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Golovkin: My record is much bigger than Bernard Hopkins’ record

Image: Golovkin: My record is much bigger than Bernard Hopkins' record

By Allan Fox: Gennady ‘GGG” Golovkin rates his reign as the middleweight champion much higher than former unified 160 lb. champion Bernard Hopkins (55-8-2, 32 KOs) during his 10 years as a champion.

Golovkin sees himself as a bigger and stronger champion compared to B-Hop, who kind of fell apart when he was finally matched against a good fighter in Jermain Taylor towards the end of his 10-year reign.

”It will mean a lot but compared to Bernard Hopkins my record is much bigger. – Stronger and bigger. This is a good situation for me and for my fans and that’s it,” Golovkin said.

It sounds boastful of GGG to say that his record is better than Hopkins, but I agree with him. Golovkin has beaten better fighters at the weight than Hopkins. This era of middleweights is better than Hopkins’ era.

Hopkins had talent, but he also had a weak field for him to dominate for a decade. If Hopkins had to deal with the likes of Golovkin, Jermain Taylor, Jermall Charlo and a prime Roy Jones, he likely would have never been a middleweight champion unless it was for one of the minor titles.

During his time as a middleweight champion, Hopkins was known for his mugging style of fighting. He would move around on the outside, and then dive forward to throw a single punch and then fall into a clinch. Once on the inside, Hopkins would start wrestling and he would throw short punches while grappling.

Hopkins is said to have had a great influence on Andre Ward, who also used a lot of grappling in his fights. Hopkins mauling/grappling style of fighting was effective against fighters with zero inside fighting skills, but it wasn’t effective when he met up with Jermain Taylor, who ate Hopkins on the inside each time he would try and wrestle. Hopkins was certainly a good fighter, but he wouldn’t be a champion in this era at 160 in my opinion. Hopkins’ style of falling into a clinch and then wrestling for 3 minutes of every round wouldn’t work against guys like Golovkin and Jermall Charlo, and I don’t think it would work against Derevyanchenko either. Hopkins would have to fight them, and he wouldn’t be powerful enough to beat them.

Golovkin, 36, will be attempting to tie Bernard Hopkins’ record for successful title defenses on Saturday night against Vanes Martirosyan. Hopkins had 20 title defenses at middleweight, but most of his wins were over weak opposition. The fighters that Hopkins beat during his time as a middleweight champion would be guys that likely wouldn’t even make it into the top 15 in today’s middleweight division. Hopkins was a champion during a weak era at middleweight. Once Roy Jones Jr. moved up in weight to 175, Hopkins was left all by himself to rule over a mediocre field of middleweights until U.S Olympian Jermain Taylor emerged on the scene in 2005 and easily beat Hopkins in back to back fights. As we discovered later, Taylor wasn’t a great fighter. He was just a better fighter than Hopkins, and he ended his reign and forced him to move up in weight to light heavyweight.

Hear are Hopkins’s wins during his 10-year reign as a middleweight champion came against these fighters:

• John David Jackson

• Glen Johnson

• Simon Brown

• Syd Vanderpool

• William Joppy

• Howard Eastman

• Robert Allen x 3

• Oscar De La Hoya

• Antwun Echols x 2

• Andrew Council

• William Bo James

• Steve Frank

• Segundo Mercado

• Joe Lipsey

• Felix Trinidad

• Carl Daniels

• Morrade Hakkar

Those are not great fighters unfortunately. Hopkins wasn’t fight a long each year, so he didn’t win a lot of fights during his decade as a middleweight champion. Before Hopkins became champion a 160, he was soundly beaten by Roy Jones Jr. by a 12 round unanimous decision in May 1993. Hopkins was also beaten by Clinton Mitchell in his pro debut in October 1988. Hopkins didn’t do much during his time as the unified middleweight champion for his legacy to mean a whole lost.

Among Hopkins’ title defenses at middleweight were wins over Oscar De La Hoya and Felix Trinidad. However, those fighters started their careers at lightweight, and they had no business fighting at middleweight. They were never going to be strong enough to beat Hopkins at middleweight.

To his credit, Hopkins did later on in his career move up in weight to light heavyweight and enjoy a certain degree of success beating the likes of Jean Pascal, Beibut Shumenov, Enrique Ornelas, Karo Murat and Roy Jones Jr., but those were not the talented fighters in the 175 lb. weight class at the time. When Hopkins did fight one of the best fighters at light heavyweight in Sergey Kovalev in 2014, he was easily beaten by a 12 round unanimous decision.

Golovkin’s title defenses in his 8-year reign as a middleweight champion have come against these fighters:

• Saul Canelo Alvarez – GGG wasn’t given a win over Canelo, as the Nevada State Athletic Commission assigned judges scored it a controversial 12 round draw. However, the boxing public ignored the judges and overwhelming saw Golovkin as the winner.

• Daniel Jacobs

• Kell Brook

• Dominic Wade

• David Lemieux

• Willie Monroe Jr.

• Martin Murray

• Curtis Stevens

• Matthew Macklin

• Nobohiro Ishida

• Gabriel Rosado

• Grzegor Priksa

• Makota Fuchigami

• Lajuan Simon

• Kassim Ouma

• Nilson Julio Tapia

”I think it’s great for his history and for boxing history,” GGG’s trainer Abel Sanchez said of Golovkin on the verge of tying Hopkins’ record. ”If you look at his record, he hasn’t had any rematches in there. Everybody he fought has been a new opponent. The great Bernard Hopkins fought twice against Echols and three times against Robert Allen. We are fighting new guys every time. By tying it and if he decides to stay at middleweight and break the record in the future is great for boxing history and good for historians to look back upon,” Sanchez said.

I don’t think the fans care too much about records like the most title defenses. That kind of stuff is only followed by the ultra-hardcore boxing fans that are into stats. The average fan just likes to see great fights, and they have a lot of respect for champions that are able to hold onto their titles for a long time. But the fans aren’t going to be paying attention to how many title defenses Golovkin makes. The fans want to see Golovkin beat Saul Canelo Alvarez and get credit for it this time. They also want to see Golovkin beat Jermall Charlo, Daniel Jacobs and Sergey Derevyanchenko.

Golovkin is a big favorite to defeat the 31-year-old Martirosyan this Saturday night in their fight on HBO at the StubHub Center in Carson, California. I don’t think there’s too much interest from the boxing public in GGG tying Hopkins’ record. That kind of stuff has gone completely over the heads of the casual fans. They just want to see Golovkin and Martirosyan battle it out in an action-packed fight. Golovkin’s last fight against Saul Canelo Alvarez was a boring one due to the Mexican star’s reluctance to fight. Canelo used a variation of the Floyd Mayweather Jr. style of fighting, but he made it much worse by choosing not to stand his ground. Mayweather would stand and fight. Canelo had no interest in doing that, and it made the fight very boring to watch. It was just Golovkin out there trying to make it interesting for the fans.

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