by Fox Doucette
Triple G hasn’t fared well on this show. When he fought Marcel Cerdan, the Frenchman stopped him in seven. When Golovkin faced off against John “The Beast” Mugabi, the Beast shredded him in three. The consensus of the Temporal Commission is that we’re going to go steadily down the ranks of middleweight quality opposition until we find a guy Golovkin can beat, in order to establish his place on the historical pecking order.
With that in mind, the boys from 2688 think they’ve got just the guy: Mustafa Hamsho, pulled forward in time from the Wilfred Benitez fight, a fight in which Hamsho cornered the Puerto Rican in the corner and beat the crap out of him for twelve rounds, nearly stopping him in the third (indeed, any sensible referee today would have called the fight then.) The Syrian was on the comeback trail, one tuneup fight away from a rematch with Marvin Hagler. Trouble was, Hagler kicked his ass for the second time; it would be the last time anyone took Hamsho seriously as a contender.
Good enough to get a title shot and not good enough to remain upright for the duration much less win the match? That sounds like a Golovkin opponent, all right.
Your co-feature? Last time we had Prince Naseem Hamed in here, Danny Lopez wore him down and stopped him on the undercard of the infamous Calzaghe-Benn fight. We’re giving the Prince a two-pound weight handicap, as he is getting Javier Fortuna, a slower but stronger fighter, at a 128-pound catchweight. Will power beat speed, or will the bizarre style of the man on the magic carpet carry the day in his shot at redemption?
From the Historical Fight Night Arena Presented By You, If You Donate On Patreon, in San Dimas, California, these fights are scheduled for 12 rounds using the Unified Rules of the Association of Boxing Commissions. Scoring is on the 10-point must system, there is no three knockdown rule, no standing eight count, only the referee can stop the fight, and a fighter cannot be saved by the bell in any round including the twelfth and final round.
Now, for the thousands in attendance and the millions watching from around the world…
Let’s Make History.
Prince Naseem Hamed (12/19/1997, 29-0, 27 KOs) vs. Javier Fortuna (5/7/2016, 29-0-1, 21 KOs)
The question here is one of whether Hamed’s hand speed and unorthodox style can make up for a chin that was suspect on its best day even as he was never actually knocked out during his career. At featherweight, Fortuna had legitimate one-punch knockout power, especially in his left from the southpaw stance, but much like the Kevin Kelley fight from which Hamed is pulled via time machine, this is two southpaws doing battle with each other. So who wins? The whirling, mad, rule-breaking Brit? Or the face-smashing Dominican?
Hamed got the best of it early. Fortuna has never been particularly adept at moving with faster guys, and anyone who can stay clear of that looping left hand is going to be a fair piece safer than the more plodding sluggers who have so often found themselves countered into unconsciousness by Fortuna.
Hamed gave angles, and despite giving up five inches in reach, seemed to be able to get inside and out on Fortuna at will, making up for lack of distance with superior speed.
The fight wasn’t off to a very good start for Fortuna.
The thing about Hamed was that his complete lack of fundamentals made him extremely vulnerable to flash knockdowns at the same time as it was all but impossible to time him and land a clean shot. Fortuna took advantage of this early in the second round, thumping Hamed with one of those big left hands as the Prince tried to lean back after throwing a combination. Hamed staggered back and a right hand finished the job of disrupting his balance; the Prince hit the ropes and lost his footing, leaving referee Mills Lane to begin his count.
Fortuna pursued, but he hadn’t actually hurt the Prince; he’d merely knocked him off balance. Fortuna ate a right hand, and the timbre of the fight had once again changed as Fortuna went down with a thud like a sack of potatoes.
Fortuna learned not to chase; Hamed didn’t learn a damn thing, but he did re-establish control of the pace of the contest, pulling himself an additional round up on the scorecards as most at ringside made it 20-18.
Again Hamed’s lousy grasp of basic boxing technique at the expense of his flashy style got him in trouble. He came in with a bit of a zigzag pattern, and while he may have zigged and not been smacked, he zagged right into another one of those big left crosses from the southpaw Fortuna. This one landed with a lot more force, and this was no flash knockdown. Hamed was in all kinds of trouble, barely beating the count.
Fortuna took advantage, this time using his superior size as a battering ram to shove the off-balance Hamed into a corner where he could tee off on him. He didn’t get another knockdown, but what he did get was a 10-8 round to pull the fight even.
With a minute’s recovery in the corner, Hamed went back to work. Trouble was, he kept running into the same problem as Fortuna began to figure out how to time him and bring those big left hands over more or less at will. Kevin Kelley had landed nearly half his shots on Hamed; this was not Willie Pep dancing away from incoming damage in his prime or Roy Jones Jr. using superior reflexes in his prime. This was just an awkward fighter looking more like Emmanuel Augustus than a defensive master.
