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How Gennady 'GGG' Golovkin Became The New Baddest Man On The Planet

How Gennady 'GGG' Golovkin Became The New Baddest Man On The Planet
By Gavan Casey
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Gennady Gennadyevich Golovkin. The Beast from the East. The current IBF, WBA (super) and WBC (interim) World middleweight champion or, if you're not one for boxing bullshit, THE World middleweight champion - at least until Canelo Alvarez attempts to prove otherwise.

35 fights into Triple G's career, the 34-year-old Kazakh sensation has 35 victories, with 32 coming by way of knockout. He is a former Asian and World amateur champion and Olympic silver medallist, who turned professional back in 2005 with an outrageous amateur record of 345-5.

Golovkin was born on April 8, 1982 in the city of Karagandy, as one of four brothers to a Russian father - a coal miner - and a Korean mother, who was an assistant in a chemical laboratory. His older brothers, Vadim and Sergey, who initially encouraged him to box, left to join the Soviet Army when he was just eight. Tragically, they were both killed in the line of duty.

Golovkin has the backstory of a Marvel superhero, or at least one worthy of the big screen. And so, if you will, please read the following in a movie trailer narrator's voice while we inaugurate him as combat sport's most destructive force:

'In a world where boxing's World heavyweight champion is - for all his unquestionable pugilistic talent - a mouthy side-show, and where the defending UFC heavyweight champion sprints head-first into his challenger's right fist with such fervour that you'd question if he understands the concept of fighting at all, one man must stand alone, as The Baddest Man On The Planet.'

To quote HBO's Max Kellerman, "There is a monster in the middleweight division." He ain't wrong:

He has knocked out or stopped 21 consecutive opponents



Is it any wonder, when all he has to do is punch you in the shoulder and the sheer force of the shot puts you on your arse?

Golovkin's 21st consecutive knockout - his 32nd in total - arrived against undefeated American Dominic Wade three months ago. The last man to take him the distance was a fighter named Amar Amari, whom GGG beat on points in Brondby, Denmark back in 2008. That seems unlikely to change this Saturday night in London, as Triple G squares off with the superb but likely over-matched Kell Brook.

He's the most avoided man in boxing

To put Gennady Golovkin's dominance over the middleweight division into context - Steve Bunce recently pointed out the following: Golovkin has held at least one version of the middleweight championship since 2010. He was won 17 consecutive world title fights, all of them finishing inside the distance. Since he first picked up a world belt, 18 other men have also won a version of the world title.


Only two of these men have fought Golovkin.

Now, to former WBO World middleweight champ Andy Lee's credit, he had agreed to fight Golovkin only for the planned bout to fall through due to the untimely death of GGG's father. But that still leaves 17 'middleweight champions' who, for one reason or another, have opted not to cross paths with the Kazakh machine.

Incidentally, Lee once told me that were he to fight Golovkin, he would train for a four-round fight. All-in for four rounds, but if you don't take him out inside those four rounds? "You're fucked."


Australian Daniel Geale, himself a former champion, took the same approach when throwing down with GGG. It didn't go well for him.


He has fought more top 10 contenders than anyone in the sport

Prior to his fight with Amir Khan, Canelo Alvarez told Boxing News:


He [Golovkin] needs to work his way up and earn his shot. He has all these knockouts but who has he fought?

Since making his American debut on 1st September 2012, Golovkin has beaten more top 10 contenders than any other active professional boxer. None of them have heard the final bell.


Golovkin has dispatched six: Proska, Macklin, Rosado, Geale, Murray and Lemieux. Canelo has beaten five: Khan, Lopez, Lara, Trout and Cotto.


He opens as a 1/6 favourite to beat Canelo Alvarez


Mexican boxing superstar Canelo Alvarez is 47-1-1 in his 10-year professional career, with 33 knockouts and victories over a string of world-level opponents.

At just 25, the Guadalajara native is entering his physical prime as the supposed lineal champ, but politics and some artful dodging have thus far prevented him from climbing in the ring with Golovkin.


Back in May, the wretched organisation that is the WBC gave a 14-day deadline for both teams to get the scrap over the line. Naturally, nothing came of their half-arsed demands.

Right now, Golovkin vs Canelo for THE middleweight championship of the world is the biggest fight in a boxing landscape crying out for similar. In light of this, bookmakers have begun to offer odds on both men. Golovkin is odds-on favourite to destroy boxing's Golden Boy, coming in at between 2/9 and 1/6. Canelo, one of the most marketable, talented and formidable athletes in the sport, is 7/2.

The general American public has started to hand him their belts

It's not quite in his nature to aggressively call opponents out, and so each time GGG is asked about WBC middleweight champion Canelo Alvarez - still considered the lineal middleweight champion of the world - he simply replies: "I need my belt." He also frequently uses the hashhtag #GiveMeMyBelt.

During HBO's broadcast of Canelo's thunderous knockout of Amir Khan, Golovkin explained to Jim Lampley that American people have now started to approach him on the street, unbuckle their own belts and hand them over. That's a bad man, right there.

His chin is presumably made of adamantium


Golovkin has never tasted the canvas as either an amateur or professional, even though in truth, from a technical standpoint, his defence leaves a lot to be desired.

He eats shots for breakfast, but it seems they only serve to fuel him or, at the very least, anger him. Take the above fight with Curtis Stevens from 2013. The Brooklynite Stevens is an explosive puncher (so much so that he's nicknamed 'The Cerebral Assasin'), with 21 of his 28 victories coming inside the distance. He landed some bombs on the Beast from the East, and they didn't leave a dent. And just look at his own face when Golovkin drops him with an explosive left hand.

Many in the business have suggested that Golovkin takes shots pretty much for the shits and giggles, i.e. to create more excitement in what essentially amount to massacre-like fights. Golovkin himself has suggested as much, but it's horseshit. He takes shots so he can hit back harder, safe in the knowledge that fists simply bounce off his face.

He currently has the highest knockout percentage in middleweight boxing history


Golovkin's 91% KO ratio is the highest of any middleweight in history, world champion or not. But how does he achieve it?

In boxing, punch force can be augmented or determined by either hand speed or body mass. Golovkin's hands aren't exactly blisteringly quick by middleweight standards, but he's built like a brick shit-house, wielding one of the most dense cores in the sport.

He also carries massive forearms for the weight. This allows his entire body to tense at the point of impact, generating that 'snap' or buckling power in his shots that the middleweight division hasn't seen since Marvin Hagler's road to world championship glory in the 1980s.

His favourite food

Jesus Christ.

Gennady Golovkin is a one-in-a-generation talent and, should he get the fights he deserves, a potential messianic figure in a global boxing scene devoid of hype and true crossover stars. Away from the ring he's considered one of the nicest guys in the sport, but inside the squared circle he has an indestructible chin, bricks for fists, and he puts opponents away with blood-curdling aplomb.

The concrete man from Kazakhstan is, by a considerable margin, The Baddest Man On The Planet.

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