Martinez, not Golovkin, is the middleweight for Mayweather

By Lyle Fitzsimmons

There are a lot of reasons people criticize Floyd Mayweather Jr.

Some question the quality of his opposition. Others claim he ducked Manny Pacquiao. And still more aren’t fond of the flashy, brash persona – whether in the ring or out.

At least two of the three border on idiocy. And as for the third, I couldn’t care less so long as he remains as unlikely to date my daughter as I am to reach the welterweight limit.

To these eyes, he’s the best of his generation and one capable of providing a challenging night to anyone who’s ever graced the 24-pound range in which he’s won five title belts.

So it makes me laugh when I hear contention that there are still giants who need to be slain before his legacy is considered anywhere near the level either he or I believe it warrants.

To me, if he retires tomorrow, he’s done everything that’s required of an all-time great.

Beat a legit champ to get a belt at 130 (Diego Corrales)… check.

Beat a legit champ to get a belt at 135 (Jose Luis Castillo)… check.

Beat a legit champ to get a belt at 140 (Arturo Gatti)… check.

Beat a legit champ to get a belt at 147 (Carlos Baldomir, Victor Ortiz)… check.

Beat a legit champ to get a belt at 154 (Oscar De La Hoya, Miguel Cotto)… check.

Still, the latest of the “he ain’t done nothing unless he fights…” guys is Gennady Golovkin, who made himself part of the discussion last Saturday night in Mashantucket, Conn. after obliterating a game-but-outweaponed Matthew Macklin in less than 8 minutes.

Within hours, because the fan-friendly Kazakhstan native made it known he fancies sharing a ring with Mayweather, he became the latest flavor of the month for the crowd that’s pined for years for “Money” to come up short against an opponent… any opponent.

For the record, because he’s 44-0 in parts of three decades, it’s clearly an unsatisfied crowd.

But the suggestion of Golovkin as a litmus test is about as silly as it gets, even for them.

First off, let’s look at the numbers.

While “GGG” is clearly a nice fighter and a throwback to an age where violence mattered more than viewership, let’s not forget that the guy he so convincingly beat last weekend has now come up short in three career title fights – two of which have ended inside the scheduled distance.

So with all due respect to a pretty tough Englishman, beating a guy on the level of Macklin hardly qualifies as a prerequisite for Canastota – unless, that is, everyone’s good with Felix Sturm and Jamie Moore further watering down walls already flooded by some recent inductions.

Before Macklin, Golovkin’s four title defenses since 2011 had combined for 20 losses entering their matches with him. To reach the same number of Ls with Mayweather’s foes, you’d have to go back to 2006. And while Shane Mosley and Juan Manuel Marquez provide nine of Floyd’s 20, with Golovkin you get eight from Nobuhiro Ishida alone, not to mention six more from Makoto Fuchigami.

If you were looking for a guy to make Canelo Alvarez’s resume look beefier, you’ve found him.

Then, of course, there’s the whole question of size.

Notwithstanding the claim that he’ll willingly drop pounds to make the match, the Golovkin reality through today is that he’s never weighed-in at less than 158 for any of his 27 fights, while Mayweather’s never been more than 151 in 44 tries – and fought 14 times at 130 or below.

And though I concede the welter to middle thing was done rather famously by a guy named Leonard, he hadn’t started his career three weight classes below 147. So, rather than simply skipping one division to get to 160, asking him to do the same thing Mayweather somehow “needs” to do would have necessitated a mid-80s match with Michael Spinks, not Marvin Hagler.

Last I heard, Ray doesn’t get a lot of flak for not making that happen.

To top it all off, the real truth is that – until he fights a certain Argentine who’d already KO’d the very same Macklin 15 months earlier – Golovkin’s not even the most credible of the middleweight champs.

While wins over Gabriel Rosado and Kassim Ouma are respectable enough, they don’t at all compare to a decision over reigning kingpin Kelly Pavlik and a one-punch elimination of Paul Williams, both of which have been accomplished by one Sergio Martinez.

Add to it that Martinez – who started at 147 and has an old 154-pound belt at home, too – is much closer in dimension to Mayweather and you actually have a fight that might make some sense to discuss before either man takes too many steps closer to retirement.

If he beat Golovkin, the critics would say Mayweather needs to fight Sergio.

But if he beats Martinez, there’d be nothing left to criticize.

*  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *

This week’s title-fight schedule:

Vacant IBO lightweight title – Northbridge, Australia
Daud Cino Yordan (No. 21 contender) vs. Daniel Eduardo Brizuela (No. 31 contender)
Yordan (30-3, 23 KO): Fifth title fight (2-2); Held IBO title at 126 pounds (2011-13, two defenses)
Brizuela (25-1-2, 8 KO): First title fight; First fight outside Argentina
Fitzbitz says: “It’s a significant move up in weight for a former featherweight title claimant, but his opposition here doesn’t match what he’s already been in with.” Yordan by decision
Vacant IBO super bantamweight title – East London, South Africa
Thabo Sonjica (No. 29 contender) vs. Sylvester Lopez (No. 34 contender)
Sonjica (17-2, 12 KO): First title fight; Lost two of three fights scheduled for 12 rounds
Lopez (20-5-2, 15 KO): Second title fight (0-1); One win in last four fights (1-2-1)
Fitzbitz says: “South African youngster has been starched twice by the same foe. Still, he’s got more forward momentum than Filipino who seems far above his prime weight.” Sonjica by decision

NOTE: Fights previewed are only those involving a sanctioning body's full- fledged title-holder -- no interim, diamond, silver, etc. Fights for WBA "world championships" are only included if no "super champion" exists in the weight class.

