Heretofore I think a spoonful of skepticism was appropriate when it came to sizing up Gennady Golovkin. Obviously the Kazah middleweight was quick, skilled, tough and powerful, all attributes one looks for in a knockout artist. Yet at the same time, a sensible observer would ask “who had GGG fought?”
That last part is important, because any seasoned observer with a decent memory can recalls plenty of examples of a fearsome banger who wrecked his way up the rankings, only to falter against the first true contender or champion he met. In the vicinity of 160 lbs, John Mugabe and Julian Jackson come to mind. You never really know just how good a guy like Golovkin is until he hits someone that you know has real grit, and until this weekend Golovkin had never fought such a character. The best name on his resume was Matthew Macklin, who had been on the wrong end of each one of his step-up fights, although it must be said the vast majority of observers felt he deserved the win against Felix Sturm.
Daniel Geale, on the other hand, is just what his name implies: the real deal. He came up the ranks through dogged, hard work, and if he isn’t the most scintillating talent in the sport today, he is undeniably a good boxer-puncher who had proven capable of beating tough guys and technicians alike.
And Golovkin annihilated him. In fact, not only did GGG blow The Real Deal out of the ring, he did it while eating Geale’s Sunday Punch! It was a resounding statement, and in the wake of Sergio Martinez’s toppling as divisional kingpin, an important one.
Those of us who aren’t rabid Golovkin fans could imagine the prime Martinez playing matador to Golovkin’s bull, beating him in the footwork and hand speed departments to pummel his way to a points victory. That Martinez no longer exists, so the middleweight division is unquestionably blown wide open now, and it is Golovkin who could very well profit the most and become the new kingpin. Could Miguel Cotto stymie Golovkin? Maybe, but I wouldn’t put money down on it.
Golovkin beat Geale this weekend and kept his WBA title, but in doing so he accomplished so much more that just beat a middleweight contender or keep a (laughable) championship. He also dispelled what previously would have been a sensible doubt that he was one of those wrecking machines that throws a gear as soon as he gets in the ring with a real world class fighter. Golovkin is the real deal, he isn’t going to fizzle out the way some punchers do, and he certainly isn’t the Mugabe or Jackson of the early 21st Century.