Ringside Report for Gennady "GGG" Golovkin vs Marco Antonio Rubio
A Star Was Born
Last Saturday in Carson, California at the StubHub Center this author along with a sold out standing room only crowd of thousands in attendance witnessed the end of one era and the beginning of two new ones. Nonito "The Filipino Flash" Donaire (33-3 with 21 KO's) succumbed to the brutal knockout power and underrated boxing skills of Nicholas "Axe Man" Walters (25-0 with 21 KO's) in the 6th round. In the WBA Featherweight title fight, Donaire got off to a decent start even stunning Walters in round two with his signature left hook before suffering a flash knockdown at the end of round three. By round four Walters had begun to slowly seize control of the fight and it was simply a case of whether Donaire's grit and chin would enable him to make it to the final bell somehow or sustain a brutal beating. The end came very late in the 6th round when the Jamaican slipped a left from the Filipino and landed a bomb of a right hand to the side of Donaire's head and down he went. Upon rising on very unsteady legs, referee Raul Caiz Jr. elected to stop the fight at 2:59 of the round.
Walters was ultra classy in victory during the post fight interview and ingratiated himself even to a "Filipino Flash" superfan seated right behind me. It was a sad sight to see an equally classy man who as recently as 18 months ago was the third best boxer pound for pound in the world get destroyed by a young lion after being thoroughly outboxed last year by a Cuban technical genius named Guillermo Rigondeaux. Much has been talked about vis-a-vis Donaire's apathetic attitude towards boxing in the last couple years and perhaps it's time to hang them up. There's no shame in losing to a great boxer in Rigondeaux or a potential future great in Walters but losing interest in a brutal sport only leads to more brutal beatings.
As for the 28 year old Walters, the future looks quite bright. A knockout artist with very good boxing skills and a classy disposition sounds like a great recipe for success. Future big fights with Vasyl Lomachenko and the aforementioned Rigondeaux who would need to move up from 122 pounds could be on the horizon in the next year or two. No doubt, the fans would love to see a triangle scenario with those three!
From Little Dipper to Big Dipper
After witnessing the birth of a star in Nicholas Walters, the crowd awaited the arrival of an even bigger star and potential future superstar/pay-per-view attraction nicknamed "GGG". As I looked around while his opponent Marco Antonio Rubio from Coahuila de Zaragoza, Mexico made his ring walk, I was in awe of what I saw. Thousands of predominantly Mexican American boxing fans were actually booing him! I didn't expect them to shout as loud for Rubio as Golovkin, but it was a rather shocking sight and a testament to the star power of GGG and the adoration fight fans in general have for knockouts to see Mexicans rooting against their own ilk. Witnessing Mexican Americans rooting for an Eastern European white guy to knock out a Mexican was analogous to seeing African Americans root for Rocky to knock out Clubber Lang. It was surreal to say the least.
By the time that Golovkin (31-0 with 28 KO's) made his intentionally long ring walk circling the crowd, the place was absolutely popping. There wasn't an empty seat in the house, and this author was told that extra bleachers had been installed to accommodate the strong demand to witness the beast from the east. After Gennady entered the ring, the crowd went into a deafening frenzy screaming "GGG! GGG! GGG!" Knowing that in a matter of minutes his unfortunate opponent Marco Antonio Rubio (59-7-1 with 51 KO's) would be in serious trouble and horizontal on the canvas, perhaps they should have been shouting "AAA! AAA! AAA!"
The first round saw Golovkin (whose style is a hybrid of Joe Louis and Julio Cesar Chavez Senior) come out as usual landing hard lefts and rights while applying suffocating pressure. Rubio was game as he didn't look to run and even landed a couple decent shots which had no effect on Golovkin. At the end of the first, Gennady landed a hard right hand that seemed to stun Rubio slightly. Going into the fight and after the first three minutes, I was of the belief that Rubio would be sturdy enough to last at least to the 5th or 6th round but I was soon about to be wrong, dead wrong. In round two, a hard right hand and a vicious left uppercut hurt Rubio badly as he staggered backwards before being hit with a heavy, overhand clubbing left to the temple that dropped the Mexican warrior. Showing heart that is consistent with so many Mexican boxers, Rubio attempted to make the count but couldn't quite do so and became knockout victim number 28 and the 18th in a row for the killer from Kazakhstan.
Golovkin On a Collision Course with Ward
Now that Golovkin has made the 12th defense of his Middleweight title tying all time great Marvelous Marvin Hagler for third all time, he is breathing down the neck of two other legends in Argentinian Carlos Monzon (14 defenses) and the still active ageless marvel Bernard Hopkins (20 defenses). Word is that GGG will be facing the formidable Brit Martin Murray in February of 2015 should Murray get past his 10/25 opponent Domenico Spada in Monte Carlo, Monaco. After that fight, there is a good chance that he will face the winner of a proposed spring superfight between current linear Middleweight champion Miguel Cotto and Mexican superstar Saul "Canelo" Alvarez. Should Golovkin win that fight and go on to defeat pound for pound #2 great, future first ballot Hall of Famer Andre Ward (if he ever elects to face an opponent in the ring and not inside a courtroom) he will have reached legendary, all-time great status in the anals of boxing history.
A matchup with the linear Super Middleweight champ Andre "SOG" Ward (27-0 with 14 KO's) is one that absolutely has to happen. It's a classic matchup between a brutal boxer/puncher and a master boxer both at the top of their game and one that would certainly be a pivotal legacy win for either boxer. It appears that team GGG wishes to partake in a superfight against a proven PPV attraction such as Cotto or Canelo (if he were to defeat the Puerto Rican star next year) and possibly Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. before maneuvering him into a very dangerous fight against Ward who isn't as big of a draw but a much bigger risk.
After the fight, a fan asked Max Kellerman (who incidentally was the last HBO employee to leave and could not have been more gracious and accommodating to the fans who demanded he answer question after question and partake in picture after picture) about Golovkin's talent. "Golovkin would correctly be the favorite against any opponent 175 pounds and below EXCEPT Ward". Andre Ward may be the slight betting favorite in that fight, but there is no question that unless it takes place in Oakland, the sentimental favorite will be Golovkin. We are potentially three fights away from "SOG" vs "GGG". It can't possibly come soon enough!