June 30, 2013

A Star is Born - Gennady "GGG" Golovkin stops Matthew Macklin in 3

MGM GRAND FOXWOODS, CT — When it was all said and done, boxing fans were right in their use of words like massacre, slaughter, and destruction to describe what they thought would happen in the ring between defending WBA middleweight champion Gennady "GGG" Golovklin and challenger Matthew "Mack The Knife" Macklin.

On a night where the only knockdown to be found in six fights was a 2013 Knockout of the Year candidate, Golovkin more than lived up to expectations with a dominant third round KO of his brave but hopelessly outgunned challenger. A vicious left hook to the body sent Macklin to the canvas midway through the round and judging from the sound of the punch and the pained look on his face, you could tell right away that Macklin wasn't getting up any time soon.

For Golovkin (27-0, 24 KOs, Kazakhstan) the win was a massive statement and the ease with with he cut through Mack The Knife was incredibly impressive. Golovkin was in seek-and-destroy mode as soon as the fight began and he hurt Macklin with a booming right hand in the first and he cut his prey over the left eye in the second. What came in the third sent shockwaves through the middleweight division and put every fighter from 154 to 168 on notice that Golovkin is for real as a premier (and precise) power puncher.

After the fight, Macklin (29-5, 20 KOs, Birmingham, UK) claimed that Golovkin was the best fighter he'd ever fought and considering that Macklin's been in the ring with the likes of Sergio Martinez and Felix Sturm, that's very high praise. "He has clubbing, solid power and you can feel the weight of every punch he throws, even the jab," said Macklin of the fighter who most experts have now officially declared as heir apparent to Maravilla Martinez and the World Middleweight Championship. "I want this fight (against Martinez). My position was perfect for that body shot. I felt great in the ring, Macklin never hurt me. It was an easy fight for me. I want to fight again soon against any top fighter, any champion, anywhere." 

In the co-main event, Thomas "Tommy Gun" Oosthuizen (21-0-2, 13 KOs, Boksburg, South Africa) and Brandon "Flawless" Gonzales (17-0-1, 10 KOs, Sacramento, California) battled to a very unpopular 10-round draw. From my seat in pressrow, it appeared that the southpaw "Tommy Gun" used his height advantage, smart movement, and a busy jab to good effect, neutralizing most of Gonzales' rushes while landing the majority of power punches in this non-title fight. Judges and fans felt otherwise and there were cries of "robbery" heard when the decision was announced. According to CompuBox Punch Stats, Gonzales out-landed Oosthuizen 164 to 160 in total punches. Official scores were 96-94 for Oosthuizen, 98-92 for Gonzales, and 95-95 even. KO Digest scored the fight 96-94 for Oosthuizen.

After the fight, promoter Lou DiBella praised the dejected Gonzales as the real winner and stated clearly his belief that Oosthuizen (his fighter!) was the one who should be feeling like a loser. Oosthuizen didn't agree and offered the following in his own defense, "I felt sluggish the first two rounds and then I found my rhythm. I thought I won the fight. I'd give him an immediate rematch if he wanted."

In the first fight on the HBO televised portion of this card, Willie "The Great" Nelson retained his NABF junior middleweight title with an unpopular decision over Luciano "El Principito" Cuello. The 6'3 Nelson consistently allowed the shorter Cuello (32-3, 16KOs, Buenos Ares, Argentina) to close the gap and do good work on the inside to the head and body. Nelson (21-1-1, 12KOs, Cleveland, Ohio) showed very little of his vaunted power and his long jab was inconsistent throughout. In the seventh, Nelson was hurt to the body and reeling around the ring. In the tenth, Nelson was hurt again and holding on for dear life when he wasn't running. Both fighter's faces were marked up and showed the effects of a pitched battle. Official scores in favor of Nelson were 97-93, 97-93, and a much more reasonable 96-94. Said Nelson after the fight, "He was tougher than I thought but I still think I won convincingly. The cuts bothered me but I fought through it. I want to fight all the top 154-pound fighters and this was another step in that direction."

On The Undercard: 

O'Connor was Boston Strong
Danny O'Connor W8 Hector Munoz (79-73 on all three cards) - Fighting almost exclusively at close quarters, the bearded Framingham, MA native O'Connor got all he could handle from the rugged (faux-hawked) Munoz in a spirited junior middleweight scrap. Superior body work from O'Connor early made the difference down the stretch and allowed him to deliver his power shots upstairs later in the fight. O'Connor improves to 21-1, 7 KOs while Munoz drops to 21-11-1, 14 KOs. Both fighters weighed in at 153 lbs.

Luis "The KO Kid" Rosa W8 Jose Angel Beranza (79-72 on all three cards) - Despite being at an overwhelming disadvantage in terms of pro experience, New Haven, CT super bantamweight prospect Luis Rosa pounded out a grueling 8-round decision over the Mexican veteran Beranza. In the fourth round, punches started going south by both fighters and the referee appeared to warn both boxers but a point was taken from Rosa who cranked it up in the fifth with hurtful straight lefts and right hooks. Rosa got tagged a bit in the last round but goes to 14-0, 6 KOs while Beranza falls to 36-27-2, 28 KOs. Both weighed in at 124 lbs.

Dusty Harrison W6 Ben Ankrah (60-55,60-55,59-55) - In the evening opener, welterweight prospect Harrison used a steady jab and good combination punching to outpoint the game but underskilled Ankrah over the distance. No knockdowns in this one. D.C. native Harrison goes to 14-0, 7 KOs while his puffy Ghanaian opponent falls to an even 15-15, 6 KOs. Both fighters weighed in at 146 lbs. 

KO Digest Ringside Report by Jeffrey Freeman