You couldn’t be blamed for wondering whether Gennady Golovkin’s two-fight non-knockout streak meant he was no longer the power punching beast who once gobbled up opponents whole. It seems, rather, that it was just a matter of opponent caliber.
Golovkin barely beat fellow middleweight Daniel Jacobs, then fought to a draw with Canelo Alvarez. Vanes Martirosyan Saturday on HBO? That looked like the guy we once knew in a nasty power punching fusillade that ended Martirosyan’s night in two rounds.
It’s no coincidence that Jacobs and Alvarez, the men who ended Golovkin’s endless knockout streak, were the two best opponents he ever faced. Martirosyan was more like the mid-level 160-pounder Golovkin used to feast on for forever.
The 1st round, it looked like Martirosyan was going to give an aging, 36-year-old Golovkin a run. He was pumping a solid jab and even appeared to hurt GGG at the end of the round with a deceptive combination.
But GGG’s trainer told him between rounds he was too tight, and in the 2nd, he opened up big time. A big uppercut drew gasps from the crowd. Then Golovkin landed his own deceptive combination, with a series of jabs, lefts and rights that lasted until just before the moment Martirosyan collapsed.
Martirosyan tried to get up, but didn’t seem to have it in him and dropped again for the count out.
This writer was among those thinking Golovkin was fading. This was evidence to the contrary. Martirosyan told HBO’s Max Kellerman he’d never been hit harder.
It sucks that we got this one-sided contest instead of the Canelo rematch, and that Canelo now has a cloud hanging over his head due to a failed drug test. That match-up is still, however, a great deal more appetizing than tainted beef. It’s what should happen next.
If it doesn’t, there’s still a great deal out there for Golovkin in his division, as HBO’s team pointed out — Daniel Jacobs, Billy Joe Sanders and Demetrius Andrade among the most viable ones (Jermall Charlo would be great, too, but he’s fighting on Showtime). And because it looks like there’s still plenty of gas in the tank, we just might get them all.
(Photo: Gennady Golovkin unloads on Vanes Martirosyan; via)