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Golovkin: The best middleweight since Hagler

By Sean Jones: Middleweight champion Gennady “GGG” Golovkin (37-0-1, 33 KOs) is fast approaching breaking Bernard Hopkins’ record for title defenses, and it seems clear already that he’s the best fighter that 160lb division has seen since Marvin Hagler.


Golovkin has looked nearly invincible since capturing his first 160 lb. division 7 years ago in 2010. Up until recently, Golovkin had knocked out every opponent he’d faced as a champion. That streak ended when he went the full 12 round distance against Daniel Jacobs last April.

In Golovkin’s last fight against Saul Canelo Alvarez, he went the full 12 rounds again, but he dominated the fight and well deserved a win. The judges scored it a 12 round draw, but the boxing public concluded that GGG won the fight.

Since Marvin Hagler stepped away from the almost 30 years ago, there has been many very good middleweights such as Bernard Hopkins, Roy Jones Jr., Gerald McClellan, Oscar De La Hoya, Sergio Martinez, Canelo, Miguel Cotto, Michael Nunn and Felix Sturm. However, none of them had the overall combination staying longevity and impressive knockout performances.

Hopkins stuck around forever as a middleweight champion, but he was grinding out his victories in a dull fashion for the most part. Hopkins wasn’t knocking guys out the way that Golovkin has. There’s no comparison really. Hopkin was winning his fights the way that we saw Andre Ward win his first match against Sergey Kovalev by getting in the pit and mauling his way to victories.


Here are the middleweight champions since Hagler:

• Bernard Hopkins

• Kelly Pavlik

• Jermain Taylor

• Arthur Abraham

• Felix Sturm

• Daniel Geale

• Miguel Cotto

• Saul Canelo Alvarez

• Sergio Martinez

• Julio Cesar Chavez Jr.

• Sebastian Zbik

• Quincy Taylor

• Keith Holmes

• Hacine Cherifi

• Julian Jackson

• Gerald McClellan

• Roberto Duran

• Iran Barkley

• Thomas Hearns

• Ray Leonard

• Sam Soliman

• Sebastian Sylvester

• Robert Allen

• James Toney

• Michael Nunn

• Roy Jones Jr.

• Frank Tate

• Andy Lee

• Oscar De La Hoya

• Dmitry Pirog

• Hassan N’Dam

• Peter Quillin

• Harry Simon

• Armand Krajnc

• Hector Javier Velazco

• Jason Mathews

• Otis Grant

• Bert Schenk

• Lonnie Bradley

• Steve Collins

• Chris Pyatt

• Chris Eubank

• Nigel Benn

• Doug DeWitt

There are several names that stand out from that list that would probably have given Golovkin major problems if they had fought during this era in boxing. Golovkin would have issues with Roy Jones Jr., Gerald McClellan, Julian Jackson, Bernard Hopkins, Dmitry Pirog, Ray Leonard, Michael Nunn, Sergio Martinez, James Toney and Jermain Taylor. When those fighters were in their prime, they were very hard to beat.

Golovkin would have had to speed up his footwork and fight a lot more aggressively than we’ve seen from him in his last 2 fights against Canelo and Daniel Jacobs. Never the less, Golovkin has to be seen as the best middleweight since Hagler in terms of victories and the way he’s won his fights.

Golovkin has had more staying power than the above mentioned middleweight champions, and that makes him the best since Hagler in my opinion. Hopkins didn’t do enough as a middleweight champion to put him in the same light as Hagler in my view. Golovkin is the most Hagler like of the two.



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