By: William Holmes
HBO returns to New York City on Saturday night for another edition of their World Championship Boxing series as Gennady Golovkin defends his WBA Middleweight title against Daniel Geale and Bryant Jennings faces Mike Perez for the fight to be the number one contender for the WBC Heavyweight title.
The last time Golovkin fought at Madison Square Garden he competed in the main event in the Madison Square Garden Theater, but his exciting fighting style and increasing popularity has allowed him to compete in the main arena at Madison Square Garden.
Fight fans who arrive before the start of the main card will be able to watch upcoming prospects such as Ola Afolabi, Glen Tapia, Julian Rodriguez, and Dusty Hernandez-Harrison compete on the undercard.
The following is a preview of the two televised bouts to be shown on HBO on Saturday night.
Bryant Jennings (18-0) vs. Mike Perez (20-0-1); WBC Heavyweight Eliminator
Bryant “By-By” Jennings and former Cuban amateur standout Mike Perez are two undefeated contenders that prove the heavyweight division in boxing is far from dead but one of the most intriguing divisions in boxing.
Perez is twenty eight and Jennings is twenty nine and both boxers are in the middle of their athletic prime. Perez and Jennings are similar in height, but Perez is a southpaw while Jennings while have the reach advantage on Perez. Both boxers have similar power but Jennings has shown more power in recent fights., Jennings has stopped ten of his opponents but has also stopped four of his past five opponents, while Perez has stopped twelve of his opponents but hasn’t had a stoppage victory in his last five and hasn’t stopped an opponent since 2011.
Perez’s amateur experience dwarfs that of Jennings. He competed on the international stage and won the World Junior Amateur Championships at light heavyweight in 2004. Jennings on had seventeen amateur fights but he did reach the finals of the 2009 National Golden Gloves.
Unfortunately for Mike Perez his biggest victory to date is also the one he would probably most like to forget. He defeated the then undefeated Magomed Abdusalamov in November of 2013, but he beat him so bad that Abdusalmov later feel into a coma and will be permanently and severely injured for life as a result of that bout. He was uninspiring in his next bout against Carlos Takam and struggled to a majority draw.
Perez’s other big victories include Travis walker, Tye Fields, Kertson Manswell, and Gregory Tony. If Perez can overcome any lingering regrets from his bout with Abdusalamov he will give Bryant Jennings a very difficult time in the ring.
Jennings is an elite athlete that has looked better every time he has stepped in the ring. He left Philadelphia promoter Russell Peltz and signed with Gary Shaw Productions and he looked very good in his first fight on HBO against Artur Szpilka in January of this year. He did receive a lot of national television exposure when he fought for Russell Peltz and has defeated the likes of Andrey Fedosov, Bowie Tupou, Steve Collins, Siarhei Liakhovich, and Maruice Byarm.
Jennings has been considerably more active than Perez since 2012 and is visibly a better boxer every time he steps in the ring. All the intangibles point to a Jennings victory, but if Perez’s mind is right he has the boxing pedigree to win by decision.
Gennady Golovkin (29-0) vs. Daniel Geale (30-2); WBA Middleweight Title
Miguel Cotto may have defeated Sergio Martinez easily to capture Martinez’s middleweight crown, but most boxing observers believe that Gennady “GGG” Golovkin is by far the best boxer in the middleweight division.
Golovkin and Geale are similar in height, age, and reach but Golovkin is clearly the more polished boxer and heavier hitter. Golovkin won the silver medal in the 2004 Olympic Games and won the gold medal in the 2003 World Championships. Geale competed in the 2000 Summer Olympics but did not medal, but he did win the gold medal in the 2002 Commonwealth games.
Golovkin’s knockout power is absurd. He’s stopped twenty six of his opponents for a knockout ration nearing 90%. He has stopped his last sixteen opponents and the last fight that went to a decision was an eight round sweep against Amar Amari in 2008. Geale has stopped sixteen opponents, but only has one stoppage victory in his last eight fights.
Many feel that Golovkin has been avoided by many of the top middleweight boxers in the world, but he hasn’t let his difficulty in landing a well-known opponent from slowing him down. He has fought seven times in the past two years, a number that is very high for a reigning champion. Nobody has even come close to giving Golovkin a challenge.
Golovkin has defeated the likes of Curtis Stevens, Matthew Macklin, Nobuhiro Ishida, Gabriel Rosado, Kassim Ouma, and Gregorz Proksa.
Daniel Geale is a good boxer and an ex world title holder, but most feel he is simply outmatched by Golovkin. He won his first legitimate world title with a split decision over Sebastian Sylvester in May of 2011. He won his second world title with a split decision victory over Felix Sturm in Germany of September of 2011. He has also defeated the likes of Garth Wood, Anthony Mudine, Osumanu Adama, and Roman Karmazin.
Geale’s two losses have come to Anthony Mundine, a loss he later avenged, and a close split decision loss to Darren Barker in August of 2013.
When Geale has faced elite competition his bouts tend to be close and competitive. But Golovkin is a different kind of elite fighter with unbelievable power. If Geale is able to survive all twelve rounds he should consider that a victory.