Two of boxing’s biggest stars gave impressive performances this past weekend. The first featured Nicaraguan superstar Roman “Chocolatito” Gonzalez pitching a near shutout performance against Puerto Rico’s top flyweight McWilliams Arroyo. Second was unified middleweight champion and fan favorite Gennady Golovkin disposing of IBF mandatory challenger Dominic Wade in two rounds. Last Saturday was the third time the two appeared together in what seems to be a growing trend of pairing together the sport’s best talent on the same card.
First, let’s start with Gonzalez. Ever since Floyd Mayweather Jr. retired, there has yet to be a consensus for the top spot in most experts’ pound-for-pound lists, but the Nicaraguan phenom has topped the rankings of most reputable outlets, and there is certainly a reason for that. Gonzalez is silly good. His fight previous against a very capable Brian Viloria was one of the best displays of footwork, speed, combination punching and timing, and served as a live example of what perfect boxing looks like. Last Saturday was not an exception to that statement.
It should first be noted that Arroyo lost the sole of his right shoe in the 4th round, and one could make the argument that the lack of traction on his dominate foot affected his performance. If there is any truth to that claim, then the valiant display of fighting ability from Arroyo is to be commended as the Puerto Rican never showed any signs of slowing down throughout the 12th rounds. But in the face of such steadfast will, Gonzalez repeated landed crisper and more accurate shots, and simply walked down his opponent later in the fight to prove his superiority, winning by scores of 120-108 and 119-109 twice. The win improves his record to a very impressive 45-0 with 38KOs, which by numbers alone should make him one of boxing’s biggest stars. Unfortunately, Gonzalez also campaigns in a weight class that few fans care about, but the sheer display of skill is certainly worth following. It’s a shame that such talent is missed for cause of a weight class, but hopefully the promotional push from HBO will soon change that oversight.
The next and final bout featured the fighter that has caught the buzz of most fans, which of course was the Kazakh destroyer that goes by the moniker “GGG”. The popular factoid going around is that his fight against the unheralded Dominic Wade lasted only a couple minutes longer than the ring walk. The first round quickly revealed why some odds-makers had Golovkin as high as a 100-1 favorite in the fight, as Wade showed little evidence of posing a threat and suffered the first of three knockdowns at the end of the opening stanza. Golovkin opened up early in the following round with relentless combinations from the body to the head and back, finishing the fight via straight right at 2:37 of the 2nd round. Compubox numbers reported Golovkin landing 54 punches to 22 punches landed by Wade, and the win improves the champ’s record to 35-0 with 32 KOs. Of those 32KOs, he’s now scored 22 in a row, meaning he’s been winning fights exclusively by stoppage for the nearly the last 8 years.
In the post-fight interview, Golovkin first made an appeal to the Mexican viewership by saying “Muchas Gracias”, a gesture seemingly received well with loud cheers. When touched upon the topic that most fans are wondering about – a fight against Mexico’s Canelo Álvarez – the champ kept it short and sweet.
“Doesn’t matter who wins, just give me my belt,” Golovkin said in regards to Álvarez’s upcoming defense against Amir Khan. “I need my belt. I’m ready guys.”
Despite the ongoing whispers of boxing being a “dying sport”, there are still plenty of good and talented fighters keeping it alive. Last Saturday featured two such fighters on the same night, and they fought on the basis of fighting, not on the basis of business. Let’s hope that trend continues.
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