Former American President, Franklin D Roosevelt, once insisted that there was ‘nothing to fear, but fear itself’ in his First Inaugural Address to the American public.
If Roosevelt was alive now, and happened to be at Madison Square Garden last Saturday night, his famous statement would probably read something like ‘there is nothing to fear, but fear itself. And Golovkin’
For Gennady Golovkin is the most feared man in boxing right now. Perhaps he is the most avoided fighter in middleweight history.
Yet in the eyes of the boxing public, the 31 year old knockout artist from Kazakhstan is simply irresistible. We want Golovkin, and we want him now. The pity is that the most pre-eminent prizefighters in the sport share a vastly different opinion than the paying public.
If Golovkin is a fans dream, then he is a fighter’s nightmare.
The great paradox is that as his popularity among fans continues to rise precipitously with each eye catching performance, his appeal to other fighters plummets with each and every punishing blow.
The effusive praise he receives from the adoring boxing public must be of comfort to him. However, in private, Golovkin and his camp must have serious concerns that his tremendous talent will never get the recognition it really deserves, due to the fact that all the biggest names seem to be so reluctant to step up to the plate and face him the ring.
Their reticence is not without reason though. For the rewards of fighting ‘GGG’ are far outweighed by the risks he presents.
Miguel Cotto, who by virtue of dethroning former WBC champion and long time middleweight king Sergio Martinez, is now considered the lineal middleweight champion. Therefore he is the logical choice as Golovkin’s next opponent.
But why would the Puerto Rican legend risk his newly acquired title and his long term health when he has far more lucrative, far less dangerous, dancing partners to choose from? A unification contest with Golovkin would be like a cyanide pill to Cotto’s career at the top level because it is almost certain to end in a crushing defeat.
Anyone with even a modicum of knowledge about the sport knows that boxing is a business first, and a sport second. Especially for big name fighters such as Cotto, who in the twilight of their careers seek ‘cash-out fights’; bouts designed to maximize their bank balance but minimize the risk of physical danger.
Asking Cotto to engage Golovkin in combat instead of Canelo would be like saying to a veteran news reporter, ‘we will give you $1million if you cover the conflict in Gaza on the ground or, we will give you $10million to do it within the confines of our comfortable studio’. What option would you take? Cotto could potentially break P-P-V records in a fight with Canelo, whereas he probably only break his bones in a battle with Golovkin.
The same analogy can also be applied to Canelo. Why would Saul Alvarez answer the call to arms of Golovkin- a middleweight killing machine in his prime, when he can easily make many more millions fighting an aging warhorse like Miguel Cotto, who is, at best, a natural 154lb fighter?
For Golovkin, the only way is up. Despite the fact that the WBA/IBO middleweight champion has stated that he could comfortably make 154lb, he will be forced climb up the weight classes in search of a super fight. Still, even at super-middleweight the task of enticing the big names into battle doesn’t look much easier.
Even Carl Froch, who prides himself on taking on all-comers, approaches the topic of a tussle with Golovkin with uncharacteristic trepidation. His promoter Eddie Hearn has been quick to pour cold water on the claims of people who make a case for Carl Froch risking his WBA and IBF titles in an encounter with Golovkin by insisting there is not enough money in the fight.
The iron-chinned Cesar Chavez Jnr, who along with Carl Froch, may be one of the only fighters who has the capacity to cope with the concussive power of Triple G, is a possible opponent for Golovkin in the future. But for the time being there are certain promotional issues with Top Rank that means this monster match up may have to be put on ice for a while.
That leaves Andre Ward. If anyone needs a super fight to reignite his ailing career it is the self confessed ‘Son of God’. Ward’s prime years seem to be going down the drain due to his promotional dispute with Dan Goosen, his inactivity, and his inability to negotiate with his own ego.
Not one for calling opponents out, it is unclear whether Ward would welcome a fight with Golovkin. But it stands to reason that he is probably better placed than anyone to shatter the aura of invincibility which cloaks Golovkin like dew on the grass of a crisp morning in May.
In boxing there is definitely more to fear, than fear itself, and that is Gennady Golovkin. Let’s hope that the fear of other fighters does not prevent Gennady Golovkin from reaching the levels his greatness his talent deserves.
That is a thought that strikes fear into this boxing fan.
Thanks for Reading. I look forward to reading your comments.
Question: Will fear of other fighters deny Golovkin the chance to be an all time Great?
Follow me on Twitter: @F1ghtingTalk