July 21, 2015

Gennady Golovkin's Hunt For Greatness and Signature Fights Continues...

Triple G
Nobody really wants to fight WBA middleweight champion Gennady Golovkin. Not if they know what's good for them they don't. Junior middleweights Canelo Alvarez and Erislandy Lara claim they do. 50 year-old "Alien" Bernard Hopkins says he does too but that's just to chide Floyd for boss Oscar. Add American welterweight Timothy "Desert Storm" Bradley as well. He's no coward, or so he says.

Let's get serious.

Golovkin, 33-0, 30 KOs, has now defeated twenty consecutive opponents by knockout. The overall record of those twenty doomed pugilists was a combined 496-66-12 going into combat with Golovkin. Half of those twenty men GGG hammered into submission had never been stopped before in their professional boxing careers. Then they ran into "Kazakh Thunder" as Jim Lampley likes to call it on HBO. The newly inducted International Boxing Hall of Fame announcer is right. Golovkin is a force of nature. His fourteen successful defenses of the WBA 160 pound title have all come by stoppage against credible contenders (to wit: Martin Murray, Marco Rubio, and Daniel Geale, et al.) whose best was just not good enough to even go the distance.

Golovkin massacres Gabe Rosado
With Golovkin on such a brutal tear through a glamour division once ruled so marvelously by Hagler and Hopkins, there are not many options left for "Triple G" and some of his remaining potential opponents are literally making themselves scarce. After every new win, the talk from GGG is always of "big fights" but who really wants to get beaten up by a modern day Mike Tyson who looks like Harry Greb and sounds like Borat Sagdiyev? And so Golovkin waits for his career defining fight(s); wins again and again (by KO) and waits some more...

Andre Ward, recently thought to be an ideal adversary for Golovkin, is now suddenly in the light heavyweight title picture against unified WBA, IBF, and WBO champion Sergey "The Krusher" Kovalev, this according to Main Events promoter Kathy Duva on a media conference call held to promote Kovalev's July 25 mandatory defense against 40-1 long shot Nadjib Mohammedi.

"We all agree that fight [Kovalev-Ward] is going to happen," said Duva of ongoing negotiations with Team Ward to make the match-up a reality at 175 pounds. This development rules out the possibility of Ward fighting Golovkin anytime soon or before a bout with Kovalev can materialize in late 2016. "Triple G" vs. "S.O.G." at 168 seemed reasonably doable, if not handicapped in favor of the larger Ward, but Golovkin against a light heavyweight strikes me as unrealistic. Golovkin is a small but powerful middleweight. Ward was 171¾ for his recent return bout against Paul Smith. This is the "moving up and away from" strategy by Ward. Some might argue that Ward's recent inactivity issues and current jump in weight suit him just fine if the objective all along was to avoid a dangerous fight with Golovkin at or near super middleweight.

Floyd Mayweather Jr.? Andre Berto is up next for "TBE" from what I hear.

I'm sure "Money" would rather swim with sharks than fight a hungry apex predator like Golovkin.

After one or two more "easy wins" Mayweather will almost certainly retire undefeated rather than glove up with Golovkin at any weight.

Carl Froch did just officially retire. No GGG for that defanged "Cobra" and there had been talk.

Cotto and Golovkin
And Poor Miguel Cotto, the Puerto Rican star sounded like he forgot his English homework last month on HBO when Max Kellerman asked the undersized linear world middleweight champion about the unbeaten Kazakhi elephant in the room. Funny and sad at the same time, it was something boxing fans won't soon forget. Even sadder, Cotto and Golovkin will probably never clash as they should. More than any fighter in boxing, Golovkin "deserves" a linear title shot. When Cotto finally sells his championship claim in a business arrangement similar to the one in which he purchased it from Sergio Martinez, the buyer (...and the new!) will hopefully be Golden Boy's cash cow because there's good reason to believe Canelo Alvarez is at least willing to challenge Golovkin for middleweight supremacy. Still, Cotto versus Canelo will definitely have to happen before Golovkin can get either of them in the ring.

I don't exactly hear animal lover Peter Quillin barking for a Golovkin fight.

Unfortunately, "Kid Chocolate" is melting away before he can even be devoured.

Who else is there? Canadian firecracker David Lemieux, the new IBF middleweight champ? Fun fist-fight it'll be for sure but a pure massacre in the ring. Another KO for Golovkin. Julio Cesar Chavez Jr.? He got stepped on like a stone by Andrzej Fonfara last April. For now, the "Lion Cub of Culiacán" is out of the GGG mix. Maybe someday he'll serve as a suitable punching bag for Golovkin.

Former Emanuel Steward KRONK protégé Andy Lee should thank his lucky stars that fate interceded on his behalf. If that one had gone off as scheduled last year, "Irish Eyes" would not be smiling so brightly for Lee today. Accordingly, Lee gets the one and only pass when it comes to "ducking Golovkin" because he did already sign on the dotted line. The popular WBO middleweight champ is now more appropriately matched against Billy Joe Saunders this September at home in Ireland.

