HBO World Championship Boxing Results: GGG Stops A Very Game Brook
By: Sean Crose
In one of the bigger surprises of the year, undefeated welterweight titlist Kell Brook – 25-0 – agreed to face multi-middleweight title holder Gennady Golovkin – 35-0 – for middleweight supremacy on Saturday. The bout, which was broadcast live on HBO – to be replayed later – transpired in front of a huge English crowd in London’s O2 arena. Golovkin was a solid favorite, but Brook, who bulked up nicely, was clearly not to be written off. Here were two highly skilled, undefeated titlists, plying their trade in front of 20, 000 screaming British fans. Sure enough, the two fighters entered the ring to a blazing level of excitement that was a credit to British boxing promoters (American fight makers can take a lesson).
Right off the bat, Brook got hurt in the first. He survived, however, and didn’t look bad for the rest of the round. Indeed, it was something of a surprise to see Brook refusing to run from the feared GGG. Sure enough, a disciplined Brook took the second by employing a smooth defense that avoided Golovkin’s jab and by hitting GGG with sharp, clean shots. By the third round, it was clear that it was a very good fight indeed, with both men tossing off terrific shots. No doubt surprisingly to some, it was a close bout. What’s more, things remained close in the fourth.
Then came the fifth.
Golovkin started landing. Hard. And with a whole lot of frequency. Brook, for his part, wasn’t doing much. And so Brook’s corner threw in the towel. Some were surprised. No doubt, some were outraged. In truth, however, it was a smart call. Brook wasn’t looking good and the future of the fight seemed to hold a long, brutal decline for the man called “Special K.” This, however, is to take nothing away from Brook. He looked solid, overall. Indeed, he looked excellent. He even really gamed Golovkin a bit. The Kazakh warrior was simply too inflicting too much damage as time went on. It was as simple as that.
“Big drama show likes street fight,” Golovkin said afterward. “This not boxing. This street fight.”
Bernard Hopkins, working for HBO, asked if Golovkin felt Brook’s power at all. “I don’t feel his power,” Golovkin claimed, “I feel his distance. He has great distance.” Ultimately, Golovkin made it clear that Brook was literally up too far. “I feel after first round,” Golovkin claimed, “he’ s not middleweight.”
Ultimately, GGG gave himself a three or four for his performance out of ten. Abel Sanchez, Golovkin’s noted trainer, stated things more bluntly.
“He was trying too hard,” the cornerman said.
As for Brook, he was calm, but clearly unhappy, in defeat. Sure enough, he admitted that his right eye, which had clearly been bothering him in the bout, was the reason his corner threw in the towel. “A few rounds before that I told him (his trainer) my eye was gone,” Brook claimed.
“I’m very frustrated.” Brook admitted. Still, he had respectful words for Golovkin. “He’s a warrior,” Brook said, “I don’t want to take anything away from him.”
aturday night in California, Jesus Soto-Karass met Yoshihiro Kamegai for the second time this year in a super welterweight throwdown at Inglewood’s Forum. The two men had fought to a draw last April and were wanting to finish business. Kamegai – 26-3-2 – nailed the 28-10-4 Soto-Karass with a blistering body shot in the first, causing his opponent to nearly stumble about in pain. Soto-Karasss survived the round, but Kamegai managed to get the better of the two throughout the first four rounds of the bout.
The fight remained close throughout the middle rounds, but it was Kamegai who controlled the tempo. He also fired thunderous body shot after thunderous body shot. In the eighth, Soto-Karass went down from the brutality. Fortunately, the veteran warrior’s corner stopped the affair in the corner before the ninth.
It was the right call to make.
Afterwards, in the final fight of the night, Roman “Chocolatito” Gonzalez the undefeated twenty-nine-year-old multi-titlist, faced Carlos Cuadras the twenty-eight-year-old, also undefeated, WBC super flyweight champion. Nicaragua’s Gonzalez – 45-0 – was aiming for a title in his fourth weight class, something his mentor and former trainer, Alexis Arguello, was never able to do. Yet Mexico’s Cuadras – 35-0-1 – was a formidable foe…. plus, Cuadras was looking to really make his mark on the boxing world in a big way.
A fast paced first round showed that Chocolatito was in with a first rate opponent, but was still able to look a bit sharper. Gonzalez stormed into the second with a blistering, relentless attack. Cuadras was able to land – but pretty much only on the Nicaraguan’s gloves. Yet, while it was true Gonzalez controlled the first three rounds, Cuadras was there to fight. Indeed, the man had his moments in the fourth…enough to take the chapter, in this writer’s opinion.
What’s more, Cuadras really came alive in the fifth. Gonzalez was in a fight for himself. It was worth noting, however, that even when things weren’t going entirely his way, Gonzalez got his shots in and they were effective shots indeed. As the bout sped through the middle rounds, Gonzalez head the edge thanks to his clean punching. Cuadras, however, steamed on, still very much in the fight.
In fact, Gonzalez walked into the ninth with his face looking quite puffy. Cuadras may not have landed as many clean shots as he wanted to…but he was clearly landing clean on the challenger enough for the results to show on Gonzalez’ face. Indeed, the ninth may well have been even. What’s more, walking back to his corner at the end of the tenth, Chocolatito looked exhausted. Then again, Cuadras looked exhausted in his corner, too.
Whatever these men were paid to fight on Saturday – it wasn’t enough.
The championship rounds were something to behold. The two men went back and forth throughout the eleventh, and then – Chocolatito got hurt. It was a Cuadras body shot that did it and by the bell to close the chapter, Gonzalez was on the ropes. As HBO commentator Roy Jones had stated earlier: “You find a guy who’s not used to lose him, you’ve got to teach him how to lose.”
And the twelfth? An exhausted Gonzalez kept moving forward in the twelfth. He took the majority of it, perhaps, but Cuadras had his moments – especially towards the final bell. Indeed, it was quite a war. It was then also all down to the judges.
Sure enough, the judges gave it to Gonzalez, via unanimous decision. Chololatito won the title…and Cuadras won himself a whole new fan base.