Gennady Golovkin is, without question, the best middleweight in the world. Miguel Cotto may be the lineal champion, but he will be a huge underdog if that match is ever made. But it won’t be. Cotto is smarter than that. The odds against him taking the fight are almost as long the odds of him lasting the distance against this marauding monster who handled his most formidable foe to date with frightening ease. The bout was stopped in round eleven but it had been decided long before the point when referee Luis Pabon did the humane and merciful thing. Immediately after, Golovkin wore the relaxed and contented expression of a factory worker at the end of a productive shift. He appeared not the least bit fatigued or unsettled after ten plus rounds of hand-to-hand combat. In fact, he looked ready for overtime.
Martin Murray is a world-class middleweight; he proved that when he gave Sergio Martinez one of the toughest battles of his career. And from the opening bell he showed both guts and some smart strategic thinking as he used clinches to blunt Golovkin’s aggression and jabs and right hand leads to make the fight, at least at times, a competitive affair. But he was hurt at the end of round three and in the fourth a right hand to the body forced Murray to one knee. Seconds later, he went down a second time. To his credit, he rose and tried to fight back, but at that point it was clear he could not win. He was simply outgunned. Golovkin hurt Murray in almost every round, while Murray’s punches had virtually no effect on the champion.
One word sums up Murray’s performance: brave. He never gave up, never stopped trying to find a way to solve his opponent, but without the power to earn Golovkin’s respect, the task was insurmountable. It was clear he could not win yet he fought gallantly in the middle rounds, finding opportunities to score while constantly working to stay off the ropes. Short right hands on the inside were finding their mark, but again, Golovkin was never hurt, never stunned, and never discouraged from his ruthless game plan: corner his man, get close and exploit openings to land the heavy artillery. The champion’s efficient footwork allowed him to cut the ring off with ease and so much of Murray’s energy was squandered in simply trying to stay off the ropes and out of the corners.
In addition to a chin of stone, debilitating power in either hand and a wide selection of hurtful weapons, “GGG” possesses astonishing stamina. The pace never slackened and neither did Golovkin’s work rate. He hurt Murray with a left hook in round eight, bided his time in the ninth while Murray had maybe his best round since the second, but then struck again in round ten, ending that stanza by scoring a clean knockdown with a hard right hand to the head. The bell saved the challenger from a finishing onslaught but Murray’s corner did not save him from further punishment, allowing him to answer the bell for round eleven. But referee Pabon had seen enough. Golovkin chased Murray around the ring and then cornered him and landed two more hard right hands, the second one snapping Murray’s head back, and Pabon halted the fight. Neither Murray, nor anyone from his corner, protested the stoppage.
Having overwhelmed his most formidable opponent to date with relative ease, the post-fight question on everyone’s mind is an obvious one: who has the guts to fight this guy? The next match for Golovkin should be obvious: Cotto for the undisputed middleweight title. But “Junito” has yet to indicate any serious interest in facing his fellow titlist. And really, who can blame him? To begin with, he’s hardly a natural middleweight, but that fact aside, it is impossible to envision anyone without both Mayweather-type ring skills and defensive talent, plus the needed size and strength, extending Golovkin, let alone defeating him. Thus, the middleweight mess is likely to continue until Cotto decides to either face the Kazakh Krusher or vacate his title.
Andre Ward is likely the only opponent within 20 pounds of Golovkin who has the skills necessary to neutralize his offense. Carl Froch would be an attractive match, but he’s already stated he wants nothing to do with Gennady. The winners of the upcoming Andy Lee vs Peter Quillin and David Lemieux vs Hassan N’Dam contests should provide viable opponents, but needless to say, they will be massive underdogs if and when they face “GGG.” Golovkin vs Canelo Alvarez would be intriguing to say the least, but the Mexican takes full advantage of the day-before weigh-in and is accustomed to enjoying significant advantages in size and weight. Something tells me he’s likely not keen on a match where this would not be the case.
After 19 straight stoppage wins, Gennady Golovkin finds himself at the top of the 160 lb. division but, like another middleweight champion who also dominated his division with ruthless efficiency, it looks like lucrative and truly high-profile matches are going to be difficult to secure. As the story goes, Joe Frazier told a young Marvin Hagler he would have a tough time getting the big fights because he was a southpaw, black and simply too good for his own good. Golovkin does not have identical handicaps as Marvelous Marvin, but it’s clear that his power, toughness, and relentless aggression are going to limit his opportunities in the near future. If you don’t believe me, just ask Miguel Cotto.
— Michael Carbert