Fortuna again scored a knockdown, and when the round ended, he had seized a consensus 38-36 advantage.
Hamed finally settled down; the advantage of his oddball style was that he could vary it up, making it almost impossible to predict. He played the matador with Fortuna, feinting him one way and throwing quick shots from another. Hamed was able on occasion to set his feet and punch, and he landed with stunning accuracy. After giving two rounds’ worth of the fight away, the Prince easily won the next three, freezing Fortuna in position rather than letting himself get timed. The momentum of the fight had shifted once again.
Fortuna was getting more than a little tired of Prince’s antics, and when the two men got tied up coming forward on each other, Fortuna’s left hand pulled Naz’s head down, where it became a prime target for an overhand right that was a blatant and intentional rabbit punch.
The punch landed with such force that it utterly cleaned Hamed’s clock too. Naseem went down face-first on the canvas, and it was clear the punch had done no small bit of damage; he was out for the count.
The initial ruling from Lane was to disqualify Fortuna for scoring a knockout on an intentional foul. When the Temporal Commission reviewed the fight, they upheld the referee’s decision, and this fight went into the books as a disqualification. Hamed was the winner, even as he needed a bit of recovery in the Place Beyond Time before he could be returned to 1997 to resume the temporal track of his existence.
RESULT: HAMED W-DQ8 FORTUNA.
Gennady Golovkin (5/7/2016, 35-0, 32 KOs) vs. Mustafa Hamsho (7/16/1983, 37-2-2, 21 KOs)
GGG relies on his big punch to get the job done, and it doesn’t matter what punch it is. Uppercut to the body, hook to the body, hook to the head, over-the-top right hand…and come to think of it, Hamsho is a southpaw, and the right hand is a southpaw killer…
Then again, Hamsho’s still at a point in his career here where he had never been down; Hagler, in the second fight between the two men, was the first to drop him.
We’ve seen GGG lose to legends, but what about a journeyman from 30 years ago?
Hamsho knows only one way to go in a ring and that’s forward, as inevitable as Mario moving right across a screen in the very first Super Mario Brothers. For Golovkin, this was going to be a war from the start, and it became something of a question of whether Hamsho could do to GGG what he had done to Benitez, forcing him into the corner and seizing control of the fight.
Early on, Hamsho had a bit of success, as Golovkin’s return fire was never thrown with his feet firmly underneath him. Rather than bringing the heavy artillery, this was more a case of Hamsho bringing a machine gun to lay down suppressive fire.
It was enough to win the round, somewhat to the surprise of all those in attendance.
Hamsho went out looking for more of the same, but Golovkin was able to re-establish his ground, working the jab more effectively and showing the skills he had learned in the amateur ranks en route to an Olympic silver medal.
GGG, no longer under heavy pressure, began to establish pressure of his own. Midway through the second round, Golovkin landed a solid straight right hand that staggered Hamsho, driving the Syrian back. Golovkin pursued, but the durable chin of Hamsho weathered the storm as he covered up and just tried to get through the remainder of the allotted three minutes of the round. When the bell rang, it was time to rest, recover, and try his luck in the next frame.
This time it was Golovkin who pressed forward, and when Hamsho came in leading with his head, GGG landed a perfect left hook up top. Hamsho fell in a heap, finally rising at the count of seven and looking very much like a man on spaghetti legs.
Golovkin played smart, placing his shots to the body and ripping the left hook over and over again. When Hamsho’s guard dropped, GGG brought the “southpaw killer”, a stiff overhand right that caught Hamsho right on the point of the chin and sent him to dreamland.
Hamsho may have started well, but if there’s one thing we’ve learned about Gennady Golovkin, it’s that if you put him in with a game-but-overmatched fighter, whether it’s from 1983 or 2016, you’re going to see a spectacle of violence ending in a man divorced from his senses for at least a count of ten.
Glad that’s settled.
RESULT: GOLOVKIN KO3 HAMSHO.
Recently, over on the Facebook Mythical Boxing forum, the subject of Carlos Palomino and Pipino Cuevas came up. It was the unification bout that never was, the kind of fight that would have been a classic, a fight where trying to decide on a winner is an exercise in flipping a coin.
Which makes it the perfect Historical Fight Night main event. Next Saturday, May 14, we’ll grab two guys from the same era for a Disco Demolition Night for the ages at the Historical Fight Night Arena.
Your co-feature? We’re keeping it at welterweight, but we’re trading disco for something a little more modern, as Thomas Hearns takes on Felix Trinidad.
It’s a night of champions, right here on Historical Fight Night. Thanks for reading!