By Dan Ambrose: IBF/IBO/WBA middleweight champion Gennady “GGG” Golovkin (34-0, 31 KOs will be looking to make his 16th consecutive title defense and his 22nd consecutive knockout tonight against IBF mandatory challenger Dominic Wade (18-0, 12 KOs) on HBO from the Forum in Inglewood, California.
Golovkin is within five title defenses to tie the record for most title defenses of 20 set by Bernard Hopkins at middleweight. Golovkin will likely break Hopkins’ record by 2017.
It doesn’t look like Golovkin will have any serious opponents that can give him problems, since the only other good fighter in the middleweight division is Saul “Canelo” Alvarez, and it looks like he’s going to dodge Golovkin and wait him out until he’s older before he agrees to finally face him. In other words, it looks like Canelo will take the Floyd Mayweather Jr. approach by waiting an out an opponent until they’re older and have slipped a couple of notches before fighting them.
Golovkin will be fighting Wade on Saturday night tonight on HBO. The start time for Golovkin vs. Wade is at 10:00 p.m. ET, from the beautiful Forum in Inglewood, California. Tickets are said to be still on sake for the Golovkin-Wade fight. It’s surprising because it was thought to be a card that would sellout by fight time, but I guess the perceived mismatch may have turned off fans.
Golovkin doesn’t mind too much that Canelo might not take the fight with him in 2016. Golovkin wants the WBC title that the 25-year-old Mexican Canelo has, and in capturing the title without a fight, it will be a victory for Golovkin.
Canelo will look bad in the eyes of a lot of boxing fans for ducking Golovkin, and his title will be stripped from him by the World Boxing Council if he doesn’t willingly give it up. It’s doubtful that the WBC will come to Canelo’s rescue by voting in block to create a rule change that allows their champions to force catch-weights on all of their opponents. That would be a major rule change in the sport if the WBC were to do that. Of course, the WBC could do whatever they want.
If they allow Canelo to use catch-weights for all of his defenses, then it would put Golovkin in a situation where he would literally have to agree to fight Canelo at whatever catch-weight he asked. Golovkin couldn’t wait Canelo out until he loses interest in being the WBC middleweight champion and just gives up the belt, because he’s too young. Canelo could hold onto the WBC title for the next 10 years if he’s able to use catch-weights to weaken real middleweights.
Hopkins was a middleweight world champion from 1995 to 2005. However, Hopkins fought during a weaker era for the division. He didn’t have to worry about Roy Jones Jr. all those years because he moved up in weight. A prime Jones would have beaten Hopkins like he did in the early 90s. Hopkins also didn’t have to worry about KO artists like Gerald McClellan and Julian Jackson, because those guys were gone by the time he started his reign. It’s hard to picture Hopkins being able to beat a prime McClellan or Jackson. Those guys hit too hard.
“I hope I can beat the record. I like it. It’s very important to me and my team,” Golovkin said to ESPN.com. “Maybe. I hope. Thinking about this, I said this would be great.”
I don’t think Golovkin is too focused on the record for title defenses. He’s more interested in collecting all the middleweight titles than he is in the record for title defenses. Records like that are for sports fans/writers that like to record those kinds of things. But it would mean a lot more for Golovkin if he were to collect all of the middleweight titles, because it would show the boxing world that he’s clearly the best fighter in the 160lb division. It would also likely result in Golovkin making more money for his fights. Golovkin isn’t going to make more money in breaking Hopkins’ record for title defenses. That’s nerd stuff that some people think about.
What does matter is Golovkin winning all the belts, and being seen by the fans as the best fighter in the middleweight division. If Golovkin can do this, then it could lead to guys like Canelo finally being pressured to fight him without a catch-weight handicap. The same thing with Daniel Jacobs, although he doesn’t use catch-weight handicaps for his fights. Golovkin would be able to get the top fighters to face him.
If Canelo chooses to continue to hole up in his specially created weight division at 155, he’ll likely be marginalized by many fans as someone that isn’t willing to compete in a normal weight class. It would be like a football team creating their own division so that they have a better chance of succeeding. It’ll look funny if Canelo continues to fight at 155, year after year while Golovkin holds all the middleweight belts.
“It’s a big part of history to break Bernard Hopkins’ record and will be great for Gennady’s record,” said Golovkin’s trainer Abel Sanchez to ESPN.com. “Wade is the next step.”
Wade, 25, is seen as little more than speed bump for Golovkin. This is really a big step down from Golovkin’s last opponent David Lemieux. It’s more of a lateral move for Golovkin from his fight against Willie Monroe Jr. last year. Wade and Monroe are similar fighters’ talent-wise in my opinion. No difference.
Monroe is better defensively than Wade, but both guys are on the same level. This is not going to be much of a fight for Golovkin unless he decides to take it easy on Wade and carry him for five or six rounds like he did with Monroe.
Golovkin might take a brief time out in defending his middleweight belts to go up to super middleweight in the near future to beat WBO super middleweight champion Gilberto Ramirez if he can’t get Canelo or WBO middleweight champion Billy Joe Saunders to fight him. Golovkin’s promoter Tom Loeffler says Ramirez is an option, a Plan-C, if they can’t get fights against Canelo or Saunders. There would be good money for Golovkin in a fight against Ramirez, and he Mexican fighter’s promoter Bob Arum of Top Rank is interested in matching him against Golovkin.