By Keith Idec
NEW YORK – Daniel Geale fully understands that this is a dangerous, daunting assignment, unlike anything he has experienced in nearly 10 years as a professional prizefighter.
The soft-spoken, two-time former middleweight title-holder made at least one guarantee, though – he won’t go out like Matthew Macklin on Saturday night at Madison Square Garden.
The 33-year-old Geale (30-2, 16 KOs) can’t comprehend why England’s Macklin took such a passive approach to his blowout loss to knockout artist Gennady Golovkin last summer in Mashantucket, Conn.
“I was surprised,” Geale said, “but you could sort of tell from the first 30 seconds of the first round Macklin, he wasn’t there 100 percent. I was a little bit disappointed. I expected Macklin to go out and just say, ‘[Forget] it. I’m gonna have a go at it.’ He didn’t really put it out there. At least if you’re in there, go. But he didn’t really have a go. He just tried to survive that fight, I think. You can’t go into a fight against a fighter like Golovkin and just try to survive 12 rounds, because it’s going to be hard work.”
Kazakhstan’s Golovkin (29-0, 26 KOs) knocked out Macklin (30-5, 20 KOs) with a perfectly placed body shot in the third round last June 29 at Foxwoods Resort Casino. Geale watched from half-a-world away, unsure why Macklin didn’t at least offer more resistance.
“A couple of times Macklin threw a couple punches back, and it surprised Golovkin,” Geale said. “And then [Macklin] went back into a shell. You’re going to get hit. With guy who’s this accurate and has such good timing, he’ll eventually get through and it’ll hurt.”
Geale and Macklin were scheduled to meet May 24 as part of an HBO “Boxing After Dark” doubleheader in Corpus Christi, Texas. The card was cancelled, however, when Cuban heavyweight Mike Perez (20-0-1, 12 KOs) suffered a shoulder injury that forced the postponement of his WBC elimination match against Philadelphia’s Bryant Jennings (18-0, 10 KOs).
That situation led to Geale getting a much more appealing opportunity to challenge one of boxing’s fastest-rising stars. Geale, an 11-1 underdog, promised he won’t waste it. Regardless of the outcome, the Sydney resident also assured anyone who’d listen during fight week that he won’t “freeze,” waiting around for the ever-aggressive Golovkin to attack him.
“I think the biggest thing to worry about is not what the other guy is going to do,” Geale said. “It’s more about what your’e going to do. I’m worrying about the things I’m in control of. I’m in control of my boxing. He’s in control of his boxing. I know his strengths and weaknesses, and I know if I go out and box to the best of my ability I’ll win the fight. I just have to be myself. If I give him too much respect or don’t give him enough respect, it could end badly either way. I have to be on that level ground. I have to smart about what I do and win the fight.”
The Golovkin-Geale battle will headline an HBO “World Championship Boxing” doubleheader. The Jennings-Perez bout will open a broadcast set to start at 9:30 p.m. ET.
Keith Idec covers boxing for The Record and Herald News, of Woodland Park, N.J., and BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.