Ranking Golovkin's middleweight title defenses #17-9
By Hector Franco
March 16, 2017
NEW YORK – This Saturday night at Madison Square Garden middleweight kingpin Gennady Golovkin (36-0, 33 KOs) will be defending his WBA/WBC/IBF middleweight titles against Daniel Jacobs (32-1, 29 KOs). The fight may be the most anticipated middleweight title fight since Kelly Pavlik, and Jermain Taylor faced off in 2007. Going into the fight, Golovkin has been as high as an 8 to 1 favorite to defeat Jacobs.
Regardless of the odds, Jacobs is one of the biggest punchers in the middleweight division with an 88 percent knockout rate. He is possibly the biggest fighter Golovkin has faced thus far. Both men are also going into the fight with a huge amount of momentum. Jacobs is coming in having scored 12 straight stoppages and Golovkin with an impressive 23 stoppages in a row.
What’s been lost to some in the build up for Golovkin-Jacobs is the number of title defenses Golovkin has made leading up to the Jacobs bout. The Kazakhstani fighter has equaled Puerto Rican legend Wilfredo Gomez’s (44-3-1, 42 KOs) record of 17 title defenses all by stoppage. He is only three title defenses away from tying Bernard Hopkins’ (55-8-2, 32 KOs) record of 20 middleweight title defenses.
There has been much criticism thrown at Golovkin for his level of competition. We take a look back at his middleweight title defenses thus far. This list takes a look at the significance of each title defense and when each fight took place. This isn’t a definitive list as the importance of a victory can change depending on what a fighter does after a defeat. Many of these defenses especially early into Golovkin’s championship reign are arguably interchangeable as many of the fighters are not well known.
17. Dominic Wade (18-1, 12 KOs) – April 23, 2016
Dominic Wade was an IBF mandatory title defense that Golovkin was forced to make. Wade was undefeated before facing Golovkin but was best known for winning a split decision over a past prime Sam Soliman in 2015. The significance of the fight was its implications outside of the ring. Besides being a mandatory challenger, Wade is a fighter managed by Al Haymon. This match showed that Golovkin’s promoter K2 was willing to walk across the promotional aisle and work with fighters who are managed by Al Haymon. This was a precursor to the Daniel Jacobs bout.
The fight with Wade also showcased the growing popularity of Golovkin on the west coast as the Forum in Inglewood, California was sold out for a fight with a virtual unknown. The defense ranks low as Wade before the fight showed little promise and has not fought since.
16. Nilson Julio Tapia (15-3-1, 11 KOs) – December 16, 2010
The fight with Tapia was Golovkin’s first middleweight title defense, and it took place in Golovkin’s home country of Kazakhstan. Before the fight with Golovkin, Tapia won a unanimous decision over Jorge Sebastian Heiland in Panama. He also faced Austin Trout in a losing effort back in 2009.
The fight with Golovkin was a short one as Tapia was stopped in the third round. Tapia has only fought once since the loss to Golovkin where he won by knockout in Hungary.
15. Makoto Fuchigami (23-12, 14 KOs) – May 12, 2012
Fuchigami has only had one fight outside of his native Japan, and that came against Golovkin. Going into the fight with Golovkin, Fuchigami was on a nine-fight winning streak with eight of those victories coming via stoppage.
Fuchigami, however, fell victim to Golovkin’s power and was stopped in the third round. Since the loss to Golovkin, Fuchigami has remained active fighting three times in 2016 but has had mixed results. Fuchigami has gone 4-5 in his last nine fights.
14. Lajuan Simon (23-5-2, 12 KOs) – December 9, 2011
Simon was known as a durable middleweight before his fight with Golovkin as he had gone the distance with Arthur Abraham in 2009. Simon who had traveled to Germany twice before would once again for a fight with Golovkin.
Unfortunately for Simon, Golovkin would take him out impressively in the first round. This was the first time Simon had been stopped as a professional. Afterward, Simon did not fight for two more years where he was once again stopped. This time by J’leon Love in the sixth round.
