By Sean Crose
After a relatively disappointing Bryant Jennings-Mike Perez under card fight, boxing fans were undoubtedly hoping for some excitement when Daniel Geale and Gennady Golovkin stepped into the ring at Madison Square Garden on Saturday night. HBO, which seemed to have a bit riding on Golovkin, was clearly hoping for a good show. The question was, would GGG continue to dominate as he had for the previous few years?
Photo: USA Today
Geale was the clear underdog, but he was no tuneup. Here was an experienced, highly skilled and determined challenger. In short, Geale was unquestionably Golovkin’s biggest challenge to date as a professional. Both men looked intense as Michael Buffer went through the introductions. Then the bell rang and it was time to answer the question of who would walk out with the middleweight belt.
Golovkin caught Geale with a solid shot right off the bat in the first round. The n the fast Geale tossed in a few good combos. They didn’t have much oomph, but they counted nonetheless. Yet Golovkin showed some solid defensive skills by stepping away from Geale before the Australian could land.
He also had Geale in the corner with less than a minute left and did some effective work. Geale continued to quickly fire off punches in bunches (the man was clearly determined) in what turned into a four minute round, but the opening of the bout still belonged to Golovkin.
By the beginning of the second round the vicious Golovkin had his man down less than a minute in. “Sheer volume won’t do,” HBO commentator Jim Lampley said of Geale – and he was right. The man they call GGG was simply too strong for the challenger to outslick. Geale was game, energetic and brave, but the champion just hit too hard.
The look on Geale’s face as he sat in his corner between the second and third rounds spoke volumes. He listened carefully to the motivational words of his trainer, but he clearly had the look of a man who was in over his head.
Still, Geale made Golovkin miss several shots in the third and took to fighting in a back and forth, in and out style. Golovkin, however, was able to cut off the ring and work away. With less than thirty seconds left in the round, the challenger was down again. And referee Mike Ortega stopped the fight. It was a good call by Ortega.
And yet another amazing performance by Golovkin.
Big money fighters can avoid Golovkin all they want, but the fact is people are noticing. Here is a man who has knocked out seventeen straight opponents, a hitter who makes slick fighters slow right down before he lays them out. Even Geale nodded his head in agreement when Ortega stopped the fight. Freddie Roach was apparently at the bout, to see what this boogeyman Golovkin was made of. One can only wonder what kind of report he’ll give to Miguel Cotto.
Speaking to Max Kellerman after the fight Golovkin behaved as he always does (except when he’s fighting), and that’s like a gentleman. “This is Mexican style,” he told Kellerman. “This is not game. It’s fight. I love fight.” He then made it clear he wants Cotto. “I’m ready,” he said. “For everybody.”
The bout more than made up for the lackluster affair that the Jennings-Perez match turned out to be. Golovkin-Geale may have been predictable, but good knockouts are never boring. Lampley and Kellerman made it a point to push a Golovkin-Cotto superfight afterward (why wouldn’t they?). Lampley perhaps summed Golovkin’s aura up best, however, when he quoted super middleweight champion Carl Froch:
“I don’t need to be in with him. Dangerous fight.”