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Fri Oct 17, 2014, 01:21 PM

Boxing: Golovkin vs Rubio

Tomorrow night, HBO will present Gennady Golovkin vs. Marco Antonio Rubio at 10 pm/est. The bout is being held in Carson, CA, and is for Golovkin’s middleweight “title.” The real middleweight champion is Miguel Cotto; however, most of the boxing community recognizes Golovkin as the best fighter in the division. Should he win, it seems likely that he will be able to secure a bout with one of the bigger names in either the middleweight or super middleweight division.

Going into the bout, it seems probable that the hard-punching Golovkin will win. He was a top amateur, and has won all 30 of his professional bouts -- including 27 by knockout. While he has been ready to fight any middleweight, those who have been ranked higher have thus far refused to step into the ring with him. He is currently the “most avoided” person in the sport.

As a result, Golovkin has been fighting the best of the division who are willing to face him. It came as no surprise that Rubio eagerly agreed to fight Golovkin, who will be making his west coast debut. Rubio, 34, made his pro debut in 2000, and has faced many of the best fighters of his era. While some boxing journalists refer to him as a “journeyman,” it is more accurate to view him as a gate-keeper in the division. Although he has come up short when fighting the very best, he has won 15 of his last 16 bouts -- losing only a 12-round decision to the much larger Julio Cesar Chavez, Jr., who entered the ring as a cruiserweight.

Rubio’s record stands at 59-6-1, with 51 knockout victories (and 3 knockout loses). Three of those recent victories came against undefeated young contenders, looking to reach the top of the division. Each of the three ended in a knockout. If you consider him in the context of those last 16 bouts -- the only defeat coming against an opponent who literally was three weight classes higher -- you have a top contender, not a journeyman.

Rubio not only hits hard enough to knock out anyone he hits cleanly, but he has a solid delivery system. More, if he hurts an opponent, he knows how to keep them in serious trouble, until the referee saves his victim from more punishment. That is, of course, the result of having so much high-quality experience.

In the professional ranks, Golovkin has really only been fighting near that top level for about two years. I had the pleasure of watching his American debut from ringside in September of 2012. He was as impressive as advertised. The feature that makes him arguably the most exciting fighter today is his extreme punching power. He can end any fight at any time with a single blow -- and this includes by way of his awesome body blows.

Golovkin is not a physically intimidating fighter, such as a Rubin “Hurricane” Carter. Nor does he seek to mentally destroy his opposition before a bout, as does Bernard Hopkins. Part of the attraction is that, outside the ring, Golovkin is an upbeat, polite, and respectful individual, with a happy, somewhat toothy grin. If you saw him in a public setting, he hardly resembles what might be expected of the most feared man in the sport.

Indeed, even while engaged in a fight, Golovkin never appears to be loading up on a punch. Thus, the punches that can end a bout seem almost effortless. Watching him perform from a ringside seat provides for a much better opportunity to gauge his power. When I saw him hitting tough Gregorz Proksa (who was 28-1, with 21 knockouts), he was raising welts with his body attack. He scored knockdowns in rounds 1, 4, and 5. Proksa was brave indeed, and was absorbing brutal punishment before the fight was stopped in round five. I remember very well how the crowd gave out collective groans as Golovkin was landing vicious punches in rounds four and five.

The crowds attending boxing cards do not, as a general rule, strike me as a compassionate lot. Too often, those who purchase tickets believe that they are entitled to bloodshed. However, when the referee ended the assault on a bloodied, dazed Proksa, everyone had seen enough. And those who truly understand the sport knew that they had just watched a special talent.

Golovkin is heavily favored to win tomorrow night’s fight. And most likely, he will not only win, but accomplish that victory by way of knockout. Here’s why I think that:

First, throughout his career, Rubio has been a slow-starter. He rarely enters the ring fully warmed-up. There is always a risk of being “caught cold” when you haven’t properly warmed-up. Rubio’s first two loses (against opponents who’s combined records were 35-1) came within two rounds. And, in other bouts, he has been hurt -- though he stayed on his feet -- in the first round. Clearly, Golovkin is the wrong guy to fight if not fully prepared. (The three minutes that constitute a round in boxing are far, far longer if you are the fellow being hurt inside that ring!)

Assuming Rubio goes a few rounds, viewers will notice that Gennady Golovkin is a very patient fighter. He has a very high level of “ring intelligence.” Thus, he pursues an opponent like a predator, aware of their every move, seeking to force them into making a mistake. The pressure he puts on forces an opponent to try to keep him at a safe distance, although there is no safety zone inside that ring. Perhaps most impressively, Golovkin has the ability to punch “between” his opponent’s punches with great accuracy. This includes the ability to place his punches (which is distinct from, for example, James Kirkland, the other guy about the same size with extreme power).

I think that it is most likely to end with Golovkin’s superior hand-speed, allowing him to counter Rubio during an exchange somewhere between 4 and 6 rounds. At this point, I’d favor Golovkin over any middleweight. The only two fighters that I think could beat him in 2015 would be Andre Ward at super middleweight, and Floyd Mayweather, Jr., at a “catch weight” between junior middleweight and middleweight. However, in a year’s time, he will be reaching his peak, and potential fights with those two would need to be re-evaluated.

This doesn’t mean that Golovkin is flawless. He is not. And, just as Rubion can’t afford to make any mistake in the ring, neither can Golovkin. Rubio’s best chance will be to try to move Gennady backwards. If he can do this -- even part of the time -- he will be looking to land a hard shot at the end of an exchange -- especially if Golovkin steps straight back. If that happens, look for the boxing journalists to call it “the upset of the year.”

Enjoy the fight!

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Reply Boxing: Golovkin vs Rubio (Original post)
H2O Man Oct 2014 OP
KamaAina Oct 2014 #1
H2O Man Oct 2014 #2
KamaAina Oct 2014 #3
H2O Man Oct 2014 #4
H2O Man Oct 2014 #5
Kingofalldems Oct 2014 #6

Response to H2O Man (Original post)

Fri Oct 17, 2014, 01:24 PM

1. Golovkin all the way.


Rubio will turn away in the middle of the round to take a sip from his water bottle.

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Response to KamaAina (Reply #1)

Fri Oct 17, 2014, 01:55 PM

2. Ha!

Have you seen much of GGG? I'm guessing so, as you obviously know the sport. Now, this may sound funny, but I can remember hearing the impact from the guy's punches. Fighters can hit hard in different ways -- even with the great heavyweight champions with extreme power, a George Foreman's punches were distinct from a Mike Tyson's.

Golovkin's are hugely impressive.

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Response to H2O Man (Reply #2)

Fri Oct 17, 2014, 02:23 PM

3. Actually, I don't believe I have


his fights must be on pay cable.

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Response to KamaAina (Reply #3)

Fri Oct 17, 2014, 02:38 PM

4. Not yet.

He fights on "regular" television so far.

I hope that you get to see him. I'll be looking forward to hearing your impressions.

(I'm sure that "you tube" has some highlights of his many knockouts.)

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Response to H2O Man (Original post)

Sun Oct 19, 2014, 02:22 AM

5. Golovkin by 2nd round KO

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Response to H2O Man (Reply #5)

Sun Oct 19, 2014, 05:51 PM

6. That guy can punch hard and in combinations. Impressive.

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