Is Gennady Golovkin an android? A golem? Whatever he is, he seems almost perfectly designed to destroy flesh and bone, which is what he did Saturday on HBO Pay-Per-View against David Lemieux.
To say that Lemieux never had a chance, despite his own vaunted middleweight punching power, might ignore the most important point, which is why: Lemieux can punch, which is what gave him any chance he ever had, but Golovkin was both too good to allow himself to be hit much and had too good a chin for when he did. Lemieux landed his money punch at times, and flush. Golovkin ignored it like it didn’t happen, then came back with even harder material.
And that doesn’t capture the essence of the domination — that’s just operating at the periphery of where Lemieux had a chance and Golovkin took it away. Golovkin was the better boxer, with the longer arms, and he took advantage of it from the opening bell. Golovkin would jab Lemieux and keep him from getting close, and Lemieux, with his stubby arms, had to bend down and lunge to even get within yards of Golovkin’s chin.
Lemieux turned in the best performance he could, same as some of the undercard fighters, and admirably hung in there, which spoke probably to the dedication he showed in preparing for the biggest and hardest fight of his life. Yet in the 5th he suffered a body shot knockdown, then on top of it took a flush head shot after he was down — a punch that should’ve been ruled a foul, and Lemieux given a chance to recover. He also probably took punches after the bell to end the round.
Lemieux still did some of his best work thereafter, but Golovkin did. not. care. He busted up Lemieux’s nose, making it a match for the aftereffects of a train wreck on Lemieux’s hair, which flopped around gloriously with every act of violence by Golovkin. Finally in the 8th, the ref stepped in, and while Lemieux complained in the post-fight interview, he had kinda looked over at the ref in apparent hopes that he’d stop it.
The good news for Lemieux is that he still has a fan base in Canada and put up a capable enough showing not to ruin it, and he’s got power and looks and youth and would beat a fair number of middleweights still. Plus he got the biggest paycheck of his life.
Golovkin, in his own post-fight interview, said he wanted the last of the middleweight alphabet belts, which belongs to Miguel Cotto, who has shown zero interest in facing Golovkin; Cotto is due to fight Canelo Alvarez next, who has shown more openness to the notion, and HBO would surely throw a ton of money at the idea. So maybe Golovkin will get his wish. But he’ll have a tough time holding onto all the belts thanks to alphabet politics, and it’s a misguided plan anyway. Did anyone watch this fight because of the number of belts on the line, or did they watch it because Lemieux can punch and Golovkin can punch and everyone was hopefully curious to see Golovkin challenged?
On Saturday, leading GOP presidential candidate Donald Trump visited Golovkin in his locker room, and we’ve seen some mainstream crossover from Golovkin in bunches. That kind of thing is foundational for the next big boxing star. Lemieux offered Golovkin a chance to burnish his PPV credentials and therefore lure less-willing opponents into the ring with richer purses. Lemieux also offered him the faintest possibility of a challenge, via a fellow big knockout artist. Until we get either A. Golovkin against a huge megastar (by today’s standards) like Canelo or Cotto; or B. a sense that Golovkin might be actually challenged — not like Lemieux’s outsider hope, but really challenged, i.e. someone on the level of super middleweight champ Andre Ward; or C. both… Golovkin’s ceiling is not as high as it can be. But on the in-ring merits, and from the standpoint of making the most of the material he’s been given so far, he’s doing the best he can. Which happens to be pretty damn good.
(Lemieux, saved the ref; via)