By Ivan G. Goldman
The element of surprise is one of the best things about fighters like Gennady Golovkin of Kazakhstan. Just when we think we’ve got a division all scoped out, somebody like him comes along to remind us we have no idea how many future stars might be working diligently in obscure gyms around the world just waiting to show us how little we know.
One reason he was so impressive as he thoroughly manhandled and beat down the very game Grzegorz Proksa Saturday night was Proksa, who, like Golovkin, was almost completely unknown in North America. The Pole proved to be no slouch either, sticking, moving, and striking accurately from odd angles. But Golovkin, 30, walked him down inside of five rounds with rocket speed, explosive power, and punches in bunches.
Seems like we see fewer and fewer European boxers with a stiff, stand-up style and more and more whose moves mimic fighters like the great Roy Jones, who very fittingly was a member of the HBO broadcast team.
In the co-feature, Jonathan Gonzalez, by weighing in nine pounds over the junior middleweight limit for his HBO debut, stunk up his career so badly he may never succeed in fumigating it.
Unfortunately for Gonzalez, he’s no Clint Eastwood, who two nights earlier at the Republican National Convention irrevocably screwed up his chances to give another prime-time political speech. Puerto Rican Gonzales, as far as I can tell, doesn’t have an alternate career that will pay him millions per year. Sure, Eastwood, 82, put on a strange, mumbling performance and wouldn’t even leave the podium when he was supposed to. But Eastwood’s Hollywood prospects remain intact, as well they should, untouched by his daring but ultimately creepy political presentation of a man talking to a chair. Gonzalez, at the tender age of 23, may have already wrecked what could have been a promising career. Put yourself in the shoes of an executive at HBO or its rival Showtime, the twin rulers of TV boxing in America. Would you count on him when you’re putting together a multi-million-dollar event?
After Adrian Broner didn’t even try to make the 130-pound limit against Vicente Escobedo I pointed out the simple truth that a man should do what he says he’s going to do. Sure, sometimes there are extenuating circumstances. A fighter could get run over by an ice cream truck on his way to the arena, for example. In fact, flabby Gonzalez looked like he might have chased many an ice cream truck in his time.
But when it’s in the power of a fighter to fulfill his contract, that’s what he ought to do. Broner came in three and a half pounds over. Pretty bad. But not enough to destroy the career of an entertaining fighter like him. Nine pounds, however, is out of this galaxy. It’s a fat lump of excess flesh that’s very likely to cause a last-minute cancellation. Gonzalez, 15-0-1 (13KOs), would have to be awfully spectacular from here on out to earn himself another network shot like the one he threw away against Sergiy Dzinziruk when they fought to a twelve-round draw in an unsporting, so-so contest.
It’s possible for a fighter to make a lot of money without HBO or Showtime, but it’s much harder. And even if Gonzalez were to try taking his porky act to Europe, for example, the big networks over there aren’t stupid either. It’s a pity that sometimes young men don’t have a mature understanding of how thoroughly their actions now can affect the rest of their lives.
I mentioned earlier that Tom Loeffler of K2 Promotions claimed Golovkin, 24-0 (21KOs), is the best middleweight in the world. I don’t know if he is or not, but I’m sure glad I didn’t laugh at the remark. The fans who saw him will want to see him again, and those who missed him are unlikely to make that mistake when he fights next. A lazy, irresponsible fighter like Gonzalez is a lot easier to put up with when he’s followed by a Golovkin.
Ivan G. Goldman’s critically acclaimed novel The Barfighter is set in the world of boxing. Information HERE