By Sean Jones: Eddie Hearn wasn’t surprised to see IBF middleweight champion Gennadiy ‘GGG’ Golovkin (41-1-1, 36 KOs) take apart unheralded challenger Kamil Szeremeta (21-1, 5 KOs) last Friday night with his stoppage victory in the seventh round in the main event.
Hearn says he wants to set-up the “monster fight” between Gennadiy and Canelo Alvarez for May, assuming the Mexican star win tonight against Callum Smith in their fight in San Antonio, Texas.
The Matchroom Boxing promoter Hearn notes that the 31-year-old Szeremeta was overmatched from the beginning, and he wasn’t at the level that the pound-fo-pound star GGG was at.
It was obvious from the start that Szeremeta didn’t belong inside the same ring as Golovkin. The first round knockdown by Golovkin, 38, of Szeremeta showed that the Polish fighter was out of place and wasn’t going to last long.
By the time Szeremeta’s corner decided to pull him out of the fight after the seventh round, the Polish fighter had been knocked down four times by Golovkin.
It was almost comical. Golovkin was methodically walking Szeremeta down, hitting him painful-looking shots to the body and head, hurting him repeatedly.
Hearn: Szeremeta was overmatched
“I’m still catching my breath from Akhmedov against Gongora,” said Eddie Hearn to Matchroom Boxing. “One of the best fights I’ve seen live, and one of the most dramatic fights I’ve seen live.
Choi was a great fight with Silgado. Gennadiy Golovkin making his record-breaking 21st defense. How tough was Szeremeta?
Overmatched, really because he was fighting a pound-for-pound great in Gennadiy Golovkin, but stayed in there and his [Szeremeta] corner had to take him out basically before he would have got knocked out himself.
“Great performance and onwards and upwards for Gennadiy Golovkin,” Hearn said.
It wasn’t Hearn’s decision to match Golovkin against Szeremeta last night.
The International Boxing Federation is the one behind making inexperienced Szeremeta GGG’s mandatory challenger without ordering him to face a tough test, and the results were obvious.
Szeremeta’s lack of power is what really caused him the most trouble, as he had nothing to hold Golovkin off. Even if Szeremeta had boxing skills on part with Terence Crawford, he would have been slowly bludgeoned last night by GGG.
It was a good move by Szeremeta’s corner to pull him out of the fight after the seventh round, seeing that he was slowly getting beaten up by Golovkin.
It didn’t matter that Golovkin was showing no urgency to take Szeremeta out; he was still taking fierce punishment by Golovkin. In the seventh, it was obvious the fight needed to be stopped.
After Golovkin dropped the wobbly-looking Szeremeta with a jab, that was a sign that the match needed to be stopped.
Telis Assimenios did the right thing in conferring with Szeremeta’s corner between the seventh and eighth to check on him. It was at that time, Szeremeta’s corner pulled him out.
As Hearn said, Szeremeta would have kept fighting until he was knocked out by Golovkin, which likely would have happened in the eighth.
Eddie wants Canelo vs. Golovkin for May
“Great boys, great jab, great power,” continued Hearn on Golovkin. “As I said, Szeremeta was overmatched in there.
“We knew that would probably be the case, but that would only be the case if Golovkin was still on full.
“Like with AJ last week, ‘He could have done this or done that.’ He’s a world-class fighter and has put on great performances.
“Tonight, he showed his levels, and we must make the monster fight for Gennadiy Golovkin next. Of course, he’ll be watching tomorrow night very closely.
“I’m so excited,” said Hearn about the Canelo Alvarez vs. Callum Smith fight. “I was up at the weigh-in today, seeing both guys at 168 pounds on the button, and both in tremendous shape.
“It’s a brilliant fight. Pound-for-pound #1 [Canelo] in the sport against the #1 super middleweight in the world. Callum Smith is in this to win it, he really is. He’s confident and he’s calm.
“Canelo looks as smooth as they come, he’s ready, and Eddy Reynoso is ready. Callum, Joe [Gallagher], and the team are ready. You’re going to get a wonderful fight on tomorrow night,” said Hearn on the Canelo vs. Smith fight.
Hearn will need to use all of his persuasive powers in his toolbox for him to convince Canelo Alvarez to face Golovkin next May if the pound-for-pound star comes out victorious tonight against Callum Smith.
Canelo says to unify the division at 168 in 2021, and he sounds like he’s not going to be detoured from that goal.
It won’t be surprising if Canelo talks of unifying the super middleweight division if he comes out the winner against the 6’4″ Smith, which means WBO 168-lb champion Billy Joe Saunders will be the next one for him.
