Gennady Golovkin etched his place into the record books last Saturday, as he stormed past mandatory challenger Kamil Szeremeta in seven rounds at the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel and Casino, Hollywood, Florida.
Golovkin (41-1-1, 36 KOs) had been scrutinised heading into the clash after a below-par performance against Sergiy Derevyanchenko last October, but despite a year out the Kazahk great defended his IBF Middleweight crown emphatically, dropping Szeremeta four times, before the referee mercifully called off the contest just before the start of the eighth round.
Victory ensured a record 21st Middleweight title defence, surpassing Bernard Hopkins and in a week where the 2021 Hall Of Fame was announced, with the likes of Floyd Mayweather Jr, Andre Ward and Wladimir Klitschko all inducted, ‘Triple G’ remains on course for a future inclusion.
However, the 38-year-old appears to still have the desire and capacity to continue.
Perhaps a younger, fresher Golovkin would have dealt with Szeremeta within the first few rounds, but such was the Pole’s toughness he refused to allow his maiden world title opportunity to pass him by without a fight and after over a year out, ‘GGG’ did exactly what was required, showing accuracy and fearsome power in abundance.
Golovkin will now have the right to a voluntary defence, insisting he was “open to anybody” and here are the potential options.
Just 24 hours after his win over Szeremeta, Golovkin’s great rival Canelo Alvarez dominated Callum Smith in Texas to claim the WBA ‘Super’, vacant WBC and Ring Magazine Super Middleweight titles.
It seems inevitable after two absorbing battles, one controversially awarded a draw and the rematch won by Alvarez, that the pair will meet for a trilogy and for both it remains their most lucrative option and a fight that streaming service DAZN are seemingly pushing to make.
Both fights were made at Middleweight, however Canelo (54-1-2, 36 KOs) has since switched between 160lbs, 168lbs and 175lbs and having just claimed the unified crown at Super Middleweight it remains to be seen if Golovkin would break course and move up in weight for the first time to meet the Mexican great or if Canelo drops down to Middleweight where he holds the WBA ‘Super’ belt and WBC Franchise in what would be a unification clash.
“I don’t run from nobody. I just showed that I fought against the best,” Canelo told DAZN post-fight.
“Of course, if he [Golovkin] is going to take that fight, I’ll take it. But I showed the world that I fight against the best.”
Alvarez made his intentions clear on unifying the division, with WBO champion, Billy Joe Saunders and IBF holder, Caleb Plant his targets, although a February bout in Mexico against WBC mandatory, Avni Yildirim is likely to be next.
If the 30-year-old does not take a unification at 168lbs then his Cinco De Mayo date in May is likely to be a showdown with Golovkin.
Canelo is improving fight by fight and Golovkin will have to produce a performance similar to that of the first fight between the pair to stun his rival, but with his experience at the elite level, he arguably has the best chance of anybody ending his 13-fight unbeaten streak.
If Golovkin is unable to secure a third fight with Canelo then he’ll likely be looking at unifications himself, with the likes of WBO champion, Demetrius Andrade.
Andrade (29-0, 18 KOs) is reportedly targeting a clash with Saunders at 168lbs, whilst he has mandatory challenger, Liam Williams awaiting a shot.
The unbeaten, two-weight world champion is also signed to Matchroom Boxing and DAZN, meaning a showdown would be relatively straight forward to make.
Golovkin has the natural size advantage and heaps of pedigree on his side, but with every challenge he takes he’ll be facing a younger man, with Andrade six years his junior and an awkward southpaw operator, who is difficult to nail down.
‘Boo Boo’ needs a legacy-defining fight and a victory over a great in ’Triple G’ would do that for him, whilst a win for Golovkin would also prove that at 38-years-old he remains capable of mixing with the best in his weight class.
WBC champion, Jermall Charlo holds the other belt available to Golovkin and the unbeaten American would provide another stiff test.
Charlo (31-0, 22 KOs) looked convincing in seeing off the resilient Sergiy Derevyancehnko by unanimous decision in September a good barometer of his progress with ‘GGG’ taken the distance by the Ukrainian almost a year earlier.
‘Hit Man’, twin brother of unified Super Welterweight champion, Jermell is improving under trainer Derrick James and is also searching for a big name fight, although in recent days he has outlined his desire to move up in weight and face Canelo.
A unification with Golovkin would undoubtedly keep him at 160lbs and like Andrade it would be intriguing to see if the two-weight world champion could overcome Golovkin’s experience and skill to pull off a famous win.
With Charlo tied to Premier Boxing Champions and on a different TV network, the fight is harder to make, but the 30-year-old proven he has the hunger, youth and skillset to compete with the IBF champion.
Billy Joe Saunders
WBO Super Middleweight champion, Billy Joe Saunders is hopeful of securing a unification with Canelo next, however if the Mexican chooses to face IBF holder, Caleb Plant in May then the Brit will again be left waiting for his shot.
Saunders (30-0, 14 KOs) was set to meet Alvarez in May prior to the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, before ruling himself out of a potential September date.
Following his victory over Martin Murray earlier this month, the 31-year-old is reportedly in talks to face Andrade, but failing that and a showdown with Canelo, a fight with Golovkin would make sense.
Saunders is believed to have the slick, deceiving style to trouble Canelo and on his day the same can be said for Golovkin, in what would be an intriguing style clash.
The two-weight world champion, like Andrade shares the same promotional team and TV network meaning a deal would again appear to reachable, although at which weight class the fight takes place would seem the key stumbling block.