By: William Holmes
After a brief hiatus mainly due to the Olympics, HBO brings back boxing- with their Boxing After Dark series. Saturday’s card features a middleweight championship bout between Gennady Golovkin and Grzegorz Proksa for the WBA Middleweight Title. The winner of the bout will likely be placed in front of the line for a chance at the winner between next month’s bout between Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. and Sergio Martinez.
HBO, to its credit, has decided to broadcast a card featuring some of the top talent that Europe has to offer. They have given the fighters a chance to impress the American audience; now it’s up to them to take advantage of the opportunity.
The following is a preview of Saturday’s HBO card:
Sergiy Dzinziruk (27-1) vs. Jonathan Gonzalez (15-0); Junior Middleweight
Dzinziruk is coming off of an eight round thrashing at the hands of Sergio Martinez, but not many fighters will look good against the middleweight kingpin.
He has decided to drop back down to his natural weight class and take on uber-prospect Jonathan Gonzalez. Dzinziruk is still a talented boxer, and a drop back down to the junior middleweight division was a smart move.
Since 2009, Dzinziruk has only fought twice. The Ukrainian is 36 years old, and is certainly way past his prime. His biggest victories to date were a 2008 victory over Joel Julio and a 2010 victory over Daniel Dawson.
Dzinziruk does have 24 knockouts on his record, but he has only had two since 2005. Two knockouts in seven years is not impressive, at all.
Jonathan Gonzalez does have power in his hands, as he has defeated 13 of his opponents by KO or TKO. His last two bouts went the distance, but he won both of those bouts by a comfortable margin.
However, Gonzalez has been semi protected: his best victory was a decision victory over Richard Gutierrez in June of 2011. Dzinziruk presents his toughest challenge to date.
Even though Gonzalez has yet to fight an elite opponent, his amateur background indicates that he has the potential to be a big-time star. Gonzalez won a silver medal in the 2007 Pan American Games, and he competed in the 2008 Olympics. As an amateur, Gonzalez has a record of 132-18.
This bout is an interesting one, because Gonzalez has the potential to be a big-name star, but he’ll be fighting the toughest opponent of his life in Dzinziruk. Gonzalez, however, should be too fast for the aging Dzinziruk, and he should have another knockout to add to his resume.
Gennady Golovkin (23-0) vs. Grzegorz Proksa (28-1); WBA Middleweight Championship
By no means is Golovkin a rising prospect. He’s just a boxer who has had little Stateside exposure and is thus unknown to the American audience.
Golovkin has an extensive and impressive amateur background. He won the silver medal in the 2004 Olympics, beating Andre Dirrell in the process. He won the World Championships in 2003 and defeated Andy Lee in the qualifying rounds.
Fighting as a professional since 2006, however, Golovkin has spent most of his career fighting in Europe. He hails from Kazakhstan and has recently turned 30. Kazakhstan has produced some quality Olympic boxers in recent years, and Golovkin has the chance to become one of their first boxers to find success in the professional ranks.
Golovkin has fought his entire career as a middleweight, and has 20 knockouts in his 23 fights. He has only fought three fighters with below .500 records, and these bouts occurred early on in his career. His only major victory was over an undersized Kassim Ouma in 2011.
Grzegorz Proksa will be standing across the ring from Golovkin on Saturday night. The younger Polish fighter is a southpaw, and has 21 knockouts to his record. This is not Proksa’s first time fighting in the United States, but he has spent a majority of his career fighting in the United Kingdom.
Proksa’s only loss was to Kerry Hope in March of this year. It was a close bout that the judges scored in favor of Hope with scores of 115-112, 114-113, and 114-114. He quickly avenged that loss with an eighth round TKO of Hope just last month.
Proksa has not beaten anyone of note, except for an above average Sebastian Sylvester in 2011.
Golovkin has the height advantage and experience advantage on Proksa, and he has yet to taste defeat. Saturday’s fight should be a good opportunity for Golovkin to showcase his talents in front of the American audience and walk out with the victory.