Saunders is one of Hearn’s fighters in his Matchroom stable, and he wants the Canelo fight. It’ll be easy to make. Canelo is saving IBF super-middleweight champion Caleb Plant, for last, as he’s clearly the champions’ toughest.
It’s not Callum Smith that is the toughest at 168, who can’t fight on the inside and is a pure slugger, Plant (20-0, 12 KOs) is the guy that will give Canelo the most trouble.
It”s also important for Canelo to unify as fast as possible because he has David Benavidez, Bektemir Melikuziev, and Edger Berlanga that will soon be breathing down his next looking for their title shots. As good as Canelo is, he doesn’t have the size to deal with those huge super middleweights. Canelo doesn’t hit as hard as those guys as well.
That’s why you can argue that Canelo is racing to unify the 168lb division before he’s forced to fight one of those fighters to unify.
It would be a much different story for Canelo to try and beat those fighters than it will be for him to beat Callum Smith and Saunders.
Another reason for Canelo to unify the 168lb division as quickly as possible is the talk of Dimitry Bivol moving down from 175 to begin campaigning at 168.
Canelo would be over-matched against a talent like Bivol, who can do everything Golovkin can do, but he has the size and boxing skills. If you thought Canelo had problems against Golovkin, wait and see what Bivol will do to the Mexican star.
We’re likely to see Canelo ignoring Golovkin and looking to unify in 2021 against super middleweight champions Saunders in May and IBF champ Caleb Plant in September.
If Canelo successfully unifies the 168-lb division, he’ll either vacate all of his titles or hold onto one, which would probably be the IBF belt.
The highly talented Edgar Berlanga and Bektemir Melikuziev aren’t ranked in the IBF’s top 15, which will give Canelo freedom to fight the lesser contenders in their rankings.
Akhmedov upset by Gongora
“It was a good win for John Ryder on the card as well,” Hearn continued. “Reshat Mati looked good as well, and a good win for Jalen Walker before TV.
“You have to say the Akhmedov vs. Gongora fight, for me. I’m still getting over what happened there. I actually Tweeted at the start of the 12th round, saying, ‘Someone is going to get knocked out in the 12th round.’
“I didn’t think necessarily it was going to be Akhmedov, but what a fight. We move on to a huge night in San Antonio tomorrow.
“He [Gongora] got battered in the first three rounds of the fight, and it looked like it was going to be over. The judges had him nine or ten rounds down, and that is incredible.
“I didn’t have that score. I had him two or three rounds down. He started looking dangerous from the seventh round, and he never stopped trying.
“I’m looking forward to more fights with Carlos Gongora. We have notions now to promote him, which we will be moving forward for. I want to see the rematch, to be honest with you.
“I’d love to see the rematch in the spring of next year: Carlos Gongora, the new IBO super middleweight champion, and a big night for Ecuador.
“They’re dancing in the streets of Ecuador tonight. I was really pleased for him, gutted for Ali, but a great victory. We know that Canelo’s WBA belt will come vacant, and John [Ryder] will fight for the next year.
“Tonight was a marquee fight for him against a guy that was clever and came to survive and look good.
“I think John should’ve let his hands go a little bit more when he was in distance.
“But he hasn’t boxed for 13 months, so it was really important to get those ten rounds in tonight before he fights for that WBA title in the spring of next year.
“He’s probably a little bit frustrated, but when he looks back, he’ll be pleased that he got the performance in, got the rounds in, and got out.
“It’s hard for top-level fighters to get fights right now. I’m glad we managed to provide one for John before the end of the year,” said Hearn.
It was a bad idea for the promoters of super middleweight Ali Akhmedov (16-1, 12 KOs) to match him against two-time Olympian Carlos Gongora (19-0, 14 KOs) this early in his career.
Although Akhmedov, 25, can punch, he didn’t have the experience as a pro or at the amateur level to be mixing it with a guy like the 31-year-old Gongora.
Akhmedov was a good amateur, but he wasn’t an Olympian like Gongora. The only reason Akmedov had a lead on the cards going into the 12th is that he’s the bigger guy.
Gongora had fought at middleweight until recently and made the transition well. He still didn’t look like a natural 168-pounder, which is why Akhmedov got the better of him in the early rounds.
If Akhmedov had fought a natural super middleweight, he likely would have been knocked out much earlier. Akhmedov is too slow in terms of hand speed, and he has no defense.
Akhmedov’s handlers will need to decide what they want to do with him because he’s not going to make it big at 168.
If he could move down to 160 somehow, that might help because he would be huge for that weight class. But he Akhmedov stays at 168, he’s going to be beaten repeatedly.