by Cliff Rold
Is this where the rubber meets the road?
The sound of the Golovkin hype can be deafening…until the following question arises:
After seven years as a professional, who has he beat?
Sure, much can be said of who won’t fight Golovkin. It doesn’t matter. After a while, all that matters is results. You have to have the opponents that matter. This weekend, Golovkin has one.
Matthew Macklin has fallen short in two title fights but proved he belonged. He’s faced clearly better opposition as a professional. He’s an exceptional test spot for a fighter who many think will be the man but isn’t yet.
Seven years have built to this. If Golovkin hopes to claim the Middleweight throne all to himself by year eight, this is everything.
Let’s go to the report cards.
Titles: WBA “Non-Super” Middleweight (2010-Present, 7 Defenses)
Previous Titles: None
Weight: 159 lbs.
Average Weight – Last Five Fights: 159.35 lbs.
Hails from: Stuttgart, Germany (Born in Kazakhstan)
Record: 26-0, 23 KO
Rankings: #2 (TBRB, BoxingScene, Ring), #3 (ESPN, BoxRec)
Record in Major Title Fights: 7-0, 7 KO (8-0, 8 KO including interim title fights)
Current/Former World Champions/Titlists Faced: 1 (Kasim Ouma TKO10)
Title/Previous Titles: None
Weight: 159 lbs.
Average Weight – Last Five Fights: 159.4 lbs.
Hails from: Birmingham, West Midlands, United Kingdom
Record: 29-4, 20 KO , 2 KOBY
Rankings: #6 (TBRB, ESPN, Ring), #8 (BoxingScene, BoxRec)
Record in Major Title Fights: 0-2, 1 KOBY
Current/Former World Champions/Titlists Faced: 1 (Felix Sturm L12; Sergio Martinez RTD11; Joachim Alcine KO1)
Pre-Fight: Speed – Golovkin B; Macklin B+
Pre-Fight: Power – Golovkin A; Macklin B
Pre-Fight: Defense – Golovkin C; Macklin B-
Pre-Fight: Intangibles – Golovkin B+; Macklin B
If there is one place Macklin should see as promising, it is in the defense of Golovkin. For all his outstanding offense, Golovkin has proved relatively easy to touch so far. Kasim Ouma and Gabriel Rosado both marked him up. Macklin, at this stage, is better than either were when they faced Golovkin. He has underrated hand speed and puts punches together well. Macklin also isn’t afraid to let them go in numbers.
Where Golovkin makes up for this deficit is in the price he exacts. Sure, he can be touched and that’s an area where he can improve. To date, he’s taken it just fine and what he serves back hurts. Fourteen stoppages in a row, against even his variable levels of opposition, has not been an accident. The former Silver Medalist knows what he’s doing.
Does he know how to handle adversity should it arise? Given how much has gone his way in his career to date, a career that seems newer sometimes than it is because of its freshness to US audiences, what happens if Macklin builds a head of steam? Macklin beat Sturm, damn the scores. He gave Martinez hell before the champ pulled away. He’s a little bit due for a big win.
Then again, he’s also been stopped twice. Sure, both times came in grueling affairs, but fighters who have been stopped before tend to have trouble with genuinely murderous punchers. Golovkin looks like he is. Can Macklin handle the heat?
Macklin is good but he also is brave. His best work comes in close and that's a bad place to be with GGG. There might be some turbulence, but this should end with a thud. The pick in this fight is almost unanimous among pundits but many are predicting this to be a fight where Golovkin struggles before lowering the boom. Given Macklin’s willingness to engage, the thinking here is this style clash presents Golovkin a chance at a declarative statement. The pick is Golovkin in three.
Report Card Picks 2013: 27-15
Cliff Rold is the Managing Editor of BoxingScene and a member of the Transanational Boxing Ratings Board, the Yahoo Pound for Pound voting panel, and the Boxing Writers Association of America. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org