On June 5 at Marvel Stadium in Melbourne, a feat that some never thought would occur will occur. There will be a world championship…
The boxing world has watched on in awe over the past few years as Gennady Gennadyevich Golovkin has torn apart the middleweight division, but the Kazakh-born power-punching machine now finds himself at a crossroads.
The well has run dry for the man affectionately known as ‘Triple G.’ He has simply run out of opponents of any worth in his weight class and decisions need to be made about the future path he wishes to tread.
While Golovkin has built himself a sizeable reputation during his 35 professional bouts, all but cleaning out the majority of the middleweight division and knocking out 32 opponents along the way, his latest choice of opponent has left many wondering why.
Rather than face another fringe contender in the middleweight division, Golovkin has chosen instead to face welterweight champion Kell Brook in his next fight. Ridicule has followed the announcement and a plethora of fighters have come out against such a move for the middleweight champion.
Many undoubtedly have their own agenda in remarking on the fight but such derision is not entirely unwarranted.
Newly crowned WBO super middleweight champion Gilberto Ramirez was one fighter who commented on the Golovkin-Brook match-up and he was less than impressed. In an interview with Boxing Scene, Ramirez was bemused by Golovkin’s choice of opponent.
“Triple G was criticising Canelo a lot for fighting a welterweight and now he’s doing the same thing. It doesn’t make any sense.”
Ramirez is the kind of fighter Golovkin should be looking to battle in order to further enhance his legacy. He’s a bigger champion who holds a title in a higher weight class and would provide a challenge that the undefeated champion sorely needs.
Boxing is prizefighting. These men put their bodies, and often their lives, on the line when they step into the ring and it’s certainly hard to begrudge a fighter for trying to make as much money as possible during what is usually a very short career. Fighting Kell Brook in England will undoubtedly net Golovkin a large sum of money but it also begins to erode his hard-earned reputation as a fighter.
Hunter S. Thompson, a man who often threw caution to the wind, once wrote: “Who is the happier man, he who has braved the storm of life and lived or he who has stayed securely on shore and merely existed?”
The ship that is Golovkin’s career has sailed many seas so far but has yet to face troubled waters. A storm is brewing but will Golovkin dare to brave it?
Greatness goes beyond financial earnings, popularity or mainstream adoration. It’s only after a fighter’s career is clearly in the rearview mirror that we see it for exactly what it is and it’s those who risk it all – those who brave the storm – that usually come out on top.
This is where Golovkin, a very popular champion at present, needs to ensure he doesn’t continue down this path of little risk. The Brook fight could very well be an acceptable one, provided the future holds a jump in weight for ‘Triple G.’ Beating up on men much smaller than one’s self is a surefire way to lose fans and respect in the sport of boxing.
The legacy-defining match-ups for Golovkin aren’t at his preferred weight, or in the lower classes, they lie directly north. In order to be considered among the pantheon of the greats, a fighter must have a resume of worth. Fights against other hall-of-fame level fighters are a must and right now Golovkin’s resume is lacking.
Winning a title, or titles in the super middleweight division, followed by what would be blockbuster fights with Andre Ward and Sergey Kovalev would undeniably cement his status as an all-time great.
It’s clear that fighters such as Canelo Alvarez and Daniel Jacobs have little desire to fight the fearsome puncher that is Golovkin. Rather than continue to make light work of the likes of Dominic Wade and Willie Monroe Jr, he must make that leap. The choice is now solely on Golovkin to decide if he wants to risk it all to become a legend.