It's not that Lee won't fight Golovkin, it's that he shouldn't.

No chance to win. High probability of getting hurt.

In the meantime, Golovkin's championship knockout streak continues.

So too does his long wait for a "big name" fight.   

By Jeffrey Freeman, originally published on The Sweet Science 

July 11, 2015

KO Digest Ringside Report — Beltway Boxing in Parkville, Maryland Results

Barakat belted out on the boxing Beltway
TALL CEDARS HALLA perfectly fine little club show almost ended in disaster Thursday night when Travis Reeves, Baltimore, Md., 194 ½, (10-2-2, 4 KOs) knocked out Samer Barakat, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada, 193, (5-2, 3 KOs) in the sixth round of a main-event eight-rounder. Barakat, a powerful but very crude slugger, fell partially out of the ring, unconscious from a right-hand shot in a neutral corner and began to breathe heavily. He was taken overnight to the University of Maryland Shock Trauma hospital and passed his cat scan and was released Friday morning, according to a spokesman with the Maryland State Athletic Commission. It was the kind of knockout that should make a fighter – and boxing commissions – think long and hard about retirement.

In March, Barakat lost his first fight, to Eric Martel Bahoeli, of Quebec City, and in that bout he was dropped and dazed in the first and then floored again. He scored a knockdown in the second and was dropped himself again in the third on the way to a loss by decision in a four-round bout.

Reeves controlled most of the action against Barakat and scored a third-round knockdown. Barakat is a roundhouse puncher who wades in with his gloves down. With any separation between himself and any decent opponent, he is an accident waiting to happen. Despite the obvious openings, however, Reeves could not finish him off. By the fifth round, the fight was devolving and getting sloppy, which played into the stronger Barakat’s hands, but the sixth-round landed him on a stretcher, ending the night.

Kevin “The Scarecrow” Womack, Baltimore, Md., 154, looked like the best 7-5-3 (5 KOs) fighter in the world in stopping Tyson Harrison, Greensboro, N.C., 155 ½ , (2-3) by TKO at 1:56 of the first round in a scheduled six. Womack, 5-foot-11, scored a knockdown with the very first punch of the fight, a stiff jab, and it was stunning to see. As soon as the fight resumed, he was on Harrison with a blur of young Thomas Hearns-like combinations. Referee Ken Chevalier finally waved it over with Harrison overwhelmed by punches in his own corner. Womack went to center ring, landed a perfect back flip that left him facing his opponent’s corner and he walked over to wish him well.
It was the kind of awesome performance that makes you want to see a fighter again.

Womack fought at 152 pounds in the Gold Gloves but he dropped down into the 140s early in his pro career, which began in 2011. After winning his first four bouts, he went 0-5-2 in his next seven. Now, he’s 3-0-2 in his past five, drawing with Jesse Cook (14-1), inhaling Nathaniel Rivas (5-1) and now the win over Harrison. He’s fought four times since May 8, and he is fast and exciting.

Undercard Results:

Damont Giddins, Salisbury, Md., 147, (2-1, 2 KOs) admired himself for three rounds before rallying to score a TKO 1:40 in the fourth and final round over Travis McClaren, Danville, Va., 147, (1-7, 1 KO). McClaren dropped Giddins with a hard right uppercut in the second round and looked like, although far less strong or talented, he might hustle his way to a decision win. Giddins pulled himself together in the fourth and scored a devastating knockdown with a right that saw McClaren land on the side of his head. In no condition to continue and barely responsive, McClaren was allowed to continue by Chevalier and he got blasted out against the ropes. 

Totally unnecessary punishment. 

Benson (R) decisions Black
Dennis Benson, Hampton, Va., 227 (3-5-2, 1 KO) scored a split-decision win over Carlos Black, Washington, D.C., 224 ½, (1-2, 1 KO) in a four-rounder. We saw it 39-37 for the winner in a spirited and somewhat crude encounter of in-shape big men. 

Shakeel Phinn, Brossard, Quebec, Canada, 174, (2-1, 1 KO) turned out to be the good fighter down from Canada as he scored a sharp unanimous decision win over Danny Waters, Rockville, Md., 169 ½, (0-1) in a fast-paced four-rounder. Waters had a lot of success in the muay thai ranks and was trying conventional boxing as a pro for the first time. He fought well but the sharp, well-schooled and busy Phinn was just too much. 

Nicholas Rodriguez, Somerset, Ky., 127 ½ , (0-2-1) and Arthur Parker, IV, Lancaster, Pa., 131 ½, (1-13-2) fought to a split draw in the quiet opener, for which the first bell rang at 8:34 PM. 

Images & Words by John Scheinman for KO Digest