Should Gennady Golovkin retire?
When fighters are on the decline and it is noticeable to the point that fans start to cringe, that fighter should consider hanging up the gloves. IBF Middleweight champion Gennady “GGG” Golovkin (40-1-1, 35ko), at 38 years old, has all but vanished from the big fight conversation. The once-boogeyman of the division is now struggling to remain relevant among boxing fans.
THE RISE OF A CHAMPION
If you were to ask fans and pundits two or three years ago, none of them would have imagined this being possible. Furthermore, ESPN even placed him on their top 25 pounds for pound ranking back in 2016.
Moreover, the Kazakhstan power puncher was steamrolling opponent in fights that became instant knockout-meme classics. For instance, like the one everyone used from a fight with New York native Curtis “Cerebral Assassin” Stevens (30-7, 22ko) at the famous Madison Square Garden back in 2013. Then there was trainer Abel Sanchez as the mouthpiece for the Kazakhstan knockout artist. He is the brains behind the Mexican style persona. This would have fans wanting to see more of the all-action fighter and increase his crossover appeal with old school boxing pundits.
HBO played the biggest part in the immense star power of the IBF champion. The subscription-based cable network was a juggernaut for the sport of boxing. Famous commentary by Larry Merchant, Max Kellerman, and Jim Lampley helped grow the boogeyman aura surrounding the then-unified middleweight champion. The major boxing network platform was all-in on showcasing the path of destruction that was being left in the ring after fighters were laid out flat from receiving a debilitating right hand from Gennady Golovkin.
THE FALL FROM THE SPOTLIGHT
With all of these things in place, the only thing missing was a huge fight with a big name. When former WBC champions Sergio “Maravilla” Martinez (52-3-2, 29ko) and Miguel “Junito” Cotto (41-6, 33ko) passed the WBC mandatory problem down to boxings biggest earner, Saul “Canelo” Alvarez (53-1-2, 36ko), fans were primed for an explosion. After two fights, their matches still remain a heated conversation with fans. One fight ended in what many feel was a controversial draw. The other saw the Mexican star getting the nod.
This is kind of where things went left for the IBF champion. Shortly after the two fights with Alvarez, the biggest platform for boxing closed the doors to the sport. After 45 years of showcasing boxing, HBO waved bye to the sport, and this was a huge blow for Golovkin.
Next, after landing a home with the DAZN streaming app and forming a partnership with British promoter Eddie Hearn, expectations for a possible trilogy fight with rival Alvarez had mixed reception from the fans; especially so when it became apparent that team Canelo was not interested in the fight.
Then lastly, the divorce from trainer Abel Sanchez was another major blow for team GGG. Like him or not, Sanchez knew how to get people talking about the Kazakhstan knockout artist. Their breakup got extremely ugly and it was all over social media.
SIGNS OF A FADING FIGHTER
Golovkin got his hands back on a championship. However, he came under heavy scrutiny when the majority of the boxing community felt Sergiy “The Technician” Derevyanchenko (13-3, 10ko) was screwed over by the business side of boxing. Furthermore, in a prior fight with unknown fighter Steve Rolls (20-1, 11ko), despite winning by fourth-round knockout, he did not look impressive at all. Matter of fact, it was the championship fight with “The Technician” where the boxing community proclaimed the end of the road for GGG.
Now, the IBF champion can turn things around. This is boxing and anything can happen. Being out of the ring for over a year is also hurting him. The current pandemic also was a career roadblock, but Golovkin needs to do something soon because in boxing, out of sight is truly out of mind.
By: Garrisson Bland