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Can Golovkin become the next Pacquiao in popularity?

1-wade-vs-golovkin (2)By Patrick McHugh: IBF/IBO/WBA middleweight champion Gennady “GGG” Golovkin’s popularity has been skyrocketing since he started at having his fights routinely televised in the United States since 2012. What’s even more impressive about the growth in Golovkin’s fan base is the fact that he’s done it without having faced a big name like Floyd Mayweather Jr., Oscar De La Hoya, Daniel Jacobs, or Saul “Canelo” Alvarez. Golovkin has done it the hard way by fighting little known fighters for the most part and looking good in those fights by knocking out all of his opponents.

Golovkin has a chance to become the next Manny Pacquiao in terms of popularity in the U.S if he can keep building his fan base. I would say the next Floyd Mayweather Jr., but Golovkin isn’t an American like Mayweather. Golovkin is more in the same boat as Pacquiao, a talented foreign fighter with an offensive style of fighting that results in a lot of knockouts.

We don’t know how popular Pacquiao could have become in the U.S if he didn’t stop knocking out his opponents in 2010. Pacquiao’s last KO came in 2009 against Miguel Cotto, and after that, Pacquiao has been forced to go the distance with his opponents. Golovkin has knocked out everyone he’s faced since 2008. He’s stopped 21 consecutive opponents, and he’ll be looking for his 22nd consecutive knockout in tonight’s fight against Dominic Wade (18-0, 12 KOs) on HBO at the Forum in Inglewood, California.

“I think there are a lot of parallels between Manny’s career in the United States and Gennady’s career,” Golovkin’s promoter Tom Loeffler told “They’re both very charming. Both have great personalities. Both likeable guys. Both offensive fighters in terms of providing excitement and providing knockouts. We didn’t pattern the strategy after Manny’s appeal but in hindsight there are a lot of parallels to the ascension of popularity to both Manny and Gennady.”

Golovkin fills a real need with the American boxing fans with his ability to get knockouts every time he fights. Pacquiao had that during his best years from 2004 to 2009. Those years were the zenith of Pacquiao’s career. He topped out fairly early in his career for some reason. Golovkin is still going strong at 34, and the only thing that seems to be holding him back right now is a lack of interesting opponents that the American boxing fans can see him fighting. Golovkin needs guys like Peter Quillin, Daniel Jacobs and Canelo to fight him, but unfortunately he made not get any of them.

Golovkin might need to move behind divisions to fight guys from the 168 to 147lb divisions if he wants to get the top guys to fight him. This is what Canelo has been doing, but he’s been selecting from guys in the 147lb division rather than fighting guys at 168. If Golovkin is going to become the next Pacquiao for American fans, he might need to be willing to move up in weight temporarily to fight the top super middleweights like Gilberto Ramirez.

Golovkin hits too hard to get welterweights to fight him like Canelo is doing. Golovkin can fight junior middleweights like the Charlo brothers and Erislandy Lara. Those guys would make for interesting opponents for Golovkin, but they might insist that he boil down in weight in order for him to fight them, which it doesn’t seem like he’s interested in doing.

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Tonight’s fight between Golovkin and Wade isn’t a particularly great match-up, but Golovkin can make it special for the U.S fans if he can KO Wade in a highlight reel knockout to keep his knockout streak going. Golovkin fulfills a need in the U.S boxing public to see a fighter that knocks out his opponents each time he fights. That’s something the U.S fans haven’t had since Pacquiao was in his prime before he started his downward slide in 2010. Golovkin has the kind of punching power that will enable him to keep knocking out opponents for years to come. Golovkin might not be able to keep his KO steak going forever, but he’s someone that will be dangerous against anyone he faces even when he gets up there in age near his 40s if he’s still fighting at that point in his career.

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