Three of Britain’s leading coaches contemplate how to best defuse boxing’s biggest bomber by Glynn Evans.
Joe Gallagher (Manchester)
‘Firstly, you have to identify Golovkin’s strengths. Because of all his spectacular knockouts people tend to overlook that he was a class amateur – a world champion and Olympic silver medallist – prior to terrorising the pros.
He’s got real pedigree, a solid base and foundation. He brings excellent footwork, great balance and timing. He finds good angles and hits the (unprotected) spaces. He doesn’t waste much. Also, he curves a lot of his shots around the guard. And he’s got such confidence, composure and assurance. He’d be an elite fighter regardless of whether he carried the ‘equaliser’, which clearly he does.
There’s not much area for criticism with Gennady but I certainly don’t think he’s invincible. He’s certainly not the world’s biggest middleweight and the clock’s ticking with him. He’s almost 35 now. In his last few fights, he’s almost gone out of his way to take some to land his bombs. And, ultimately, that could prove his downfall. He can’t get careless and complacent against a big, heavy handed middleweight such as Danny Jacobs, like he did against Kell Brook.
I don’t think there’s many who could outbox ‘Triple G’ for 12 rounds, like Sugar Ray Leonard did to Hagler. There’s no Sugar Rays around today. Martin Murray did pretty well with his movement off the back foot but couldn’t quite carry it through. (Erislandy) Lara, a smart southpaw with quite heavy hands, has enough skill to give Golovkin real problems but I doubt he’d actually beat him. It’s possible the unorthodoxy of (Chris) Eubank Jr, peeling off five successive uppercuts, might unnerve Gennady.
But I think the most likely style to unhinge him is someone prepared to go into the eye of the storm, someone who carries real power and can put Golovkin on the back foot, like John ‘The Beast’ Mugabi did when he almost upset Hagler.
Jacobs can whack but brings his own vulnerabilities. Of the current crop, ‘Canelo’ Alvarez has the best chance. I actually pick ‘Canelo’ to beat Golovkin. Reason being, whereas Golovkin is very good mid range - timing you coming in and out - he’s not the best ‘inside fighter’. Like all the best Mexicans, ‘Canelo’ is excellent in ‘the pocket’. He’d deny Golovkin his leverage and get stuck into his body and take those aging legs away. I believe that’s the secret.’
Peter Fury (Bolton)
‘I’m a strong believer that no one’s invincible. There’s a match for everyone, somewhere. I see vulnerability in ‘Triple G’, every fight but it’s going to take a very, very special man to defeat him.
That explosive power Golovkin carries is part of his DNA, not something that you can develop. He’s got this naturally relaxed manner and he turns his shots in like a hammer. He’s an exceptional all round fighter with a very astute boxing brain. He’s the full package: skill, power, great chin.
He’s deceptively quick on his feet so, if you’re a non puncher, he’ll risk taking your shots to get in yer face and climb all over ya. Golovkin let Martin Murray hit him at will until Martin tired then ‘Triple G’ took him out. Same with Kell Brook. Against Curtis Stevens, a noted banger, Golovkin took no risks.
The fighter who beats Golovkin will be a very crafty boxer who’s a genius tactician. You have to stop him applying his power, doing his thing. That’s what boxing is really about. An excellent skill set can always overcome power in my view. It needs a fighter who can get their feet in the right places, tie him up and frustrate him. If you continually catch him with relaxed, clean shots as he comes in, Golovkin will gradually become demoralised from the accumulative effect.
People will accuse me of being biased but, in top, top condition and with the right strategy, Billy Joe (Saunders) could cause him major problems. In addition to being southpaw, Bill’s got a fighting heart, a great chin, natural toughness, good movement and a good brain.......but it’s still a very tall order!’
Gary Lockett (Cardiff)
‘Facing Golovkin is a very intimidating proposition. You see from his opponent’s reactions to the first time he connects, it sends shock waves through their system and they don’t fancy another taste. How does he generate that power? I wish I knew. Real punchers are born with it.
It’s not only the sheer power. People seem to forget that Gennady was an Olympic finalist and world amateur champion. Golovkin also has very good feet, cuts the ring down well and keeps on cracking you. He’s very accurate, very relentless and very hurtful.
At times, Kell Brook boxed very well against Golovkin until he injured his cheek. But Kell was blowing very heavily after four rounds due to the intense pressure ‘Triple G’ applies. He had eight more rounds to go. Staving him off for 36 minutes is a heck of an ask for any fighter.
But ‘Triple G’ is not unbeatable. People viewed Kostya Tszyu as similarly indestructable until he ran into Vince Phillips about 20 years ago. Golovkin does get clipped. He just gambles on hitting opponents back twice as hard. Mayweather always struck me as more invincible because no one could hit him, he took no risks. Golovkin does give you a target.
To have any chance, you need to be exceptionally tough and you also need to be able to punch a bit yourself so that you can get his attention and force him backwards when you connect. Work the jab and, as he comes forward, make him fall short then knock him back. You have to be able to put a bit of space between you and him, otherwise he’ll suffocate you.
It’s gonna take a very good boxer, with lots of stamina, who can hit hard and is 100% on their ‘A Game’. Danny Jacobs can crack but lacks the all round game. Of the current crop, Billy Joe Saunders stands the best chance with his southpaw style and clever feet. It’s a huge ask, easier said than done, but one day someone will manage it.’
Watch Golovkin defend his WBA Super, WBC and IBF middleweight belts against WBA regular champion Danny Jacobs – plus Pound-for- Pound leader Roman Gonzalez – live on BoxNation, the Channel of Champions.