Who Can Beat Gennady Golovkin?

Gennady Golovkin

By Gabe Rivas

As his third-round knockout of Matthew Macklin demonstrates, Gennady Golovkin (27-0, 24 KOs) is a top fighter. However, as his competition gets tougher, will anyone be able to stop him?

In a recent interview with Lance Pugmire of the Los Angeles Times, Golovkin and his trainer Abel Sanchez revealed that they “altered his stand-up style and converted to more of a brawler after Sanchez showed him videos of legendary Mexican warrior Julio Cesar Chavez Sr.”

In order to make a name for himself and to draw in American audiences, Golovkin took cues from one of the greatest Mexican boxers of all time.

Golovkin certainly has the amateur pedigree to pull it off, with over three hundred fights before beginning his professional career. His unusual strength and ability to walk through nearly everyone he has fought also helps.

However, if we look at both Golovkin and Chavez Sr., we can see the kind of qualities needed to combat their style.

One of the only fighters to ever give Chavez Sr. a tough time in the ring—in one of the most controversial decisions in boxing history—is Pernell Whitaker.

Whitaker’s footwork, defense, and ability to take a punch, proved to be too much of a puzzle for Chavez Sr. to implement his game plan successfully.

For Golovkin, one of the only fighters to make it past the sixth round with him is Gabriel Rosado (21-6, 13 KOs). Rosado’s chin and footwork allowed him to make it past the sixth round.

However, because of his lack of defense, Rosado’s chin eventually proved to be harmful. It allowed him to take more punishment until his corner threw in the towel.

Golovkin said he was not at one hundred percent in his post-fight interview, but his style does make it harder to hit a moving target. To beat Golovkin, one would need to have better footwork and better defense than Gabriel Rosado.

It is clear, after looking at some of the top-ten middleweights in the world that Golovkin’s biggest challenge would be the legitimate Middleweight champion of the world, Sergio Martinez (58-2, 28 KOs).

Peter Quillin (29-0, 21 KOs) and Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. (46-1, 32 KOs) are also big names that will draw attention, but their styles make for an easy target for a man who has a knockout percentage of nearly 90%.

Quillin is powerful and would have a reach advantage, but his experience won’t match up to Golovkin’s amateur and professional background.

Chavez Jr.’s trouble with discipline will hurt him against an opponent of Golovkin’s caliber, although it would make for an exciting fight.

A fight with Martinez would help Golovkin establish himself as the real Middleweight champion and erase any doubts about the merits of his increasing popularity. Then again, a win for Martinez could help establish his legacy, seeking retirement as the undisputed Middleweight champion.

His footwork, defense, and speed might allow him to win a decision. But, by the time Martinez fights Golovkin—which might happen late next year—he will be 39. His fight with Murray shows us that he is slowing down.

Golovkin’s winning streak is unlikely to end in the near future unless someone with the aforementioned abilities can take him into the championship rounds for a decision. So far it looks like Martinez is the only one.


Gabe Rivas is a contributing writer for Round By Round Boxing. He is a student, tutor, assistant trainer, and self-proclaimed “half-assed boxer.” Follow him on Instagram @GabeRivas03.

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