This weekend, plutonium-fisted middleweight masochists Gennady Golovkin and Saul Alvarez meet in a title fight that has boxing fans the world over salivating to the point of dangerous dehydration.
It’s a fight that hasn’t been built up by a promotional blitzkrieg akin to the recent Mayweather vs. McGregor world tour – which is fortunate because neither man possesses the comedic talent, larger than life personality or, indeed, grasp of the English language to partake in such large-scale madness. Rather, the excitement for it has grown naturally and is based on the belief that a battle between two of boxing’s best pound for pound fighters and most reliable purveyors of violence can’t fail to deliver thrills.
It’s a belief we share.
The problem with this, of course, is that it is less likely to grip the casual fan who has little prior knowledge of the two fighters. If this describes you, let us inform and excite you somewhat with a list of each fighter’s greatest knockouts(we are going for aesthetics here as opposed to significance). If this doesn’t describe you and you have already been gripped by Golovkin – Alvarez fever, read on anyway and relive some of the two boxers’ finest moments.
(This is a two-parter. We are starting with Golovkin. Check back tomorrow for Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez’s list.)
Golovkin, nicknamed ‘Triple G’ or ‘GGG’ – because his full name is Gennady Gennadyovich Golovkin, not because his opponents struggle to utter his name without a preceding, terror-induced stammer à la a cartoon character who has just spotted a ghost – is one of the most feared punchers in the entire sport. He carries thudding natural power in both hands – power that is been enhanced by perfect technique and aided by an otherworldly ability to cut off the ring. This combination of attributes has led Golovkin to amass 33 stoppages in 37 straight professional wins and a remarkable KO percentage of 89% – the highest in middleweight championship history.
Here, presented in order – from the earliest to the latest – are some of his greatest KO’s…
Vs. Lucian Bute…
This is a sneaky one, as it occurred in the amateurs and not the paid ranks.
Before turning professional in 2006, Golovkin had established himself as a truly great amateur, winning an astounding 345 of 350 bouts, as well as a World Championship gold in Bangkok in 2003 and an Olympic silver in Athens the following year.
En route to winning gold at the worlds in 2003, Golovkin defeated several soon-to-be big-name pros, including Matvey Korobov, future WBO middleweight titlist Andy Lee and future IBF super-middleweight champion Lucian Bute. The latter win produced a memorable one-punch KO finish – a very rare at sight at such a high-level amateur tournament.
(Skip to 2:50 if the time-stamp doesn’t work.)
Vs. Tshepo Mashego…
Mashego was Golovkin’s tenth pro opponent and his ninth knockout victim. The South African came in to the February 2008 bout at the Sporthalle in Alsterdorf, Germany with an uninspiring 15-8 record, but he had only been stopped once and that was some eight years prior. He couldn’t last a round with Golovkin, however. The Kazakh killer knocked him cold with just 2:04 on the clock.
(Skip to 3:20 if the time-stamp doesn’t work.)
Vs. Lajuan Simon…
Prior to his meeting with Golovkin in Dusseldorf in December of 2011, Philadelphia’s Simon had won 21 and lost 3, but he had never been stopped. He had been the 12-round distance with heavy-handed Smurfs enthusiast Arthur Abraham in an unsuccessful challenge for the IBF middleweight title in March 2009 and with soon-to-be IBF middleweight champ Sebastian Sylvester in June of the same year. He had also been the distance with dangerous Colombian knockout artist Dionisio Miranda in a split-decision defeat in 2010.
Golovkin knocked Simon stiff with a single left hook.
(Skip to 2:15 if the time-stamp doesn’t work.)
Vs. Nobuhiro Ishida…
Ishida had been beaten eight times before he fought Golovkin in Monte Carlo in March of 2013, but, like Simon, he had never been finished.
Ishida had caused a massive upset in 2011, stopping James Kirkland in the first round. After that the battle-tested Japanese warrior lost back to back unanimous decisions to killers Paul Williams and then WBO middleweight champ Dmitry Pirog before facing Golovkin, who by this time was the WBA middleweight champion.
Golovkin didn’t let Ishida out of the third, knocking him through the ropes and thoughtfully delivering him straight into the waiting arms of a ringside doctor with a single right hand.
Vs. Matthew Macklin…
In June of 2011, Macklin had come painfully close to taking the WBA middleweight title from Felix Sturm in Germany. The Birmingham boxer lost a split decision but many felt he deserved to get the nod. The following March he gave the mercurial lineal middleweight champ Sergio Martinez a real run for his money in New York before being halted in the 11th.
You often hear boxers claim that taking a good shot to the body is worse than taking a big shot to the head. But the anguish etched across Macklin’s face as he writhed on the canvas after taking a beautifully executed left hook to the liver from Golovkin in the third round of their June 2013 clash did more to communicate that point to the masses than mere words ever could.
“I’ve never been down from a body shot and that just folded me in half,” Macklin told The Daily Star in 2016. “I wouldn’t have got up even if I had 30 seconds. I was in agony, I broke two of my ribs.”
“I was paralysed for 20 seconds until I could get to my feet.”
“He hits you with a jab and you think ‘f*** that is not normal,’” he added. “You’re not wobbled but it hurts. I was so mentally prepared for him to hit hard but I was still like ‘oh now it is for real and I can’t take them all night.’”
“When I had done two rounds I felt like I had done seven and I was in fifth gear going backwards.”
(Skip to 11:00 if the time-stamp doesn’t work.)
Our rundown of Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez’s best KO’s is now available here.