Gennady Golovkin (30-0, 27 KOs) will defend his WBA Super and IBO middleweight titles against Marco Antonio Rubio (59-6-1, 51KOs) at the StubHub Center in Carson, California on October 18. The 32-year-old from Kazakhstan, who has an incredible 90% KO percentage, was last in action on July 26 when he knocked out former world title holder Daniel Geale in the third round of their fight in the main arena at Madison Square Garden in New York.
Rubio is a seasoned veteran who has challenged for a world title on two previous occasions, dropping a unanimous decision to then WBC champion Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. in February 2012 and retiring after nine rounds against then WBC/WBO champ Kelly Pavlik in 2009. The Mexican will go into this fight a rank outsider, as Golovkin has left a trail of destruction behind him in the 160-pound division. The statistics are staggering; Golovkin hasn’t gone the distance in six years, his knockout percentage is the highest of any current champion and he has defended his title 11 times.
Golovkin has concussive power in both hands, and his ability to cut the ring off always puts him in prime position to inflict damage on his opponents, which he does with a surgeon’s precision. He also has a mean defense, and he has never been knocked down, either as an amateur or as a professional. While Rubio is a tough honest fighter who has promised to bring a strong Mexican style fight to the champion, there is nothing to suggest that the GGG train won’t keep on rolling on in what will be his first fighting appearance on the West Coast. In case you are not too familiar with the man, here are five things you need to know about Gennady Gennadyevich Golovkin.
The Man’s a Beast
You might think we bandy that word around a lot, but take a look at the highlights from his last fight with Daniel Geale. In real time it is hard to spot, but Geale beats Golovkin to the punch in this final exchange in the fight. Golovkin, who is trained by Abel Sanchez, eats a straight right, but he still gets his own right off to deck the Australian. Now, watch the reaction of Geale, a supremely conditioned athlete who has just been floored by his off-balance opponent. There’s an old adage that when some fighters hit you, they move you. When Golovkin hits guys, he gives them new zip codes.
GGG’s Greatest Hits Hurt to Watch
Another notable fact about Golovkin is that no punch is wasted. He feels out his opponents, and once he figures out what he wants to do, he picks them apart punch by punch. Check out this HBO compilation of GGG’s greatest hits. In his January 2013 fight against Gabriel Rosado, Golovkin was so ill with flu that the fight was almost called off. However, he soldiered on and just take a look at what he did. Or, check out the body shot he lands on Matthew Macklin. And, if that does not convince you, check out the exchange with Curtis Stevens around the 4:50 mark.
Stellar Amateur Record
Like most fighters at the very elite level, GGG’s amateur credentials are beyond reproach. It might look like he is an overnight success, but he learned his craft over a long and successful career in the unpaid ranks. The Kazakh won a silver medal at the 2004 Olympics in Athens, and his record as an amateur is a not-too-shabby 345-5.
The Affable Assasin of the RIng
When you think GGG, there are two personalities. In the ring, he will stalk you down and, as 90% of his opponents can attest, knock you out. However, outside the ring, you will rarely see a more composed, affable gentleman who is never short of a smile. It must be somewhat disconcerting for challengers who can’t penetrate the beaming champ, who treats them with nothing but courtesy. As his English language skills improve, he consistently refrains from trash talking, and has long said that he will fight anyone, anytime (in the past, team Golovkin has said that their fighter will take on anyone between 154 and 168 pounds). During the run up to his recent fight at MSG in NYC, Golovkin’s management team put in efforts to raise his profile, and one of the things they did was to put their man on stage as Golovkin made his Broadway in a cameo appearance in Rocky!
None of the Big Boys Want to Fight Him
While Rubio has courageously taken up the gauntlet and agreed to fight GGG, the champion is having a tough time securing a high-profile opponent. The consensus is that the risk-reward is too high. While Golovkin’s popularity is growing, he is not yet at the level where other fighters deem it worthy to take the risk of fighting him. In a recent interview with ESPN, Freddie Roach said that his fighter Miguel Cotto would be up for fighting GGG, but only after fighting Saul “Canelo” Alvarez. Right now, Alvarez is bigger box office, puts more butts on seats and sells more PPVs. All that GGG, who is handled by K2 Promotions, can do to close the balance is to continue to blitz through the opponents they put in front of him. Once his handlers can help him crack the mainstream, then he will move into another level. But, in boxing, one punch can change everything, so it will be up to GGG to make sure he takes care of business this fall.