NEW YORK -- The Big Drama Show has returned. Gennadiy Golovkin entered the ring for the first time on Saturday evening following a disputed loss to Canelo Alvarez in a September 2018 rematch, a bout in which GGG lost all three of his middleweight belts. He wants another shot at Canelo, but first he had to get through previously unbeaten, but untested Canadian Steve Rolls.
Golovkin, the former unified world titleholder, did so with ease, scoring a massive fourth-round knockout in their super middleweight bout contracted at 164 pounds before a crowd of 12,357 at Madison Square Garden in New York City.
Although Golovkin is one of boxing's biggest attractions, there were a number of unknowns coming into this bout for the 37-year-old. It was his first fight with trainer Johnathan Banks after splitting with Abel Sanchez. Golovkin said leading up to the fight that Banks had taught him new skills, so naturally people were curious to see if anything had changed. Furthermore, the fight was the first of a three-year, nine-figure deal with sports streaming service DAZN, which signed him after HBO exited boxing after 45 years in the sport.
Golovkin knew that signing with DAZN would give him an excellent chance to land another fight against Canelo in September. There have been rumblings about Alvarez moving up to 168 pounds again to face WBA Super champion Callum Smith, but Golden Boy officials did not respond to our request for comment.
"I feel great. I feel like a new baby. Right now, I feel completely different because I came back to my knockout. I love knockouts, and I love New York. It was a great night all around," said Golovkin, who also came out on the short end of a controversial split draw against Alvarez when they first met in September 2017.
A majority of ringside observers thought Golovkin won the second fight as well, and Triple-G wants another shot at redemption.
"Everybody knows. The fans know who they want me to fight next," Golovkin said. "I'm ready for September. I'm ready for Canelo. Just bring him, just ask him. I'm ready. If you want big drama show, please tell him. I'm ready to bring back the big drama show.
"I believe [the fight will happen], because this is boxing. This is boxing business. Why not? The next fight will be amazing for us. "I feel right now like the people's champ. It doesn't matter for me. I want to beat him but [the belts don't] matter. I'm the people's champion."
From the opening bell, it was vintage Golovkin as he went after Rolls, who like many of GGG's opponents, could not handle the power of the Kazakh puncher.
Golovkin, who is known for his vicious body attack, has not had the same success going downstairs against the counter-punching Canelo, but he connected on a hard left hook to the body in the first round. The second round was more of the same for Golovkin, but Rolls also landed a good left hand that got his attention.
But Golovkin's punches started to take a toll on Rolls in the fourth round.
Golovkin (39-1-1, 3% KO's), 37, hurt Rolls with a right hand and backed him up to the ropes. He started to unload as Rolls attempted to cover up. But Golovkin landed with a crushing left hook on the chin, and Rolls dropped face first to the canvas. He tried to get up but was disoriented, and referee Steve Willis stopped the fight.
According to CompuBox statistics, Golovkin landed 62 of 223 punches (28 percent) and Rolls connected with 38 of 175 (22 percent).