As many like to say in boxing, “It is what it is.” And so it was for the return of Gennady Golovkin, the man many feel is in fact undefeated and the true king of the middleweight division, judges and official records be damned. After his second battle with Saul “Canelo” Alvarez last September, the Kazakh took a long break and his first match after the first official defeat of his pro career was really nothing more than a public-relations exercise, a tune-up, an ice-breaker, a chance to shake off some ring rust after a lengthy layoff.
Steve Rolls (19-1) of Toronto was not entirely without merit; after all he was undefeated going into last night’s big Madison Square Garden show. But the fact remained he had yet to face a truly world-class contender and absolutely no one outside of his team was giving him any chance of winning. His assignment was to give Golovkin some action, some rounds, and then to fall and allow the former champion to get officially back into the win column. It is what it is.
Give Rolls credit: he gave it a legit effort, did his best to stand up to Gennady, and landed more than a few solid shots. But in round four he found himself where so many Triple-G opponents have found themselves: under fire with no escape. Backed to the ropes, a barrage of solid shots put him down and out and now the wait has begun to see if boxing will get the trilogy it wants. Could Golovkin vs Canelo III go down in September?
Our own Jeff Lockhart was in Madison Square Garden last night and, as he always does, got some great shots of the big fight in “The Big Apple.” It may not have been the most suspenseful of duels, but the bottom line is Gennady Golovkin is back in action and that’s nothing but good news for boxing. And, as the photos show, he looks as good as ever. Check ’em out:
Photos by Jeff Lockhart.