Last week’s picks: 1-1
2013 picks record: 36-24 (60.0 percent)
Overall picks record: 499-176 (73.9 percent)

Lyle Fitzsimmons has covered professional boxing since 1995 and written a weekly column for Boxing Scene since 2008. He is a full voting member of the Boxing Writers Association of America. Reach him at [email protected] or follow him on Twitter – @fitzbitz.

User Comments and Feedback (Register For Free To Comment) Comment by I Love Jesus! on 07-06-2013

I love it when the Mayweather ball shining squad tries to make it seem like Floyd fought Mosley fresh of his Margarito win like it was 4 months later conveniently leaving out the fact that it was 1 1/2 years…

Comment by HeroBando on 07-06-2013

[QUOTE=Light_Speed;13535021]I see a lot of Pacquiao fanboys (not knowledgeable Pac fans) talking about cherry picking which is very funny considering the Pac-Mosley and Pac-Margarito fights were blatant cherry picks. Or Pac fighting the weakest lightweight champ David Diaz and then…

Comment by Light_Speed on 07-06-2013

I see a lot of Pacquiao fanboys (not knowledgeable Pac fans) talking about cherry picking which is very funny considering the Pac-Mosley and Pac-Margarito fights were blatant cherry picks. Or Pac fighting the weakest lightweight champ David Diaz and then…

Comment by micky1971 on 07-06-2013

yes that is true, fmj has beaten all of those legitimate champs at the right times and more.... however, talk of a one fight wonder "triple g" who has beaten a domestic fighter like matthew macklin just because hes trained…

Comment by ADP02 on 07-06-2013

Terrible article ..... it has "I'm a Floyd fan" written all over it. Keeping in line with the subject: I have an idea, Martinez vs Golovkin ..... winner takes on Floyd.

Post a Comment - View More User Comments (217)
Top Headlines Scott Quigg Makes Featherweight Debut on Anthony Joshua Card Pacquiao vs. Vargas Lands on BoxNation Katie Taylor Inks Promotional With Eddie Hearn, Pro Debut Set Oscar De La Hoya: 2016 is Maybe The Worst Year For Boxing Roach: I Don't Think Andre Ward is The Fighter He Used To Be Video: Freddie Roach Talks Golovkin, Kovalev vs. Ward, More Manny Pacquiao, Freddie Roach Have Retirement Pact in Place Video: Justin Fortune Discusses The Heavyweight Division Juan Manuel Lopez vs. Wilfredo Vazquez Jr: Sure, Why Not Video: Bob Arum Talks Schaefer, Trump, King, UFC, More Arum: I Would NEVER Do Pacquiao vs. Golovkin - It Was a Joke! Video: Manny Pacquiao Putting in Work For Vargas Title Clash Video: Freddie Roach on Thurman-Garcia, Lebedev-Gassiev, More Mason Menard's Fight Now Off Due To Bookkeeping Issue Molina Still Wants Danny Garcia Fight: He Has Holes in His Armor Video: Manny Pacquiao Talks Camp, Retirement, Vargas, More Demetrius Andrade Very Motivated as Jack Culcay Clash Nears Photos: Manny Pacquiao Putting in Work at Wild Card Gym Canelo Says The Ball is in Golovkin's Court: Accept The Offer! Ricardo Mayorga Crashes Into Taxi, Pursued For 200K in Damages Canelo Eager To Prove WBO Prez's Prediction of Mayweather KO Vences: A Win Over Casey Ramos Will Open A lot of Doors For Me Photos: Juanma, Vazquez Explode in Very Tense Final Presser Ustinov's Manager Expects WBA To Order Klitschko Title Fight Premier Boxing Champions Reveal Season 3 Schedule Helenius Faces Basile on 12/17, Chisora Rematch Eyed For March Arthur Abraham Shelved For Three Weeks Due To Elbow Injury SHO's Espinoza: Mayweather Won't Even Joke About Ring Return Curtis Stevens-De La Rosa Added To PPV Portion of Kovalev-Ward Briggs Claims Haye Used His Name: He Backed Out of Our Deal Cuellar Vows To Take Mares Out - Targets Frampton, Santa Cruz Klitschko: No Retirement, Joshua Fight Will Be Biggest in Years Wilfredo Vazquez Jr: Juanma Repulses Me, I Will Knock Him Out! Jarrett Hurd vs. Jo Jo Dan Set, Jorge Cota is Now Out Badou Jack Thinks Ward-Kovalev is 50-50, Leans Ward With Pick De La Hoya Not Concerned With The Return of Richard Schaefer Andre Ward: Kovalev Won't Bully Me - He Tires, He Gets Frustrated Arum: Trump Thought of Andy Ruiz When He Said 'Bad Hombre' Tino Avila Wants To Dominate Ramirez, Fight For Title in 2017 Molina: Look at My Wilder Fight, I'll Raise Hell Against Joshua!

Latest Active Forum Threads