweight version of Tyson and showered him with praise.

“He’s a guy that destroys everybody they put in front of him,” said Jones, and he’s right.

Golovkin isn’t just good. He’s scary good. He makes short work of fighters like Rubio who have gone rounds with some of the very best middleweights in the world.

It isn’t just his power either. Golovkin is skilled at what he does. Rubio tried to present him with a puzzle to solve. That’s what world-class fighters do to each other. They try to give their opponent a problem to work out.

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Rubio tried to keep Golovkin at arm’s length. He used his long arms to fire straight punches at Golovkin as the predatory middleweight came toward him.

Alex Gallardo/Associated Press

But Golovkin landed hard shots in Round 1 anyway and came out in Round 2 ready to finish Rubio off.

Because here’s the thing about Golovkin: He doesn’t care about puzzles. He smashes them to bits with his fists, wiping the pieces away with one hand while using the other to bludgeon his opponent’s skull.

And he loves doing it.

Golovkin is no crude slugger. He has one of the best and most versatile jabs in the sport. He uses it as a rangefinder as well as to stun opponents so he can land his left hook or overhand right.

While Rubio seemed determined to keep Golovkin on the end of his punches, he couldn't keep Golovkin's jab away from him no matter how hard he tried.  

Accuracy is also one of Golovkin's best attributes. It's one thing to throw hard punches. It's another thing to know when and how to throw them so that they land. Golovkin knows combination punching is the secret to finding a target.  

When Golovkin throws punches, he usually lands them.
When Golovkin throws punches, he usually lands them.Jonathan Moore/Getty Images

Moreover, for all the guff Golovkin gets about defense, he's adept at landing more punches than his opponents. Golovkin outlanded Rubio 45 to 21 on the evening and appeared in control from the very beginning of the fight.  

Speaking to HBO’s Max Kellerman moments after clubbing poor Rubio down to the canvas, Golovkin’s bright smile was the kind kids give their parents right before they open their presents on Christmas Day.

“I like fight,” said Golovkin. “I don’t like dancing. I like fighting.”

Frank Franklin II/Associated Press

Golovkin is a predator. He’s always hunting his prey, and when he finds it, he ends things as quickly as possible.

Think about this: He has knocked out 18 straight opponents. And these guys aren’t bums either.

Rubio had won six straight since taking Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. the distance back in 2012.

Former titleholder Daniel Geale had never been knocked out before, and Golovkin made him into a ragdoll in just three rounds.

Curtis Stevens thought he had tasted enough success at 168 pounds to be the bigger puncher on fight night. Nope. Golovkin finished him off in Round 8.

Matthew Macklin had given a prime Sergio Martinez all he could handle for 11 rounds back in 2012. But Golovkin doubled Macklin over with a body shot in Round 3 that appeared to break the durable fighter in half when it landed.

At age 32, Golovkin is knocking out solid contenders as if they were club fighters. Tyson never did that.

Frank Franklin II/Associated Press

Oh sure, Iron Mike knocked out 19 straight to open his storied career. But look back at Tyson’s resume. None of the knockouts that made him the baddest man in boxing came against fighters near as good as Golovkin’s last few opponents.

You know what? Golovkin might not just be scary. He might not even just be scary good.

Golovkin might turn out to be the scariest and baddest fighter who ever lived. And that’s not just hyperbole at this point. He actually appears to possess that potential.

Of course, in order to prove that, he needs fights against the very best. Miguel Cotto would do. Canelo Alvarez would suffice. Chavez Jr., Andre Ward or Carl Froch would be good fights, too.

LOS ANGELES, CA - OCTOBER 18:  Gennady Gennadyevich Golovkin of Kazakhstan celebrates after beating Marco Antonio Rubio of Mexico in two rounds of the WBC Interim Middleweight Title bout at StubHub Center on October 18, 2014 in Los Angeles, California.  (
Jonathan Moore/Getty Images

Kellerman asked Golovkin who he preferred to meet first.

“I think first Miguel Cotto,” said Golovkin.

But one got the impression from the monstrous puncher that he’d face any or all of them on any given night and love doing so—that he wouldn’t quibble over things like purse sizes, title belts or whose name would appear first on the poster.

And for fighters brave enough to feign interest in a Golovkin challengeat least long enough to get fight fans off their backsthat just might be the scariest thing of all. Golovkin is absolutely ready to fight them.

But they’d be wise to consider changing careers if it came down to it, because Golovkin is one bad dude.