By Gary Purfield
Since winning the silver medal in the 2004 Olympics for his native Kazakhstan, Gennady Golovkin has been one to watch. He brings a talented mix of excellent boxing skills and knockout power in both hands. Saturday night Golovkin will get his biggest test thus far when he takes on Grzegorz Proksa from the Turning Stone Resort and Casino in Verona, NY.
Golovkin (23-0, 20 KO) at this point does not have any top names on his resume, but that has hardly stopped fans and media from recognizing the potential of the middleweight who currently holds the WBA 160lb strap. Golovkin has cut through his competition with such precision that it is hard not to take notice. In his last three bouts he stopped the durable veteran Kassim Ouma in the tenth, crushed Lajuan Simon in the first round, and then took out Makoto Fuchigami in three. Not a murderer’s row, but solid opponents that Golovkin handled with absolute ease without breaking a sweat.
Golovkin has fought the majority of his bouts in Germany and Saturday will be his first trip to the states. Golovkin has hungered to get to the US but various issues have delayed his debut. Now he gets his chance as the featured bout on HBO. While the names Golovkin and Proksa may not be known, this bout shapes up on paper to be exciting as both have high KO percentages meaning this one should be good while it lasts.
Golovkin is aware making a name on US soil is easier said than done, but he is confident in his abilities and his ring performance that he can excite the American Fans. Talking through a translator and trainer Abel Sanchez on a recent conference call Golovkin discussed what is needed to sell his brand in the states.
“Really what he is trying to say is that it’s up to him to put on a good show and look great and the American public will take to him. If it’s a bad fight, then obviously, he’s not going to be marketable, but we think that he’s the best middle-weight in the world and if he does what he’s supposed to do, then the American public will buy the next HBO or the future pay-per-views that he will be on.”
Sanchez went on to discuss that while Golovkin is making his first trip as a pro to the states he has plenty of experience with foreign soil thanks to his extensive amateur background.
“No, not at all because of the vast international experience in some of the big tournaments he was in. He was in the Olympics. He was a silver medalist in the Athens Olympics. I think that he’s very secure in who he is. It’s just a matter of the transition from the European fighter, from the amateur fighter, to the American style that’s conducive to a good HBO fight, good pay-per-view fight. He understands what his role is here and he’s allowing us to develop and to change his style to suit American TV.”
Sanchez, who has trained many top fighters, had big things to say about his current charge, stating Golovkin is the best fighter he has worked with at this point of his career.
“You know I’ve had the pleasure of working with a lot of great fighters, but this one is by far the best one that I’ve ever worked with at any period of time in their careers. I think the 350 amateur fights and all the international experience has made him such a serene fighter, such a composed fighter and the one thing that he does have, he possesses lethal power on each end, so to me, he’s probably the best I’ve ever worked with.”
Golovkin will have a good test with Proska (28-1, 21 KO). While Proska has a questionable majority decision loss to Kerry Hope he also has a third round stoppage of Sebastian Sylvester to his credit. Proska is known as being heavy handed. At the very least he will show if Golovkin is worthy of the attention he has received and give him the skill and chin test needed to see if he is the real deal.
Time will tell if Golovkin is the next big thing in the storied middleweight division. If he can prove the hype is real he could be in line to take on the winner of the Sergio Martinez-Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. bout. The middleweight division has been begging for its next star. Gennady Golovkin may be the answer.
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