I’m known to be a guy that looks for that next superstar coming up in the rankings. Guys like Floyd Mayweather and Manny Pacquiao are not easy to find. They must entertain the fans, in one way or another. Mayweather entertains with personality, charisma, and character. Pacquiao entertains with speed, excitement, and knockouts. When they are gone others must fill the void in their own way. They must find a way to get the fans to love them, making them worth tuning into Showtime or HBO on a Saturday night for no other reason than to watch them fight. The ultimate achievement is to get them to pay 59.95 to watch you on PPV. It’s not easy to do. Most fighters will never know what it’s like to be their own PPV main event.
This Saturday night on HBO the world will once again get to see middleweight phenom Gennady Golovkin as he takes on Curtis Stevens in Madison Square Garden. If you’re looking to the future of boxing, Golovkin isn’t a bad place to start. If you ask any boxing fan about this guy they will all say the same thing. He’s scary. “The Good Boy” is what they call him. Outside of the ring you would think so. He’s charming, nice, intelligent, and likable in every way a man could be. Inside of the ring, he’s an untamed monster with dangerous punching power and vicious combination punching. GGG is what they call him. And the nickname “Good Boy” refers to his opponents. They become a “Good Boy” after he massacres them in the ring. Fans claim Canelo wouldn’t stand a chance, that Cotto would get seriously hurt, and that even the great Floyd Mayweather would find himself in serious trouble if he ever stepped into the ring with Golovkin. He’s a star, that’s on the brink of being a superstar.
Golovkin doesn’t know much about losing. His 345-5 amateur record is one of the best in history. That’s not bad for a guy that was born in Kazakhstan. Without looking it up I could tell you that there is possibly ten fighters in all of boxing that were born there. Since turning pro in 2006, Golovkin goes into Saturday night with a perfect 27-0 record with 24 Knockouts. He doesn’t just win. He dominates. His last 14 fights have ended in knockouts and he hasn’t had to hear a judge’s decision since 2008. Some fans compare him to Mike Tyson in a sense that he loves to throw punches, throws them with bad intentions, and he’s exciting to watch every second he’s in that ring.
Some guys sell themselves to make them interesting to the public. Mayweather turned himself into a marketing genius to get to the level that he’s at. Pacquiao did it by being exciting in the ring and knocking people out. If Golovkin were to become a star he’d likely have to take the Pacquiao route. He doesn’t have Mayweather’s personality. Not many people do. What he does have though is the ability to knock anyone out at any time. What he does have is the style to be exciting with every fight. He gets hit, he hits back, and seldom does move backwards. Golovkin is in the ring to knock you out. He doesn’t want a decision. He doesn’t want to box although he can. Every punch is thrown with the intention to get you out of the ring. Some of his sparring partners have said his jab is like a sledgehammer. Judging from the outcome of his recent fights, I would think that all of his opponents would agree.
There is a small problem with GGG. A critique by many writers and fans, including one I have myself. The quality of opposition isn’t where people want it to be. It’s not to the fault of GGG. His promoter tried securing big named guys like Sergio Martinez, Julio Cesar Chavez, Andre Ward, and others. Each one had a different reason as to why they couldn’t take the fight, and not to any fault of them either. Martinez has been injured, Ward has been injured, and Chavez Jr. has had many outside of the ring issues that have deterred him from taking any dangerous fights right now. No one knows how GGG will fare against those guys. But all of them are PPV worthy fights, and if GGG can secure them, and win in big fashion, his fan base will grow into that of someone like Mayweather or Pacquiao.
Right now though he must beat the guys that they put in front of him. This weekend he has Curtis Stevens, a hard hitting Mike Tyson “like” fighter himself. Stevens has his flaws but he’s a very dangerous fighter because of his ability to knock people out. Stevens has demolished three of his last four opponents with 1st round knockouts. And coming down from 168 makes Stevens one of the biggest guys that GGG has faced.
I think that GGG could be a star. He could get his share of PPV fights. Casual boxing fans will be drawn to him because of his fan-friendly style. In order to be that next superstar he has to keep doing what he’s been doing. Keep winning and knocking people out. This Saturday he has a big test on his hands, and should he win, 2014 will be a year that he will likely see some big named opponents. His chance to shine is coming and it’s up to him to make sure he delivers.