By Francisco Salazar
Daniel Geale was supposed to be the toughest and most formidable challenger to Gennady Golovkin.
You know what? He was.
He was a two-time world champion, who had the pedigree to give Golovkin problems in their scheduled twelve round bout.
Say what you want about that, but Golovkin is becoming an elite fighter who is slowly becoming the top guy in the middleweight division and a top draw in the sport.
Maybe a fight against Miguel Cotto is something that could be in his future.
Golovkin stopped Geale in the third round to retain his WBC/IBO titles before an announced crowd of 8,572 inside Madison Square Garden in New York City, N.Y. The bout headlined a K2 Promotions/ Gary Shaw Productions card.
Much has been written about Golovkin and his devastating power and his ability to score spectacular knockouts or forcing stoppages to save fighters from being severely hurt. Not to mention he has been very active in recent years, especially since his United States debut almost two years ago.
Geale has built a decent resume in recent years, despite two losses prior to facing Golovkin. Those losses were by split decision, the most-recent one at the hands of Darren Barker last August.
From the opening bell, the fight between Golovkin and Geale was fought at a modest pace. Golovkin landed a hard right hand to the head of Geale, who took the punch well.
As the both progressed in the second round, Golovkin did well enough to cut the ring off as Geale used ring generalship to move and counter. Geale bobbed and weaved as Golovkin threw, but missed with hooks and crosses aimed the head.
Any momentum Geale gained was short-lived as Golovkin dropped him with a right hand to the head 30 seconds into the second round. Geale got up and tried to fight back, finding some success.
With 20 seconds left in the third round, the end came. Geale threw a hard right hand that landed on Golovkin's face. What Geale did not expect was a huge right hand counter flying back. The impact of the punch dropped Geale flat onto his back. Geale got up, but was on wobbly legs, prompting referee Michael Ortega to wave the fight over at 2:47.
Both landed 33 power punches according to CompuBox, but it was Golovkin's punches that were more telling.
While there is the appeal of Golovkin fighting the likes of Andre Ward or Julio Cesar Chavez, Jr., that likely won't happen in 2014. Ward is locked in the courtroom with promoter Dan Goossen, while Chavez turned down a $5 million payday to fight him on July 19.
Instead, Golovkin wants to fight the best fighters in the middleweight division to unify the belts.
"I want to see who the best middleweight is," said Golovkin, who has now knocked out 18 fighters in a row. "I want unification fights to see who the best fighter is at 160 pounds."
When pressed who he would fight at 160 pounds, he offered two names.
"I will fight (Peter) Quillin or (Miguel) Cotto. I respect him. My job is just to fight."
The Kazakh-born Golovkin, who resides in Strutgart, Germany, improves to 30-0, 27 KOs. Geale, from Mount Annon, New South Wales, Australia, falls to 30-3, 16 KOs.
In the twelve round co-main event, heavyweight Bryant Jennings won a close 12 round split decision over Mike Perez. With the victory, Jennings reportedly earns a world title opportunity for next year.
The first two rounds were very tentative, as both fighters did very little to throw or engage. Perez seemed to control the action with ring generalship, not allowing Jennings to land anything flush.
The fight opened up more in the third round as Jennings opened up, throwing and landing more with right hands. The action slowed down in the fourth round, which favored Perez.
Even as Perez was dictating and landing more punches as will, Jennings began to increase his punch output. Midway through the fight, Jennings began to invest more in the body, attacking with left hooks to the body, while complimenting those with left hooks to the head. It was a smart move considering Perez weighed 242 pounds for the fight.
The move began to pay off as Perez began to tire and his punch output decreased. Sensing momentum was swinging his way, Jennings continued to pursue Perez around the ring, scoring often to the head.
As the bout progressed, the fight got sloppy, as both clenched and did not land anything flush. Perez would fight in spurts, landing an occasional uppercut or straight left hand.
With the fight in doubt in the 12th round, Perez put himself in a difficult situation. Perez threw and landed a punch while referee Harvey Dock separated the two. Dock subsequently deducted a point from Perez.
The point deduction proved vital as Jennings won by scorecards of 115-112 and 114-113, while the third judge scored the bout 114-113 for Perez.
Jennings, from Philadelphia, Penn., improves to 19-0, 10 KOs. The Cuban-born Perez, who resides in Cork, Ireland, drops to 20-1-1, 12 KOs.