WBO/IBO Middleweight Champ Gennady “Triple G” Golovkin took his time on the way to his 25th victory. He took some hard shots from hard hitting Curtis “Showtime/Kryptonite” Stevens, impressing the packed house in the Theater at Madison Square Garden. The destroyer from Kazakhstan picked up his 15th straight knockout, passing yet another test to further prove he is one of the elite fighters in the division. It’s came as no surprise that he now wants to fight the lineal champ Sergio Martinez.
Triple G’s only setback came in the post-fight interview when he said Curtis never hurt him. There was a collective groan heard from the crowd, and not just from Stevens’ fans. They weren’t biting on that bit of bragging. The truth is there were some pretty tense moments in the fight, enough to keep fans on the edges of their chairs. Even while hurt, it was obvious to them Stevens remained a threat. He proved he could take a punch, coming back strong after a big Triple G left hook put him on the canvas in the second round. Stevens beat the count, but clearly was hurt and confused. He kept looking to his corner as though he wanted confirmation that he had been decked. Or, maybe he thought they could yell out some sage advice.
He gathered his wits about him and pulled his guard in tight to weather the impending storm. Golovkin obliged and started banging hard shots off Curtis’ gloves and body. There was a lot of concussing going on, but it appeared Stevens was getting rattled out of his stupor. In the last seconds of the round, he started firing some of those kryptonite shots. He was definitely still a treat and Triple G seemed to back off a bit and exercise a bit a patience.
Initially, both men used their jabs well. The shorter Stevens used his speed and quickness, hoping that would be enough to land the shot. Gennady needed a little time to pick up on it, but soon was doing a pretty good job of blocking or slipping it. The important thing was he could see it. The same wasn’t true in reverse. Curtis’ high, tight guard blocked some of his vision, and Gennady’s efforts seemed more accurate. He started doubling up on it, and then hooking off of it. Curtis didn’t like it, and that’s when he started opening up a little, trying to land his own left hook counter. Also, he knew Gennady was vulnerable for a right hand, so he throw a few of those in for good measure.
It was then things backfired. In the second round, he countered, but Gennady one upped him with his own big left hook, stealing a bit of thunder from “Showtime”. That’s when Stevens hit the canvas. From then on Gennady controlled the action. For the most part, he had Stevens backing up, mixing in hard body shots with the accurate head shots. When Stevens went into a shell, Gennady would bounce big right hands off of Stevens’ gloves. The only head movement Stevens was showing came from the bombardment Triple G was unleashing.
In between rounds, Stevens was told (pleaded with) to stay off the ropes and to set things up with his own jab. They wanted Stevens to back up his opponent, to muscle him if needed. After listening to their instructions, Stevens would try to carrying out their advice, but Triple G just wasn’t cooperating. He was ready to engage in some in-fighting with the big punching Stevens, demonstrating with one of his favorite combinations: a right to the head, followed by a left uppercut, and then zinging in his left hook behind the raised gloves to Stevens’ liver. Pretty soon Stevens was backing up again.
Stevens would snap out of his shell every so often, but for the most part Triple G was systematically beating him down. The high guard, without head movement, is like a green light to good fighters. They see it as a invitation to continuously slug away without much threat of retaliation. They see a potential victim in front of them, one who has compromised his ability to counter. As long as the punches rain down upon victim, he is helpless to do much about it, forced to keep his guard in place. Without head movement, the fighter is pretty much screwed!
As the fight progressed, it became more and more obvious that Stevens wasn’t skilled enough to get through with one of his patented left hooks, at least not one sufficient enough to turn things around. He was like a candle (a short one) left to slowly burn down with the oppressive heat from above. He was melting right before our eyes. It was painful to watch, and referee Harvey Dock was looking long and hard at Stevens’ condition, ready to jump in at any moment to halt things. Stevens’ corner felt the same way, and they saved Dock the trouble by asking him to stop the fight. The official time was 3:00 of the 8th round.
Gennady “Triple G” Golovkin certainly established himself as worthy of the big fight, but a few questions remain. If and when he gets the big fight with Sergio, will he be fighting a fully recovered Sergio? Numerous stories have been reported concerning Sergio’s multiple ailments: knee, hand, etc. Then there’s the age thing. He’s no spring chicken. If the answers are positive ones, then the question is: Can Triple G deal with Sergio’s blinding speed? Triple G’s defense is a bit porous. He is hittable. Undoubtedly he will be able to take one of Sergio’s shots, but can he take a lot of them? A lot has to happen to get these stars in alignment, but maybe 2014 will be the year.