By Cliff Rold
Sergio Martinez remains history’s Middleweight king.
Doesn’t it feel like a formality more and more every time Gennady Golovkin steps into a ring?
With his sixteenth knockout in a row, 11 of them in eleven title fights (including his interim WBA belt win), Golovkin is a terror. Sure, there isn’t a depth of ‘top contenders’ on his ledger but there has been plenty on the borderline.
Case in point: Osumanu Adama.
Let’s go the report cards.
Pre-Fight: Speed – Golovkin B; Adama B/Post: Same
Pre-Fight: Power – Golovkin A; Adama B/Post: A+; Adama B
Pre-Fight: Defense – Golovkin B; Adama B/Post: B+; Adama B-
Pre-Fight: Intangibles – Golovkin A; Adama B/Post: Same
Adama wasn’t on anyone’s top ten Middleweights list coming in but as a point of comparison-shopping it was another impressive performance for Golovkin. Adama went the route in a title shot against Daniel Geale and showed a little of why on Saturday.
He’s a tough guy. He’s got the guts to get up. He’d never been stopped.
None of that mattered. Golovkin had him down early and then again with a vicious, short left hand. Adama made it to the seventh but the fight was already over and referee Luis Pabon pulled the trigger at the right time.
Golovkin showed how his game continues to evolve in the bout. His head movement is subtle but improving and his use of space is excellent. He timed Adama and was able to keep from getting tagged when the Ghanaian fired back. Golovkin is one of the few guys who knows how to cut off a ring. He’s not quite a Duran or Julio Cesar Chavez but he applies the steady pressure of a Felix Trinidad while trapping better with his feet.
We await elite opponents to see just how good it can be but anyone who doesn’t think this is already an elite fighter is fooling themselves. He’s there.
The opponents will come.
Will Martinez be one of them?
That’s the big question at Middleweight. Martinez is set for an earned cash out in a winnable showdown with Miguel Cotto. If he wins, and even the fighter who beat Martin Murray should, there should be no excuse. There’s no reason to think a Mayweather payday is realistic for Martinez right now.
A mandatory defense against Marco Rubio would be an insult to his lineal crown. Yeah, WBC…whatever. At his age, Martinez can save the money on the fee.
His number one contender is Gennady Golovkin. That is THE fight at 160 lbs. Joe Louis once said Billy Conn could run but not hide. Any attempt after Cotto to run from Golovkin should be pilloried.
Martinez has been a solid champion and delivered some fine fights. If Golovkin does not follow Cotto, it will stain an honorable reign.
If Golovkin can’t get that fight, then a move to Super Middleweight needs to come sooner than later.
Let’s hope the wait proves worth it sometime in the fall.
Report Card Picks 2014: 6-2
Cliff Rold is the Managing Editor of BoxingScene, a founding member of the Transnational Boxing Rankings Board, and a member the Yahoo Pound for Pound voting panel, and the Boxing Writers Association of America. He can be reached at [email protected]