Ranking Golovkin's middleweight title defenses #8-1
By Hector Franco
March 16, 2017
NEW YORK- We are only a few days away from Gennady Golovkin’s (36-0, 33 KOs) 18th title defense against Daniel Jacobs (32-1, 29 KOs) at Madison Square Garden. Looking at the first half of Golovkin’s middleweight title defenses it’s clear that at this point a win over Jacobs would be one of the best victories of his career. How Golovkin wins will matter just as much as a victory itself with him being such a huge favorite.
Let’s take a look at the top eight middleweight title defenses Golovkin has made thus far.
8. Marco Antonio Rubio (59-8-1, 51 KOs) – October 18, 2014
The fight with Rubio was the fight that officially announced the arrival of Golovkin as a superstar and a draw in the sport of boxing. Golovkin set an attendance record at the StubHub Center in Carson, California and even took a lap around the arena for his ring entrance.
The fight with Rubio was for the interim WBC middleweight title making him the number one contender for whoever held the title. The hype of the crowd overshadowed the match itself as it only lasted two rounds. The Rubio fight was necessary for Golovkin to bring him onto the west coast and to establish future fights with big names such as Canelo Alvarez.
7. Kassim Ouma (29-10-1, 18 KOS) – June 17, 2011
Many would still argue that Ouma gave Golovkin the toughest fight of his career. Ouma was able to keep the fight on the inside giving Golovkin some trouble. The former IBF super welterweight champion was the more experienced fighter before facing Golovkin. The Uganda-born fighter had faced the likes of Jermain Taylor and Vanes Martirosyan before facing Golovkin.
The Ouma fight gave Golovkin the experience he may need in future matches where his power may not end a fight early. Golovkin was able to secure a victory via tenth round stoppage. This was the first time Ouma was stopped since 1999.
6. Grzegorz Proksa (29-4, 21 KOs) – September 1, 2012
Originally Golovkin was supposed to face Dmitry Pirog on his first date with HBO. Pirog got injured in training camp and was replaced with Proksa. For many, this was the first time they had seen Golovkin. As far as debuts are concerned this was one of the best made on HBO. This was also Golovkin’s first fight in the United States.
Golovkin showed his full arsenal against Proksa showing his ability to cut off the ring and connect with body punches. Golovkin was able to stop Proksa in the fifth round.
5. Curtis Stevens (29-6, 21 KOs) – November 2, 2013
Many doubters were turned into believers after Golovkin dispatched of Curtis Stevens in 2013. Some fans argued that Golovkin had yet to face a puncher. Stevens was the first fighter Golovkin faced who was disrespectful and talked trash to him.
Stevens paid the price on fight night as early as the second round as he was knocked down and the camera caught him making a facial gesture describing how hard Golovkin hits. Stevens did have his moments as he landed some punches on Golovkin but the punches had no effect. Golovkin would go on to put a beating on Stevens and force his corner to stop the fight after the eighth round.
4. Matthew Macklin (35-6, 22 KOs) – June 29, 2013
Macklin was seen as the biggest challenge of Golovkin’s career before they faced off in 2013. Macklin had previously given champions Felix Sturm and Sergio Martinez two tough fights, and many thought Macklin was robbed against Sturm.
When they met in the ring, Macklin turned out to be the perfect style for Golovkin. In the third round, Golovkin landed a beautiful left hook to the body putting Macklin on the canvas to give Golovkin a third round knockout victory. This fight put the boxing world on notice, letting everyone know that it would take a special fighter to defeat Golovkin.
3. Daniel Geale (31-5, 16 KOs) – July 26, 2014
The fight with Geale would put Golovkin in the ring with a former middleweight champion. Geale had just recently gone to Germany and defeated Felix Sturm. Before he faced Golovkin, Geale lost his IBF middleweight title to Darren Barker by split decision in a fight that could have been scored for either man.
The fight with Geale was Golovkin’s first time headlining a show at the main building at Madison Square Garden. The fight ended in the third round after Golovkin was hit with a right hand by Geale only to immediately land a right hand of his own to end the fight. The Geale win was another knockout to add to the long list of highlight reel knockouts for Golovkin.
2. Martin Murray (34-4-1, 16 KOs) – February 21, 2015
Many fans considered Murray to be the uncrowned middleweight champion before facing Golovkin in 2015. In 2013, Murray traveled to Argentina to face Sergio Martinez and lost a decision that many felt he won clearly. Before that Murray traveled to Germany to face Felix Sturm where he got a draw in a fight that many felt he won.
It could be argued that this is the best defense of Golovkin’s title reign due to Murray’s status before the fight. The match with Murray marked the first time Golovkin had gone eleven rounds as a professional. In the fourth round, Golovkin scored two knockdowns, and it seemed that the fight was about to end.
Murray survived and took a beating until the tenth round where he was once again sent to the canvas by a right hand. The fight was stopped in the eleventh round after Golovkin drove Murray to the ropes and landed a punch that snapped the UK fighters head back.
The Murray fight was one of the better performances of Golovkin’s career as he showed he could go the distance and that his power would last into the championship rounds.
1.David Lemieux (37-3, 33 KOs) – October 17, 2015
The best title defense of Golovkin’s career was against Montreal’s David Lemieux. The fight with Lemieux was the first time Golovkin would be facing a bigger puncher than himself. Despite Lemieux’s setbacks in 2011, he came back to win the IBF middleweight championship against Hassan N’Dam in the summer of 2015.
Golovkin was the favorite going into the fight, but the way he performed surprised many boxing fans. Golovkin fought a disciplined fight against Lemieux and dominated the fight using his jab. Golovkin dropped Lemieux in the fifth round, and by the seventh round, many were expecting the referee to intervene and stop the fight.
The end came in the eighth round after Golovkin again pushed Lemieux back with a body shot forcing referee Steve Willis to stop the fight.
The reason this fight ranks so high is the spotlight it put on Golovkin’s career. The fight at the time set records for Madison Square Garden in pre-fight sales and attendance. The fight with Lemieux was also Golovkin’s first time headlining a PPV (pay-per-view), and as far as his performance he delivered. Looking at the middleweight division’s current state, Lemieux would likely be favored against anyone other than Canelo and Golovkin.
On Saturday night Golovkin will once again headline a PPV at Madison Square Garden. He could very well put on a performance that overshadows what he did against Lemieux
(Feature Photo: Reuters)