Golovkin-Wade: 6 days to go
By Allan Fox: Six day from now, IBF/IBO/WBA middleweight champion Gennady “GGG” Golovkin (34-0, 31 KOs) will be defending his titles against unbeaten Dominic Wade (18-0, 12 KOs) on April 23 on HBO Championship Boxing from the Forum in Inglewood, California.
Golovkin, 34, says he’s not overlooking the untested and little known Wade in this fight, but you can’t help but wonder whether there will be a let down on Golovkin’s part. This is not the fight that he wanted. Golovkin was hoping to be facing the likes of Saul “Canelo” Alvarez of Billy Joe Saunders in unification fights by this point, but those fighters have shown enough interest in taking a fight with him to agree to a fight.
Golovkin saw himself get bypassed by Miguel Cotto when he was the WBC middleweight champion. Cotto fought Canelo last November when he was supposed to be fighting Golovkin. Now the WBC is letting Canelo, the new WBC champion, take a voluntary defense against Amir Khan rather than fight Golovkin.
With all that, you could understand why Golovkin might not be all that thrilled at being stuck fighting his IBF mandatory challenger Wade rather than fighting Canelo or Saunders. Canelo’s promoters at Golden Boy Promotions have handpicked an easy mark from the welterweight division in Amir Khan in a fight that will be televised on HBO pay-per-view on May 7. That fight has the makings of an Errol Spence vs. Chris Algieri type of an outcome with Canelo using his power and size to smother Khan and take him out in the early rounds with some crushing head and body shots.
Golovkin has to beat Wade and beat him with ease otherwise the fight will be seen a disappointment in the eyes of the fight fans. It’s a mismatch on paper, and when you have an opponent that’s not in your class, as Wade is, you’re supposed to smash them to bits and thrash them. That’s what Golovkin will need to do against Wade if he doesn’t want to see his stock drop from this fight.
If Golovkin wanted to do more with his career, he would give up his pointless pursuit of capturing all the world titles in the middleweight division. In this day and age, it’s a waste of time for champions to try and unify the divisions because it traps them in career-wasting title defenses against fighters that frequently inflated rankings with the sanctioning bodies and little in the way of talent.
Wade seems like a nice guy, but he looked very mediocre in his last fight against 42-year-old Sam Soliman last year in June 2015 in winning a highly questionable 10 round split decision. Many people thought Soliman deserved the victory. The Al Haymon managed Wade really lucked out in that fight because I thought he lost the fight by four rounds.
The scoring of that fight made question which fight the judges were watching because Wade appeared to lose badly. If Golovkin forgot about collecting all the titles at 160, then he wouldn’t have to waste time fighting guys like Wade. He instead could move up and take a fight against Gilberto Ramirez, and then move back down to fight whoever he wished.
Golovkin could even do what Canelo is doing in scraping the welterweight division for fighters with big names. It wouldn’t be sporting, but it would get Golovkin more attention from the casual boxing fans than fighting guys like Wade. Golovkin’s problem is he’s an old school fighter who believes in collecting all the titles, and fighting at the full weight for the division he’s fighting in. Boxing has really changed unfortunately.
You can argue that Floyd Mayweather Jr. and Manny Pacquiao have both left a big imprint on the sport with their catch-weight fights, and picking and choosing opponents. Canelo is merely just following in their footsteps in fighting at catch-weights against whoever he pleases.
If Golovkin were to do this too, it would likely be a liberating thing for him because he would be able to fight the best possible opponent willing to face him each time he fought. I think that’s probably the best thing for any fighter in boxing to do. Once you become a world champion, you get stuck fighting mandatory defenses every third fight against guys that arguably don’t rate the #1 ranking they’ve been given.
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