By Keith Idec
NEW YORK – As dominant as Gennady Golovkin was Saturday night, Bernard Hopkins didn’t see invincibility from his ringside seat at Madison Square Garden.
In fact, Hopkins suspects that fighters in multiple weight classes came away from Golovkin’s ninth-round technical knockout victory over David Lemieux more confident about their ability to knock off the Kazakh knockout artist.
“I think a lot of middleweights,” Hopkins said, “maybe super middleweights and maybe junior middleweights looked at this and were seeing something that they can exploit, in spite of the win of by the champion. Lemieux was out-gunned at the end, but sometimes you can leave a blueprint.
“Whether you think Oscar [De La Hoya] won or lost against Tito [Trinidad], I saw something in that fight. I saw vulnerabilities [in Trinidad]. People say, ‘How can you look at something a guy did wrong when he won?’ We all do something wrong, but can our opponent capitalize on it so it’s exposed? So I think after [Saturday night], there may be a few fighters licking their chops.”
Hopkins didn’t specify exactly what potential opponents could exploit against Golovkin (34-0, 31 KOs), the interim WBC/WBA/IBF middleweight champion who has won 21 consecutive bouts by knockout or technical knockout. Two fighters – Andre Ward and Canelo Alvarez – immediately came to the former middleweight and light heavyweight champion’s mind, though.
Alvarez obviously has to win a very difficult fight against Puerto Rican icon Miguel Cotto (40-4, 33 KOs) on Nov. 21 in Las Vegas before an Alvarez-Golovkin fight would become a realistic possibility for 2016. If Alvarez (45-1-1, 32 KOs) overcomes Cotto, however, Hopkins is certain he’ll give Golovkin a much better fight than Montreal’s Lemieux (34-3, 31 KOs).
“His style is totally different from Lemieux,” said Hopkins, a partner in Golden Boy Promotions, which promotes Lemieux and Alvarez. “His punches are crisper and sharper. He’s been at the big stage with Floyd Mayweather, and I think he learned greatly from that. I think he’ll see this fight and understand that he has to have discipline through a whole 12 rounds of fighting. I see him being a better boxer who can take Triple-G into deep waters and frustrate him.”
Hopkins doesn’t think Golovkin would seriously consider moving up for a fight with Ward until he “cleans out the middleweight division.” But if it ever occurs, Hopkins would favor Ward.
“Andre Ward would confuse him, frustrate him,” Hopkins said. “You’ve got one straight-up guy and you’ve got one guy who knows how to be on angles, knows how to spin and can crack, and has got nice size to him. He’s not a big, tall guy, but Andre has enough power to make you respect him. Andre is an all-around fighter with an Olympic pedigree.”
Keith Idec covers boxing for The Record and Herald News, of Woodland Park, N.J., and BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.