By Sean Crose
Make no mistake about it, Gennady Golovkin is on his way to becoming a star. A big star. A legitimate star. Without market-tested hype or a built-in ethnic fan base, the man has nonetheless blasted his way to the top of the middleweight division. He’s sold out the StubHub Center for his next bout this Saturday, and a boxing starved public is salivating to see the man ply his trade live on HBO.
What of Golovkin’s opponent, though? What of Mexico’s Marco Antonio Rubio? Does he stand a chance – any chance at all – of winning against the middleweight terror? As a matter of fact, he does. It all depends on what style he brings into the ring on Saturday, though.
Don’t be misled. If Rubio decides to go backwards like he did right off the bat against Dominico Spada last March, the man is mincemeat. Spada was able to go under Rubio’s generally effective high guard and thud at Rubio with body blows. If Rubio allows Golovkin to tap his torso like that, the fight is over. Golovkin’s body attack can finish a guy off quick. Just ask Matthew Macklin.
If, however, Rubio employs the same strategy against Golovkin as he did against Dionisio Miranda back in July of 2013, things could turn interesting. For against Miranda, Rubio proved he could move away from a body shot and work the ring without allowing himself to be cornered. He also showed he could hit. Hard.
Rubio had shown his punching power before, however, almost countless times, in fact. And he’s going to have to put that punching power to work again on Saturday if he hopes to emerge victorious. His jab and overhand right looked less than effective in the early going against Spada. He’s got to make both crackle against Golovkin.
And if Rubio can do that? Well, let’s just say the man has polished off 51 (that’s fifty plus one) men by knockout, earning himself a KO ratio on BoxRec of over 77%. That’s an absolutely enormous percentage.
What’s more, Golovkin has never felt that thunderous power of Rubio’s before. If Rubio can land flush against Golovkin the way Daniel Geale did (before he went down) in Golovkin’s last fight, 2014 might have yet another huge upset to boast of.
Let’s not forget, however, that Golovkin can hit hard, too – harder than Rubio, some would undoubtedly argue. What’s more, as high as Rubio’s KO ratio is, Golovkin’s is even higher – a nearly unfathomable 90% according to BoxRec. Golovkin has also proven himself to be quite the ring practitioner. Whether it’s a bruiser like Curtis Stevens or a slickster like Geale, the man has always found a way to emerge victorious.
How, one may well ask, will Rubio react when Golovkin hits him (and make no mistake about it, Golovkin will land on the man)? Rubio’s suffered three knockout losses throughout his career, after all. It’s not all that difficult to picture the guy suffering a fourth if he lets Golovkin have his way for any length of time.
In the end, the result of this bout may indeed end up being a foregone conclusion. Golovkin is on the rise, after all, and Rubio has several defeats under his belt (including one to the disappointing Julio Caesar Chavez Junior). Still, any man as game, tough and hard hitting as Rubio has proven to be can’t be overlooked.
It’s good to keep in mind that rugged journeymen can sometimes climb their way to the top of the heap by shocking the world. History has proven that over and over again. James Braddock. Marlon Starling. James Douglas. The list can go on and on. Will Rubio be able to join that most unusual of clubs? The odds say he won’t. Yet one never knows.
This is boxing, after all.