By Jake Donovan
Regardless of the validity of the title strap he carries around, Gennady Golovkin served notice as a middleweight threat after flattening the normally durable LaJuan Simon inside of a round Friday evening in Dusseldorf, Germany.
Both fighters were well within the middleweight limit, in fact both coming in at career-low weights. Golovkin was 158.5 lb for the third defense of his alphabet title, while Simon was 156.5 lb. for his second crack at middleweight hardware.
The ending was as sudden as it was shocking. Golovkin has racked up his share of early knockouts, but against substandard completion. Simon had never been stopped prior to the evening, including going all 12 rounds with hard-hitting Arthur Abraham two years ago when the Armenian still served as an unbeaten middleweight champ.
Logic flew out the window in this bout, a makeshift main event for a card that was to be originally topped by Wladimir Klitschko’s lineal heavyweight title defense against former cruiserweight champ Jean-Marc Mormeck. Klitschko withdrew after succumbing to a battle with kidney stones, prompting event handlers to move the undercard to another venue and bumped up a day early.
Golovkin was more than prepared to make a statement for whenever the bout was scheduled. He proved so from the opening bell in this fight, never shying away from the aggressive Simon who fought the only way he knows how – charging forward, hoping to land.
The strategy played perfectly into Golovkin’s hands, who sat back and countered whenever the American came rushing in. The weapon of choice in the early going was a counter right, which Golovkin consistently dropped over the top of Simon’s lazy jab.
While the right hands proved to be effective, it was the left hook in which Golovkin would hit paydirt. A counter left hook shook Simon, moving him into position to be left open for the knockout blow. A sneak left hook on the inside put Simon down and out, with referee Jose Martinez of Spain waving off the fight without a count.
The official time was 2:17 of the opening round.
Golovkin advances to 22-0 (19KO) with the win, while Simon falls to 23-4-2 (12KO) in suffering his second straight loss. All four of his career defeats have come within his last six fights, dating back to the aforementioned title challenge against Abraham in March ’09.
Where exactly Golovkin goes from here depends on which road map he is next asked to follow. A 2004 Olympic Silver medalist for his native Kazakhstan, Golovkin now has a number of options ahead of him as he continues to build a fan base in his adopted homeland of Germany.
Sharing his status as a WBA middleweight titlist are fellow Germany-based veteran Felix Sturm and Hassan N’Dam N’Jikan of France. Sturm’s latest title reign has been littered by controversial decisions, while N’Dam N’Jikan hasn’t fought since winning an interim version of the belt earlier this year.
A dream fight for Golovkin would be current lineal middleweight champion Sergio Martinez, but the economics behind making that fight a reality could be too costly for any network to actively pursue. Unification bouts with fellow titlists Dmitry Pirog and Daniel Geale fall under the same category.
A showdown with Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. is highly unlikely unless he’s prepared to join Top Rank and can prove to be every bit as lucrative for them as is currently the second-generation Mexican star.
Somewhere out there awaits a sufficient challenge for Golovkin, who has made it look easy ever since turning pro in 2006. Wherever and whenever that moment takes place, the unbeaten titlist will undoubtedly be ready, willing and able to further prove his worth.
In the televised opener, unbeaten middleweights Vladimir Schipizin and Toni Camin fought to a six-round draw in a fight that never went anywhere.
What little action took place suggested that Schizipin (5-0-1, 4KO) should’ve been given the nod, but the truth is that neither fighter deserved the decision, since both spent the entire bout fighting as if they were apologizing to each other.
Camin (6-0-2, 4KO) had won six straight heading in, but suffers his first draw since his home debut.
Despite withdrawing from the show, Klitschko was on hand in attendance to receive award in being recognized as Germany’s Fighter of the Year. During his speech, he explained his regret in pulling out of the fight, but also suggested the possibility of the perceived mismatch to be rescheduled.
Jake Donovan is the Managing Editor of Boxingscene.com. Follow Jake on Twitter @JakeNDaBox or submit questions/comments to [email protected]