Gennady Golovkin Eyes 2 Relentless Opponents — Canelo Alvarez & Time
By Ivan G. Goldman
Ringside at the Forum in Inglewood, California — Gennady Golovkin, who barely raised a sweat knocking out Dominic Wade in the second round Saturday night, hustles to make his mark and plenty of cash before the truth of time begins to rust him out.
To be considered great, champions must participate in great fights. So 34-year-old Golovkin, known affectionately to fans as Triple G, desperately seeks matches that will validate his ticket as a historically glorious middleweight.
In the meantime, he looks real enough to the 16,353 fans who bought nearly every available ticket in the Forum. He also looks quite substantial to HBO, whose support had much to do with the $2 million purse he earned for his efforts. That’s a sizeable sum for a contest that was non-pay-per-view. Challenger Wade earned $500,000 for his round and a half of hard, fruitless work.
GGG, a half-Korean, half-Russian from Kazakhstan, lives in Los Angeles and trains in the secluded mountain hideout of his trainer Abel Sanchez high above the city.
You get the feeling both Golovkin and Sanchez were eager to make a statement to boxing media that had dared to rank GGG as Number 2 pound-for-pound below seemingly unstoppable flyweight champion Roman “Chocolatito” Gonzalez of Nicaragua, 45-0, 38 KOs. Gonzalez, like GGG, hits with the force of a much bigger man and boxes with grace, will, and at a tenacious, violent pace.
In the lead-up bout, Gonzalez couldn’t put his tough Puerto Rican challenger McWilliams Arroyo on the canvas, much less get him out of there. This created opportunity for GGG and Sanchez, who rubbed the noses of boxing analysts in their own pronouncements by doing away with the feeling-out stuff and scoring the first knockdown seconds before the end of the first round.
Inglewood is a separate municipality that’s practically in the center of L.A. and sits adjacent to South Central. The Forum, former home of the NBA Lakers and NHL Kings, has been bought, sold, and traded by various sports and real estate tycoons since it opened in 1967.
Four years ago it was purchased by Madison Square Garden, which tricked it out with new seats, irritating laser-strength searchlights that blind audiences between rounds, and twelve-dollar cups of beer (plus tip). It once again stages big-time entertainers, though the Lakers, Kings, and Clippers have all moved downtown to the Staples Center.
L.A. has a sizeable Korean-American community, but its members weren’t much in evidence at the Forum. Word of Golovkin’s Korean heritage is just beginning to get around. Boxing writer Steve Kim of the Undisputed Champion Network, sitting two seats down in the press section, noted that one of the big Korean-language TV networks also broadcast the fight.
As hapless but game Wade was counted out in round two, you had to wonder what Canelo Alvarez and his promoter Oscar De La Hoya were thinking. Canelo, 46-1-1, 32 KOs, defends his WBC middleweight title May 7 in Las Vegas against undersized Amir Khan.
GGG, who holds the WBA and IBF belts, calls out Mexico’s Canelo every chance he gets. Thanks to his punishing style, Golovkin, 35-0, 32 KOs, has attracted plenty of Latino fans himself, and it would be hard to find anyone in boxing who doesn’t long for a Canelo-GGG showdown.
The WBC is trying to force the match, but Canelo, 25, can afford to take his time and perhaps get around to Golovkin on the inevitable downward slide.
Ivan G. Goldman’s 5th novel The Debtor Class is a ‘gripping …triumphant read,’ says Publishers
Weekly. A future cult classic with ‘howlingly funny dialogue,’ says Booklist. Available from Permanent Press wherever fine books are sold. Goldman is a New York Times best-selling author.