Gennady Golovkin made history last Friday night in breaking the record for title defenses in picking up his 21st defense with a stoppage of Kamil Szeremeta in the seventh round.
Golovkin looked like he came out of a suspended animation chamber from 2012. He hasn’t looked this good since destroying Grzegorz Proksa eight years ago.
The fight took place behind closed doors without fans at the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel and Casino in Hollywood, Florida.
Golovkin (41-1-1, 36 KOs) was defending his IBF middleweight title, and his opponent Szeremeta (21-1, 5 KOs) couldn’t stand up to his power and went down four times before it was stopped.
“I respect Kamil’s trainer and corner, they’re very smart, because, you know, he was done. Come on, guys. I felt my jab, my power, my timing,” said Golovkin after the fight.
Szeremeta was pretty much done by the fourth round, but he stayed in there and kept trying, but he wasn’t good enough.
The last straw came in the seventh when Golovkin knocked Szeremeta down with a jab. It was a good jab, but Szeremeta should have been able to take it.
However, by that point in the contest, Szeremeta looked punch drunk from being wobbled so many times. His nose was swollen and bleeding, and his footwork resembled a drunken man. Szeremeta was hurt left and right by GGG.
Of the four times Szeremeta was locked down, the second-round knockdown was by far the worse. Golovkin landed a bone-crushing right hand that caused Szeremeta to go down in a delayed reaction.
When Szeremeta got up, his equilibrium was gone, and he looked helpless. If Golovkin had gone after Szeremeta at that moment, he would have stopped him for sure.
Golovkin kept him in there and looked very obvious that he didn’t want to finish Szeremeta. The fight looked like two guys working out in the gym, and neither was trying to go all out.
Golovkin looked like he could have knocked Szeremeta out in the first round if he wanted, but he fought with a lot of patience, taking his time and breaking him down slowly.
If Golovkin gets the trilogy match against Canelo Alvarez in the first quarter of next year, he’s going to need to press the action at a much faster pace if he wants to put himself in the position to knock him out or win a decision.
“I’m open for anybody, the best opponents for me, for business, for DAZN, I’m ready,” Golovkin said. “I hope tomorrow is a great event, and may the best man win. The fans will win that one.”
You’ve got to figure that if Canelo agrees to fight GGG a third time, he’ll want to bring the fight back to Las Vegas at the T-Mobile Arena, the same venue that he’s had great luck.
The victory for IBF middleweight champion Golovkin moved him past Bernard Hopkins in the record books with 21 defenses, but they consecutive though.
For Golovkin, he was returning to the ring after a huge 14-month layoff, but he showed no signs of rust whatsoever. If anything, Golovkin looked considerably improved since his last fight against Sergiy Derevyanchenko in October.
The version of Golovkin that we saw beating the stuffing out of the Polish fighter Szeremeta would have likely been too much for Derevyanchenko.
It would have been preferable if Golovkin had fought Derevyanchenko instead of Szeremeta, but unfortunately, this is the fight that GGG wanted. His IBF mandatory wasn’t due yet, so there was no reason for Golovkin to defend against Szeremeta other than to have a nice warm-up level opponent.
Szeremeta was used by Golovkin to test how well he’s improved during his year layoff, and he did look like he’s gotten a shade better on defense.
But with that said, Golovkin still got hit, and he was facing a fighter that had never fought an upper-tier opponent during his career in 31-year-old Szeremeta.
The International Boxing Federation giving Szeremeta a #1 ranking is how empty the 160lb division is in terms of talented fighters.
In this new era, the 168-lb division is where most talented fighters are competing, and Golovkin is lagging by failing to move up in weight.
It’s a calculated move for GGG to stay at 160. By staying down at middleweight, Golovkin is extending his career because the opposition is woeful for the most part.
Demetrius Andrade is about to move up to 168, and WBC champ Jermall Charlo is expected to move up soon as well.
If Golovkin is the last left at 160, he might be able to stay world champion until he’s in his mid-40s.
But unfortunately, we’re likely to see Golovkin making a lot of title defenses against fighters with similar talent as Szeremeta or lack thereof.
Golovkin needs to move up to 168 and try his hand at fighting some of the bigger fighters in that weight class. Even if it doesn’t work out for GGG, at least he’ll have people worth fighting.