Khazak sensation Gennady Golovkin–in his second appearance on U.S. soil–took on Philadelphian Gabriel Rosado to defend his WBA and IBO middleweight titles at the Madison Square Garden Theater last Saturday night. The bout was expected to be a showcase for “GGG”, who’s looking to gain exposure and add fans to an already growing cult following. “King” Rosado moved up from the 154 pounds division to face the powerful Golovkin, refusing a catchweight offer of 158 pounds, taking a significant amount of risk in signing up for the fight.
The match was a showcase for Golovkin, who battered and bruised an outmatched, overpowered Rosado. As early as the second round a gash opened above Rosado’s left eye, a cut which would get worse as the fight went on thanks to the punishment inflicted by Golovkin. By the fifth round, Gabriel’s face was swollen and covered in blood; notwithstanding, the American showed tremendous courage in fighting on despite the hopeless situation he found himself in. The contest was eventually stopped by the referee near the end of round seven as requested by Rosado’s corner. The HBO broadcast showed that the stoppage came despite the wishes of Rosado to keep fighting, and in apparent opposition to his father, to whom Gabriel’s trainer yelled: “I gotta stop it! Your son’s going to die, man!”
With his 25th win (22nd by KO), Golovkin continues adding members to his fanclub and feeding expectations of what he may be able to achieve against top-tier opposition in what is suddenly a hot middleweight division. However, while his power grows more intimidating by the punch, he also showed moments of vulnerability, as he used his face to catch more than a couple of strong right hands from “King” Rosado. This weakness in defensive skill may just do the trick in luring more worthy opposition into taking the risk of meeting him inside a ring.
HBO seems committed to build Golovkin up as an exciting fighter, with the broadcast team comparing him to the likes of Mike Tyson and Julio Cesar Chavez. The likeable Golovkin is also willing to go the extra mile in amassing marketability, refusing the services of a translator for the post-fight interview and intent on fighting frequently in order to stuff his reputation and his resume. It is undeniable that GGG’s power is a threat to anyone hovering around the middleweight division, but it is hard at this moment to gauge his chances against top-tier opposition who fight back with authoritative punches of their own. Until that moment arrives, we will be more than happy to enjoy the violent spectacle that a Gennady Golovkin fight represents.