By Geno McGahee
This Saturday night, the most feared man in the middleweight division steps back into the ring to face off against a powerful challenger on HBO. Gennady Golovkin, 27-0, 24 KO’s, is the current IBO and WBA middleweight champion. He will be defending the title against Curtis Stevens, 25-3, 18 KO’s, in a bout that is set for 12 rounds, but I doubt that we will make it there.
Golovkin has knocked out 14 opponents in a row and most recently collapsed respected contender, Mathew Macklin, to the floor in round three with a body shot. This is the same Macklin that gave Sergio Martinez all he could handle, but could not dent Golovkin.
Across the ring is Stevens, a fighter that has knocked out three of his last four opponents and has been doing it quickly. Those three KO wins were in the first round and were explosive. He will not have to look for the champion. He will be closing in and this is the best chance for the challenger. It’s going to be kill or be killed from the opening bell and Stevens has a chance…a puncher’s chance and he’d better make it count quickly.
Hurting the chances for the challenger are the lapses in focus. Against mediocrity, Jesse Brinkley, Stevens was sleepwalking, and lost a wide decision. He was actually dropped in the fight and Brinkley doesn’t have nearly the punch that Golovkin does. Actually, it could be argued that no other fighter from 160 down has the oomph behind their shots like the champion does.
This is a fight that you don’t want to blink while watching. Anything can happen early on. If Stevens can survive early without sustaining too much punishment, he could test the champion in the deep waters. The farthest that Golovkin has gone is 10 rounds and he’s only done it once. He is a proven commodity early, but can he maintain when the rounds go on? I don’t think we’ll find out, but it’s an idea that the challenger may want to employ.
The supporting fight is an interesting one as well and they may as well give the judges the night off, considering what we have wrapping up the show. Heavyweights collide as Magomed Abdusalamov, 18-0, 18 KO’s, takes on Mike Perez, 19-0, 12 KO’s, in a ten round bout to clean up the division a smidge.
Abdusalamov is one of those guys that have some hype around him. He is a power-puncher and has starched most of his competition early, including an older, but still durable, Jameel McCline (TKO-2). In the McCline fight, he was dropped in the first round, but he came back to get the stoppage. His chin is still a question mark and Perez is planning on finding out the answer.
Perez won one of the Prizefighter tournaments and did it in style, knocking out Tye Fields in 42 seconds of the first round. He has gotten some valuable experience lately, out-pointing veteran journey-men fighters Travis Walker and Friday Ahunanya. He will test Abdusalamov and he will be tested by him. This is another “don’t go to the fridge” sort of fight.
We’ve seen the sweet science on display recently with Mayweather-Alvarez and Bradley-Marquez, and now it’s time for the brutality of the sport. Saturday night should be a fun night of boxing.