13. Nobuhiro Ishida (27-11-2, 11 KOs) – March 30, 2013
Ishida is best known for his first round stoppage of then undefeated James Kirkland in what was then considered to be a huge upset. Going into the fight with Golovkin Ishida had stepped in the ring with Dmitry Pirog and Paul Williams.
Sometimes the way you knock someone out is important and can make an ordinary defense extraordinary. For Golovkin his third round knockout of Ishida may be his most impressive knockout. The fight took place in Monte Carlo in front a relatively small crowd. Golovkin was able to back Ishida up against the ropes and hit him with a devastating right hand that knocked Ishida unconscious. It is still to this day a knockout worth watching not just for the knockout blow itself but for the way it was set up. Ishida would go on to fight as a heavyweight in his native Japan.
12. Gabriel Rosado (23-10, 13 KOs) – January 19, 2013
This was Golovkin’s second fight in the United States, and it took place at the Theater at Madison Square Garden. This was one of Golovkin’s more punishing performances as he bloodied Rosado and forced his corner to stop the fight in the seventh round.
Rosado had given up a title shot to move up in weight to face Golovkin for a bigger paycheck. Despite Golovkin reportedly being sick days leading into the fight he had an impressive performance. Many may not remember that this was on the undercard of the Mikey Garcia-Orlando Salido featherweight championship bout.
This bout started off Golovkin’s popularity in the New York City area.
11. Osumanu Adama (25-4, 18 KOs) – February 1, 2014
This was the last Golovkin fight that wasn’t televised by HBO since they got into business with the Kazakhstani. The fight with Adama took place in Monte Carlo. Golovkin dominated Adama scoring three knockdowns with the referee stopping the bout in the seventh round.
It wasn’t one of Golovkin’s best performances but showcased Golovkin’s ability to break down even the toughest opponent methodically.
10. Willie Monroe Jr. (21-2, 6 KOs) – May 16, 2015
For many, Monroe was seen as an opportunity to see Golovkin step in the ring against a technician who may use lateral movement. Golvkin, however, is a technician himself and was able to cut the ring off on Monroe. In the second round, Golovkin scored a knockdown with beautifully timed left hook. After another knockdown from a right hand, Monroe’s legs didn’t seem to be fully under him.
The next three rounds are what the fight is best known for as Golovkin seemingly allowed Monroe to unload combinations on him to let the fight last longer and make it more competitive. Regardless, Golovkin pressed forward and forced a stoppage in the sixth round after scoring another knockdown. Monroe decided he didn’t want to continue stating to the referee that he was done.
9. Kell Brook (36-1, 25 KOs) – September 10, 2016
This was Golovkin’s last fight and one of his most controversial title defenses. The plan for Team Golovkin was to invade the UK, but negotiations for a fight with WBO middleweight titleholder Billy Joe Saunders and former middleweight contender Chris Eubank Jr. fell to the wayside. Brook was preparing for a unification fight with then WBO welterweight champion Jessie Vargas but negotiations there were also in limbo. Brook decided to take the contract that Eubank had turned down and signed his name on the dotted line.
Brook at the time was ranked by many as the number one welterweight and would be moving up to the middleweight division to face Golovkin. This put Golovkin in a position where he wouldn’t be given much credit for a victory and criticism if Brook gave him any trouble.
The fight itself was exciting for as long as it lasted. Golovkin threw out much of his technique and immediately put pressure on Brook. Brook was hurt in the first round with a body shot and looked overwhelmed with Golovkin’s power and volume. Brook rebounded in the second round and landed some well-timed uppercuts and right hands on Golovkin. This excited the sell-out crowd at the O2 Arena in London as Brook a massive underdog won the second round.
From that point on Golovkin’s pressure began to take its toll on Brook culminating in a fifth round that saw Brook take a beating. Brook’s corner threw in the towel bringing the bout to a halt. It was found later on that Brook suffered a broken orbital bone in the fight.
Many thought that Brook exposed a weakness in Golovkin by landing uppercuts in the fight. On Saturday night we’ll find out if Jacobs will use the Brook fight as a reference to land his own uppercuts.
(Feature Photo: Joe Camporeale/ USA TODAY Sports)