Well, the questions about Gennady Golovkin (Triple G) were answered Saturday night at the MGM Grand at Foxwood, Mashantucket, CT, and answered emphatically. The main attraction of HBO’s Boxing After Dark was going to be Triple G’s toughest test. Finally, in the Irishman named Matthew Macklin, he would be facing someone who was a tried, true and tested full-sized middleweight. However, it was a short examination and he passed with flying colors. The fight opened with Macklin trying to be the aggressor. He pressed forward, but wasn’t effective. Triple G was moving just enough, slipping punches, and watching and studying. No more than a minute passed, and things changed. Now, Triple G was the aggressor, but the difference was his attack was effective.
Fans have seen and heard about Grennady’s punching power, but the real key to his success in landing those hard shots is his footwork. He has moves correctly (fundamentally) with great balance, which allows him to remain solid and ready to punch no matter what which direction he takes. As a result, it very difficult to make him reset. In other words, he’s always set to punch, and punch hard.
Throw in the fact that he mixes his punches up as well as anyone, digging to the body, and then slamming shots through his opponent’s guard, or accurately threading the needle. You could see the expression on Macklin’s face change quickly from one of confidence to one of concern. In the post-fight interview, Macklin admitted to Max Kellerman that everything Triple G throws is hard, including his jab.
Already in the first round, Macklin’s face was showing the effects of the punishing shots, and things were rapidly deteriorating for him. Between rounds, trainer Buddy Mcgirt instructed Macklin to move to his right, away from Triple G’s right hand power. The problem with that bit of advice is it means you then are moving into the pathway of his left hook. McGirt was hoping Macklin would be able to double and triple up his jab to keep Triple G from countering so well. Needless to say, it didn’t work. The knockout artist is a master at conserving energy, staying relaxed, and moving just enough to avoid punches, including his opponent’s jab, and at the same time unleashing his own arsenal.
In between rounds, Triple G was told not to load up, and to be sure to continue mixing things up, body then head, etc. Unbelievably, he was also told go out there and “have some fun”! Boxing not supposed to be fun. It’s supposed to be tough, hard and often times brutal, but Saturday night it was a one way street, with the all the traffic going Triple G’s way. The Irishman definitely couldn’t see any humor in what was happening to him.
The experts predicted Saturday night was going to be a tough fight for Triple G. In Macklin, they felt Triple G was going to be facing someone who was a true middleweight in size and power, a guy who had already demonstrated his skill in championship fights. He lost a disputed decision against Felix Sturm and gave Sergio Martinez a tough fight, until Sergio finally got to him in the eleventh.
However, Saturday it was obvious Macklin had never come up against someone with Triple G’s power and skill. Triple G makes it look so easy. It’s like the other guy is wearing 16 oz. gloves and he’s got 8 ouncers on. Triple G seems to have it all……great (solid) footwork, tremendous balance, good speed, accuracy, combination punching and tremendous power. He also has good size and the right king of build for a boxer. He is thick and well-muscled enough to withstand some shots, but fluid enough to let combinations fly smoothly with ease.
Macklin didn’t go down easy, though. He showed tremendous courage, and managed to land a few shots of his own, but that too showed another apparent strength of Triple G’s. That is his toughness and ability to stay calm and focused. He really believes and practices that old adage about “making you pay when he makes you miss.” It’s a painful lesson for his opponents. Saturday night, that was especially true for Macklin. It came in the form of a liver shot. When that shot lands correctly, it’s curtains for the fighter who gets hit with it. The guy’s ability to take a punch means nothing when that shot lands. You can’t roll with it, and no matter how many sit-ups you’ve done, it’s not enough. There’s no protective shield of muscle over it, and when it’s hit, it sends unbelievable pain through the recipient’s body, and sucks the air out of the lungs. Even before the fighter goes down, you know the fight over, because of the fighter’s facial expression, or shall we say grimace. The fighter is left gulping for air and wondering why his legs won’t work. Viewers are left sympathizing with the victim, hoping he’s going to be alright. Macklin knows about this shot, because he’s landed it enough times himself to know about its paralyzing effect. Now he knows how some of his opponents felt.
Now the fun starts in trying to figure out who Triple G will be facing next. He would gladly fight Sergio Martinez if the opportunity presents itself, but that’s going to be a tough one to make. Sergio already has his own plans, and before he reaches his goal, retirement might reach him. It’s a shame if the fight doesn’t happen, because it would be a very interesting style matchup.