By: William Holmes
The Stub Hub Center in Carson, California will be the host site for Saturday’s HBO World Championship Boxing telecast. Gennady Golovkin will be fighting on the west coast for the first time in his career as he defends his WBA Middleweight title against WBC interim middleweight champion Marco Antonio Rubio. Nonito Donaire will be in the unfamiliar position as a supporting fight as he defends his WBA Featherweight title against the very dangerous Nicholas Walters.
The Stub Hub Center has quickly become a destination for exciting and fan pleasing fights. Donaire and Golovkin are two boxers who tend to participate in action packed bouts.
The following is a preview of both of the title bouts on Saturday night.
Nonito Donaire (33-2) vs. Nicholas Walters (24-0); WBA Featherweight “Super” Title
Nonito Donaire has been a staple of HBO for several years and has always, unjustly, had to have his career compared to fellow Filipino Manny Pacquiao. He’s a bit of a throwback in that he’s always willing to fight whoever is in front of him no matter the odds, and on Saturday he’ll have a very tough fight on his hands against the underrated and hard hitting Jamaican Nicholas Walters.
Donaire will be giving up about an inch-and-a-half in height, a daunting five inches in reach, and three years in age to his opponent. However, Donaire has been several wars inside the ring and they may have noticeably taken a toll on his body.
Donaire had a solid amateur career. He won three national championships before turning pro. Walters also competed as an amateur and won a Bronze medal at the 2006 Central American and Caribbean games.
Walters has impressive power. He has stopped twenty of his opponents, including nine of his past ten fights. Donaire has twenty-one stoppages to his record, including four of his past five fights.
Donaire clearly has the more impressive list of defeated opponents. They include Vic Darchinyan, Jorge Arce, Toshiaki Nishioka, Wilfredo Vazquez Jr., Fernando Montiel, and Omar Narvaez. Walters has defeated the likes of Vic Darchinyan, Daulis Prescott, and Irving Berry.
However, Donaire looks like he has been slipping inside the ring recently, or that he’s not quite built for the featherweight division. He defeated Simpiwe Vetyeka in his last bout, but looked lackluster before a questionable stoppage occurred in the fifth round. He appeared to be losing to Vic Darchinyan before stopping him in the ninth round. And Guillermo Rigondeaux simple outclassed him in his bout at Radio City Music Hall in New York City.
Walters, on the other hand, has been surging and looked very impressive in his stoppage victory over Vic Darchinyan. He has slowly been gathering steam amongst the boxing media and appears to have the hunger that Donaire once had.
Donaire has recently admitted to not having the same passion for boxing that he used to have, and that it is more like a job to him nowadays. That is never a good sign for someone who wants to compete at the championship level.
Without that passion, Donaire’s time at or near the top will come to an end. Saturday should be Walters’ coming out party.
Gennady Golovkin (30-0) vs. Marco Antonio Rubio (59-6-1); WBA Middleweight “Super” Title
Golovkin has long been a boxing media darling and the favorite of the die-hard boxing fans, but he hasn’t quite been able to translate that into mainstream media success.
His last bout was at the main room in Madison Square Garden and sold better than expected, but it was far from a sell-out and was helped by the appearance of fighters from the Northeastern portion of the United States who tend to draw well.
This fight with Rubio was clearly made to help make Golovkin a bigger draw. He’ll be fighting on the West Coast of the United States for the first time in his career and will have more exposure to the prevalent boxing media on the West Coast, and more importantly, the Latino fan base. Rubio is a good boxer but should not be considered a legitimate champion. He brings the Mexican fanbase and will give Golovkin a chance to prove himself amongst the passionate Mexican boxing fans.
Golovkin had a much better amateur career than Rubio. He won the silver medal in the 2004 Olympics and the 2003 World Championships. Rubio’s amateur career is largely unheralded.
Both boxers are 5’10” with seventy-inch reach. Rubio is two years older than Golovkin, but Golovkin is older than most realize. He doesn’t have much left of his prime at the age of thirty-two.
Golovkin’s power is already legendary. He has stopped twenty-seven of his opponents for a 90% knockout percentage. He is currently riding an amazing seventeen-fight stoppage streak. Rubio has stopped fifty-one of his opponents, including four of his past five fights.
Rubio has defeated the likes of Domenico Spada, Marcus Upshaw, Carlos Baldomir, and David Lemieux. However, whenever Rubio faces elite opposition he seems to come up short. His losses have come to the likes of Julio Cesar Chavez Jr., Kelly Pavlik, Kassim Ouma, and other lesser known opposition.
Golovkin has never tasted defeat and has never been pushed to the brink. He has defeated, thoroughly, the likes of Daniel Geale, Curtis Stevens, Matthew Macklin, Gabriel Rosado, Gregorz Proksa, and Kassim Ouma.
Three of Rubio’s losses have come by stoppage, and it seems likely he’ll suffer another stoppage loss on Saturday.
If Golovkin wants to appeal to the Mexican fan base, he’ll need to win and win impressively.