Gennady Golovkin is the roaring young lion of the middleweight division, a fan favorite for his knockout style and ranked #2 in the world. However, to the more critical eye, a big question mark dangles from around GGG's neck, because as of yet he has fought absolutely no one who could be classified as a Top 10 middleweight contender. This despite Golovkin's seven-defense reign as the WBA titlist. One way or another, all that doubt will come to an end when Golovkin meets tough Briton Matthew Macklin on June 29th.
Matthew Macklin (29-4, 20 KOs)
5'10" tall, 72" reach, 31 years old
Former British and European Middleweight Champion
Don't let those four losses throw you, because Mack the Knife is currently ranked #4 in the world. Two of his losses were early in his career; the third was a hotly contested, German-style, hometown points loss to Felix Sturm, a fight most observers thought Macklin won; and his fourth loss was to division kingpin Sergio Martinez. In terms of style, Macklin is a busy, aggressive boxer-puncher who likes coming forward and forcing the action. He hits hard, but his approach is based primarily on his solid chin and general durability.
Gennady Golovkin (26-0, 23 KOs)
5'9 1/2" tall, 73 1/2" reach, 31 years old
Current WBA Middleweight Champion
GGG is also an aggressive fighter, but more in the mode of knockout banger than busy boxer-puncher. In the view of many, Golovkin is currently the biggest hitter in the 160 lbs weight class, eclipsing even the over-sized Julio Cesar Chavez, Jr.
Undergirding that formidable power are the classic assets of any good puncher, namely a sound offensive technique and good hand speed. What is less well known is how well Golovkin's defense and chin will hold up if he is tested by a guy who refuses to give way to him, or how well he can apply that offensive technique and power against a slick, skillful opponent who will make being found a challenge.
Golovkin vs. Macklin Preview & Analysis
The clearest aspect of this fight is why Golovkin's people chose Macklin as their first big test: Macklin is a credible contender, but he likely won't make Golovkin hunt for him. I see it the same way, because while Macklin is probably the more flexible of the two, he isn't one for building a fight plan around going backwards or circling. These two guys are going to meet in the center ring, trade blows, and see who can dish and take better. If there is any subtlety about it, it might be because Macklin tries a little side-stepping to improve his angles and make Golovkin follow him, but nothing like a wide, circling side-to-side tactic.
So, any analysis of this fight hinges on two questions. The first is whether Macklin has what it takes to shrug off Golovkin's artillery, and the answer there is "no." He'll take it for a while, but Martinez was able to put him down, and Golovkin hits much harder than Martinez. The second question is if Golovkin can take what Macklin will throw at him, because Golovkin will get hit, probably hit more than he ever has before. The answer there is "who knows?"
Golovkin vs. Macklin Prediction
As the question mark on Golovkin boils down to "is he for real?", and my answer to that is "yes, I think so," then I think Triple G is coming out on top here. These two guys are going to meet in the middle, fire away at each other, and while Golovkin might get hurt, Macklin will get hurt and stay that way. I see a bad knockdown for Macklin coming by the middle rounds, perhaps even before it if the leather flies with enough heat, and then the Briton not surviving the round that follows.
Prediction: Gennady Golovkin TKO8 Matthew Macklin