by David P. Greisman, photos by Ed Mulholland
Gennady Golovkin and Daniel Geale both came in under the 160-pound limit for Saturday night’s middleweight title fight at Madison Square Garden in New York City.
Golovkin, the defending World Boxing Association/International Boxing Organization titleholder, came in at 159.8 pounds, while Geale, a former International Boxing Federation and WBA beltholder, weighed 159.2 pounds.
Golovkin, a 32-year-old from Kazakhstan, is 29-0 with 26 KOs. This will be his fifth appearance on HBO, and his second fight of 2014. Golovkin stopped Osumanu Adama in seven rounds in February and was scheduled to return in April, only to have that fight called off after the unexpected death of his father.
Last year, Golovkin fought four times, beating Gabriel Rosado, Nobuhiro Ishida, Matthew Macklin and Curtis Stevens, all comfortably within the distance. Geale represents a step up in class of opposition.
Geale is 30-2 with 16 KOs. He picked up a world title belt at 160 pounds in 2011 with a split decision over Sebastian Sylvester, defended it with victories over Eromosele Albert and Adama, and briefly unified titles when he topped Felix Sturm by split decision in September 2012. He defended the IBF belt again with a January 2013 win over Anthony Mundine before dropping a split decision last August to Darren Barker.
The 33-year-old Australian returned this past February with a sixth-round stoppage of Garth Wood.
In the televised co-feature, heavyweight Mike Perez checked in at 242.2 pounds, while his fellow unbeaten prospect Bryant Jennings came in at 222.6 pounds.
That’s the heaviest Perez has been in several fights: he was 231.25 pounds for his draw with Carlos Takam in January 2014, 235 for his win over Magomed Abdusalamov in November 2013, 234.75 for his win over Travis Walker in May 2013, and 237 for his win over Friday Ahunanya in December 2011, according to BoxRec. The last time he was heavier than this was when he was 247.5 pounds for his November 2011 victory over Zack Page.
Jennings, conversely, as lighter than he’s been in some time. He’s been at 225 for January’s win over Artur Szpilka, 227.5 for his June 2013 win over Andrey Fedosov, 225.25 for his December 2012 win over Bowie Tupou, 230 for his September 2012 win over Chris Koval, and 225 for his June 2012 win over Steve Collins. The last time he was lighter than this was in March 2012, when he came in at 219.5 for his victory over Sergei Liakhovich.
Perez, a 28-year-old from Cuba now fighting out of Ireland, is 20-0-1 with 12 KOs. Jennings, 29, of Philadelphia, is 18-0 with 10 KOs.
As for the other undercard fights:
- Ola Afolabi, 34, of London, came in at 198.6 pounds. He is 20-3-4 with 9 KOs, and this is his second fight since his title bout loss to Marco Huck in June 2013 in the third bout of their trilogy.
His opponent, Anthony Caputo-Smith, 29, of Philadelphia, came in at 199.2 pounds. He is 15-3 with 10 KOs. He lost to BJ Flores by decision in June.
- Dusty Hernandez-Harrison, 20, of Washington, D.C., came in at 147.6 pounds. He is 22-0 with 12 KOs. This is his fourth bout of 2014.
His opponent, Wilfredo Acuna, 32, of Managua, Nicaragua, came in at 147.8 pounds. He is 15-14 with 12 KOs. His last fight was a seventh-round stoppage to Cletus “The Hebrew Hammer” Seldin in April, and he also has a recent loss via seventh-round stoppage to Chris Algieri in September 2013.
- Julian Rodriguez, 19, of Hasbrouck Heights, New Jersey, came in at 141.6 pounds. He is 3-0 with 2 KOs on the bout sheet and 4-0 with 3 KOs on BoxRec.
His opponent, Yankton Southern, 39, of Springfield, Missouri, came in at 140.6 pounds. He is 4-5 with 4 KOs but has won three in a row.
- The fight between junior middleweights Glen Tapia and Salim Larbi was called off because of an issue with Tapia’s blood test. More on that in a separate article to come.
Pick up a copy of David’s book, “Fighting Words: The Heart and Heartbreak of Boxing,” at http://bit.ly/fightingwordsamazon or internationally at http://bit.ly/fightingwordsworldwide . Send questions/comments via email at [email protected]