Who Should Gennady Golovkin Fight After Win vs. Kamil Szeremeta?

Lyle Fitzsimmons@@fitzbitzFeatured ColumnistDecember 19, 2020

Who Should Gennady Golovkin Fight After Win vs. Kamil Szeremeta?

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    Cliff Hawkins/Getty Images

    Act One went according to script.

    Dual-belted middleweight champion Gennadiy Golovkin defended his IBF/IBO straps in predictable fashion on Friday night, erasing anonymous contender Kamil Szeremeta in the main event of a DAZN-televised card from behind closed doors at the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel and Casino in Hollywood, Florida.

    The win was the 41st in 43 fights for the 38-year-old Golovkin and his third straight since he lost his previous cache of 160-pound championship jewelry to Canelo Alvarez in their second get-together in 2018.

    Golovkin dominated the previously unbeaten Szeremeta for every minute before the decisive sequence, which actually came in the corner when referee Telis Assimenios stopped matters after the seventh round.

    Statistically, Golovkin landed 41 percent of his punches to 18 percent for Szeremeta, scoring single knockdowns in four separate rounds in his first appearance in 440 days.

    "I thought he was fantastic. It's difficult for guys on this level to come back," promoter Eddie Hearn said. "It was great for Gennadiy to get rounds today. We look forward to a very exciting 2021."

    Naturally, a one-sided blowout over a lightly-regarded opponent doesn't much move the titillation meter, but the win does keep the champion in the mix for a handful of fights with more potential to thrill.

    The Bleacher Report combat sports team took in Friday's action and compiled a list of foes who make the most sense for that next step—given boxing's signature issues with promoters, networks and other concerns.

    Take a look at our thoughts and let us know what you think in the comments.

5. Jaime Munguia

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    Isaac Brekken/Associated Press

    What a difference two years make.

    Back in 2018, with Golovkin in need of a foe after Alvarez failed a drug test before their May 5 fight, a 21-year-old Jaime Munguia was suggested as a late-stage replacement. 

    But in spite of a gaudy 28-0 record with 24 KOs, he was deemed unfit by the Nevada Athletic Commission because he'd not faced anything remotely close to Golovkin's level.

    These days, though, it would make a lot more sense.

    Munguia wound up earning a championship at 154 pounds just a week after Golovkin went ahead with a fight against Vanes Martirosyan, and he defended five times through the end of 2019 before moving his angular six-foot frame to the Kazakh's neighborhood at 160.

    Two fights at middleweight have yielded two KO wins over foes with a combined 51-5-1 record, which has the Mexican slugger, now 24, eager for the Golovkin challenge.

    "It would be a great opportunity for me," Munguia told FightHype.com. "We decided amongst ourselves that we're ready to take that risk."

4. Daniel Jacobs

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    Frank Franklin II/Associated Press

    It's a matchup that makes sense. 

    But one side might want it more than the other.

    Golovkin saw his nine-year, 23-fight KO streak come to an end when he fought Daniel Jacobs in 2017 and escaped, barely, with a narrow unanimous decision at Madison Square Garden.

    It was the first time in a while that Golovkin had been made to look mortal, and Jacobs showed significant mettle by getting up from a fourth-round knockdown and having his best moments across the final eight.

    The champion drew with Alvarez in his next fight and lost to him a year later, while Jacobs won three straight at middleweight, lost his own close nod to Alvarez and ditched the weight class for a move to 168.

    It's there that he'd like to see his Kazakh rival again.

    "He's an older guy, and it's tough to teach an old dog new tricks," Jacobs told Premier Boxing Champions' Lem Satterfield. "It's hard to knock out GGG, but we already know I have the speed advantage. I need to be more aggressive from the start. If I apply a little more aggression, stand my ground and keep his jab accuracy to a minimum, I win a decision."

3. Billy Joe Saunders

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    Jayne Kamin-Oncea/Getty Images

    Billy Joe Saunders didn't seem eager to begin with.

    The brash UK product was the WBO middleweight champion during a chunk of Golovkin's own title reign in the weight class, and his was the only belt Golovkin was unable to secure a chance to win.

    Ask Golovkin and he'll say it was because Saunders never wanted the bout.

    In fact, he punctuated a press conference back then by asking, "Why talk about Saunders?" and suggesting, "Come on guys, he's not serious."

    But these days, with Saunders now a two-defense champion at 168 pounds, it's him doing the callouts.

    He countered Golovkin's suggestion that he was avoiding a match by posting a screenshot of a text conversation with promoter Tom Loeffler that indicated he was looking forward to the negotiation progress.

    "Who's the p---y now?" Saunders said on Instagram (h/t TalkSport).

2. Demetrius Andrade

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    Michael Dwyer/Associated Press

    Golovkin has always been about the belts.

    He wanted the middleweight match with the aforementioned Saunders because the Briton held the only belt he'd not had a chance to capture.

    And given that Demetrius Andrade now holds that WBO championship trinket, and both fighters work with Hearn's Matchroom Boxing promotional enterprise, it makes sense to put it together.

    The only question: Is Andrade, nicknamed Boo Boo, too big a risk to take before another Canelo cash out?

    A tall, lanky southpaw, the former U.S. Olympian is 29-0 with 18 KOs and has defended that WBO title three times since winning it in 2018. Previously, he'd held the WBO's championship at 154 pounds.

    "Stylistically, Boo Boo is a nightmare for everybody, but I want to see him get his shot," said Chris Algieri, who provided color commentary on DAZN's Friday broadcast. "That fight makes a lot of sense."

1. Canelo Alvarez

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    Isaac Brekken/Associated Press

    Let the record show that Hearn mentioned other fighters.

    He suggested Saunders could be a good match for Golovkin, and added Andrade to the conversation, too.

    But the guy fighting Saturday is the biggest star in the sport, provides the best shot at competitive satisfaction for Golovkin and promises the most lucrative night's work for his trouble.

    So any Golovkin fight not involving Canelo Alvarez will be considered a consolation prize.

    And though Golovkin never mentioned him by name, there's little doubt who he was referring to when he said: "I'm open for anybody. The best opportunity for me, for business, for DAZN, for fans. I'm ready."

    Hearn, too, seemed anxious to get the trilogy storyline started.

    "When he faces the best next year, you're going to see an even better fight," he said. "Gennadiy is the boss. He's earned the right to fight who he wants to fight. We want to see him in the biggest fights. Trust me, guys, we'll bring the best fight for next time."

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