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How popular is GGG?

07 Oct
Photo by Ray Flores

Photo by Ray Flores

With Manny Pacquiao and Floyd Mayweather approaching twilight of their respective careers sweet science is looking for new stars and new heroes. Could current middleweight champion from Kazakhstan, Gennady Golovkin become a cross over star?  HBO executives bank on it. They have been featuring Golovkin’s fights on HBO since September of 2012 when he stopped rugged Gregorz Proksa in five rounds. Every fight since resulted in a knock out.

Now I enjoy watching the likes of Floyd Mayweather and Bernard Hopkins apply their craft in the ring, but I would prefer violence and a knock out every time. There is something mystical about a knock out when in the heat of battle a man can strike his adversary with such a force that renders him unable to stand upright. Everyone loves a knock out. People love Mike Tyson. They didn’t care what he said or what he did outside the ring, as long as he came inside with his black shorts and no socks and knocked somebody out. They didn’t mind paying hefty pay per view fees even when he knocked Mike Spinks out in the very first round. Everyone loves a knock out.

Gennady Gennadievich Golovkin, also known as GGG produces knock outs. His professional record consists of 30 wins, no defeats and 27 wins by a knock out. That’s ninety percent knock out ratio. In fact, last seventeen of Golovkin’s opponents did not get to hear the final bell. When I asked which was the toughest fight of his professional career, Gennady told me that it is yet to come. At least on paper it was Kassim Ouma who lasted ten rounds in 2011 in Panama. In the ring Ouma put up quite a fight and Gennady’s handsome face showed signs of it. It is amazing to think that with a record of 30 professional fights and being a champion since 2010 Golovkin has never fought for twelve rounds.

But it is not just knock outs, Golovkin is a good looking guy with a kind smile. He is a humble champion who was raised by a very traditional family in Kazakhstan. He treats everyone around him with respect and makes sure he attends to every one of his fans. He is learning English at a good pace so that he can communicate with American media. He has been groomed to be a star from an early age.” He is already a star,” said legendary HBO judge, Harold Lederman.

Legends about Golovkin’s prowess started to roll downhill from Big Bear Mountain five years ago, almost as soon as he moved here to train with Abel Sanchez. “ Did you hear what that Russian guy at Big Bear did to Chavez Jr. in sparring? How about Canelo?” those were questions posed to me or:” Did you hear Golovkin knocked down a light heavy in sparring?”

My initial impression was that Abel Sanchez was running a boot camp of former Soviet Union commandos. But when I first saw Gennady in the ring sparring I had a feeling that he might be special. In contrast to most power punchers Golovkin is very relaxed; he walks around the ring as if he owns it. Two other fighters who feel at home in the ring  come to mind; Floyd Mayweather and Bernard Hopkins. These guys could go twenty rounds if necessary. That’s why Abel Sanchez is not worried about a fact that Golovkin has never fought a twelve round fight. Gennady knows how to not waste energy in the ring and could probably go as long as necessary. Golovkin also has a very good balance which allows him to be in the position to punch almost any time. His acute ring awareness along with extensive amateur background makes him a complete fighter.

Using all his skills along with debilitating power in his fists Golovkin gives fans what they want; knock outs. What’s not to like. Fans love him. His popularity has been growing. After developing a following on the East Coast Golovkin moves his show to Southern California. October 18th , middleweight unification bout with Mexican veteran, Marco Antonio Rubio at the Stub Hub Center in Carson, California marks this as Golovkin’s debut performance in Los Angeles. HBO will televise.” It’s my first fight in California, said Golovkin about a month ago during a press conference to announce their showdown:”In the future, bigger fights may be at Staples Center, may be Forum.”

Future might be sooner than later, because two weeks prior to the fight Stub Hub Center is sold out. I heard from reliable source that Gennady had difficulties getting tickets for officials from Kazakhstan who wanted to fly out here for the fight. There are no tickets unless you are willing to use scalpers or what they are called today ticket brokers. Ironically, Stub Hub, ticket broker has two tickets for sale, front row, at a premium of $2202.00 a piece.

Fans will pack Stub Hub Center on October 18th expecting a knock out. Trainer, Abel Sanchez promised this fight will not go past five rounds. Can GGG  deliver ? If so next stop will be at The Forum or Staples Center as Gennady suggested. Can Golovkin continue to sustain the hype that eventually will take him to a super stardom? Stay tuned.

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