By Cliff Rold
If your last name starts with a G, and you fight in the Middleweight division, September 1, 2012, was a very good day.
If you are a boxing fan, and you saw the Killer G’s on display, it was a pretty good day for you to. Boxing fans wait through a lot of stiffs, and waited through a sparse August, to get to the good stuff. In Daniel Geale-Felix Sturm and Gennady Golovkin-Daniel Proksa, they were rewarded.
If a long day of boxing on two continents had to endure the dark cloud of the Sergiy Dzinziruk-Jonathan Gonzalez snoozer, hey, every great day needs a swing bout.
Let’s go to the report cards.
Pre-Fight: Speed – Sturm A-; Geale B+/Post: Same
Pre-Fight: Power – Sturm B; Geale B/Post: Same
Pre-Fight: Defense – Sturm B; Geale B/Post: Same
Pre-Fight: Intangibles – Sturm B; Geale B/Post: A; A
Pre-Fight: Speed – Golovkin B+; Proksa A/Post: Same
Pre-Fight: Power – Golovkin A; Proksa B+/Post: A+; B+
Pre-Fight: Defense – Golovkin B; Proksa B-/Post: B; C
Pre-Fight: Intangibles – Golovkin A; Proksa B+/Post: A; B-
Starting with the American half of Saturday’s Middleweight double, fans are still abuzz about the buzzsaw on display in Verona, New York. Ardent fight fans in the U.S. knew Golovkin already. They followed his progress on YouTube and recalled his 2004 Olympic run to Silver. Now, they’ve seen him in HD.
And they’ve heard him in HD sound.
Some fighters, when they land, just sound different. There opponents clearly feel their blows and the viewer can almost feel them in their echo. Golovkin is one of those type fighters. There was concern up to the opening bell in this corner that perhaps Proksa was being too underrated. Proksa has exceptional speed and was going to be able to land.
It turned out Golovkin was even better than expected. Proksa landed. Golovkin walked through it. On Saturday, we got answers about his chin and saw how devastating he can be against anyone foolish enough to rely on reflexes and not sound fundamentals to defend against his attack.
Proksa isn’t a bad fighter and he’s likely not done. He’s just not on Golovkin’s level. He merits praise for the bottom he showed in getting off the deck and firing back, but sometimes a truck is coming down the path and getting run over is all that remains.
Golovkin, already 30, need not waste time. He needs to remain active and visible. His talent is obvious. Now he needs to expand his presence to make sure getting bigger names into the trucking lane is a matter of market mandate.
One option, at least based on WBA edicts, could be Daniel Geale. Geale went on the road and pulled off the biggest win of his career in upending Felix Sturm in a crowd-pleasing affair. When two fighters lack finishing power, excitement often relies on volume.
Geale and Sturm let them fly.
Sturm got off to a nice start in the first couple rounds before both men started trading momentum. Geale looked like he won the fifth through the seventh. Sturm roared back from eight through ten. Much hinged on how one saw the last two rounds. Both men made a case. Geale’s was stronger. While this card saw Geale-Sturm level, it was the sort of fight where 8-4 swings were reasonable both ways.
Geale gets credit for the most hurtful moments of the fight. His body attack had Sturm withering in key spots. He went head hunting for a bit and let Sturm back in the fight, but remembered the ribs when it counted. Geale has two belts, both won on the road in Germany. That’s not easy.
Sturm gets credit for enduring, reminding fans of the toughness he has. Sturm has received some iffy decisions in recent vintage, but they came in good fights. He has been in more than his share of them. For all the criticism Sturm merits for going years without pushing to face any of the division’s true champions (Bernard Hopkins, Jermain Taylor, Kelly Pavlik, and now Sergio Martinez), he’s typically fought hard in the ring. Geale can attest.
Now the question is where Geale goes from here. He earned the right to challenge the winner of the lineal Middleweight contest between Martinez and challenger (and yes, he’s the challenger even with Uncle Jose’s green belt) Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. He has obligations to face Golovkin from the WBA.
He’s an underdog either way and could look for another angle. Let’s hope not. Geale is a fun fighter who finds ways to win and a welcome part of the mix.
Report Card Picks 2012: 40-14
Middleweight: Geale moves to the top contender’s slot with his rousing win while Sturm drops to third. Normally, given such a close fight, he might only have fallen a single spot but Golovkin was too impressive to deny. Golovkin goes to #2 and, let’s be honest, there’s probably no one in the top ten he wouldn’t be favored over. However, with three quality wins over Roman Karmazin, Sebastian Sylvester, and now Sturm, the latter two on the road, Geale deserves the benefit of the doubt on winning merit.
Flyweight: Moruti Mthalane kept his IBF belt and his rating but, by all accounts, it was hell to do it. Mthalane and Ricardo Nunez traded knockdowns in a reported scorcher before Mthalane scored the stop.
Strawweight: In as shocking a result as one could have imagined going into the weekend, and in what is probably the second biggest upset of the year behind Sonny Boy Jaro-Pongsaklek Wonjongkam, unheralded Mario Rodriguez knocked out Nkosinathi Joyi to win a belt at 105. Rodriguez enters the ratings high while Joyi drops a slot after a quality run. A rematch may be in order.
The full results of note and impact on the ratings are a click away.
Cliff Rold is the Managing Editor of BoxingScene and a member of the Yahoo Pound for Pound voting panel and the Boxing Writers Association of America. He can be reached at [email protected]