What does the future hold for Gennady Golovkin?
By Joseph Correa
Current middleweight champion (IBF/IBO/WBA) Gennady Golovkin (34-0, 31 KOs) has been on a tear over the past few years destroying every fighter in his path, prompting many fans to deem him boxing’s new pound for pound king. It has been difficult, to say the least, for Golovkin to secure a fight with a live opponent as many have declined to fight him. Golovkin's next foe Dominic Wade (18-0, 12 KOs) vows that he is very much a live opponent and that he is not afraid of GGG like many of the other’s who came before him have shown the tendency to be. Wade has said to anyone that will listen that Golovkin is not a "special" fighter and certainly no "monster," and that he will get the job done when the two meet on April 23rd at the Forum in Los Angeles.
Could this fight actually be competitive and does Wade have what it takes to pull off an upset?
Looking at this fight on paper one would have to assume that Wade has no chance at all. Despite his unblemished record (18-0,12 KOs) The best opponent he has faced thus far has been Australia’s Sam Soliman which he defeated via razor-thin split decision on Showtime’s ShoBox in June of last year. If Wade is truly unafraid of Golovkin and he can box smart and work his way inside with his jab he could have some success. That is easier said than done. Golovkin is a patient fighter with a very good jab himself and he has shown that he can use it effectively to set up his big power shots much like he did in his previous fight against David Lemieux. Dominic Wade will need a nearly perfect gameplay and flawless execution to have any chance at all to beat the champion from Kazakhstan.
Will a fight with Canelo Alvarez materialize this year?
That is difficult to say at this point. Both Canelo and his team at Golden Boy Promotions have said they would fight Golovkin, but have stipulated that the fight would have to take place at 155 and not 160, which is the middleweight limit. Golovkin and his trainer Abel Sanchez have been adamant that he would not go down to 155 for the fight and that they fight at “160.”
The issue here is that Team Canelo could choose to vacate the WBC middleweight title and move back down to 154 which would eliminate the fight completely. This would be a terrible thing for Golovkin as it would leave him once again in no man's land, fighting little-known opposition and void of a true marquee fight once again. Make no mistake about it, Golovkin needs the Canelo fight more than Canelo needs the Golovkin fight at this point in their careers so it may be wise to at least listen to the offer that Golden Boy is placing on the table when that time comes. Canelo will have plenty of big money fights available to him with or without Golovkin in the mix.
Without a big fight, Golovkin risks being in a similar situation that Wladimir Klitschko was in for many years. He was the unified Heavyweight champion holding 3 of the 4 belts in the division, but he grew stale with the American fans because he didn’t have many interesting fights during his reign. When he did finally fight a big fight against Tyson Fury he was defeated and criticism soon followed.
If the Canelo fight doesn’t happen, what’s next?
The best move would be to try and line something up with Danny Jacobs who is coming off of an impressive first round stoppage win over Peter Quillin and if that fight cannot be made then a move to super middleweight would be logical. Fights with James DeGale, Arthur Abraham, Badou Jack, or Gilberto Ramirez would all be welcomed by the boxing world as viable opponents and each of these fights would offer up a great challenge for Golovkin. Also, such a move may prompt recent light heavyweight entrant and pound for pound pugilist Andre Ward to consider a catchweight meeting with Golovkin, at 172 perhaps. If Golovkin continues on his current path it’s hard to imagine that he will cement his legacy amongst the very best. His focus on picking up titles should be shifted to a focus on fighting the best fighter’s available.
Bernard Hopkins is considered one of the best middleweights in the history of the sport. He earned that fighting and winning titles over the very best in the division. Golovkin, on the other hand, has no big names on his resume to this point and at 33 years old his time clock is ticking.