James Brown might be the Hardest Working Man in Showbusiness, but Gennady Golovkin is the Hardest Working Man in Boxing.
Golovkin, the undefeated middleweight titlist from the renowned fighting hotbed that gave us Borat Sagdiyev, will put his belts on the line for the third time this year when he faces Ireland’s Matthew Macklin Saturday in Connecticut. Not to bury the lede, but three title defenses in less than six months makes Golovkin perhaps the most active champion of the sport’s recent vintage.
Of course, it’s easy to fight three times in half of a year when the first two bouts are decisive pastings. While not the star turn many familiar with boxing are accustomed to, Golovkin’s obliteration of Gabriel Rosado this past January legitimately put the Kazakh on the map. It’s hard to be more far-reaching in the sport than to dominate in Madison Square Garden whilst live on HBO, and dominate Golovkin did.
This was not enough for Golovkin, and rightly so. Such a jaw-dropping (jaw-cracking?) performance needs immediate follow-up – doubly so when as domestically anonymous as Golovkin is. As Timothy Bradley Jr. has illustrated in recent months, staying fresh in the eye of the boxing public is really the only way to further one’s career and build on prior accolades.
Much though we might dream of Golovkin staring down Sergio Martinez or Julio Cesar Chavez Jr., such impatience is the antithesis of proper development. For an up-and-coming fighter, those are the bouts at the end of the stoppage streak (which, for Golovkin, currently sits at thirteen fights and dates back to 2008), not the one’s that comprise it. I don’t think there’s any clamoring for Golovkin to fight a pay-per-view worthy middleweight yet, so such protestations will likely go uncontested.
A good showing tomorrow night may change that. Macklin is a fine boxer, perhaps a touch underrated given his two most recent losses to Martinez and Felix Sturm. He represents the strongest opponent Golovkin has faced to date, and the first legitimate name for all but the most hardcore of fight fans. Unlike Adrien Broner’s “step up” in competition last weekend, the outcome of Golovkin’s bout is far from certain. While Golovkin is the favorite in Las Vegas, Macklin certainly has the pedigree and raw talent to take Golovkin into deep water and edge out a decision. Such an outcome should hardly come as a surprise.
If the bookkeepers are correct though, we’ll arise Sunday morning in the aftermath of Golovkin’s most recent heavy handed destruction. It may be a familiar feeling, it being potentially the third such occurrence since January. If so, that’s precisely what Golovkin wants. Other than “win every fight,” there’s no set path a man can follow on his quest to headline the MGM Garden Arena. Knocking someone out every thirteenth Saturday night on HBO is as good an idea as any. If Gennady Golovkin can manage to keep that trend going in his direction, it won’t be long before he’ll get a few more months of rest while we have to shell out a few more dollars to watch him compete.