by Hamilton Nolan
The middleweight division -- once you get past its two glamorous box office stars, Sergio Martinez and Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. -- is blessed with a large quantity of quality, solid, powerful fighters. And it is cursed by the fact that many of them are Eastern European, making them difficult to market to the North American market. One of these men has the potential to make everyone forget their standard geographic prejudices and take notice: Gennady Golovkin.
At 30 years old, Golovkin (23-0) is too old to be labeled a prospect. He bears a greater honor: the most avoided middleweight fighter in the world. Since medaling in the 2004 Olympics for Kazakhstan, Golovkin has been unable to entice anyone with a bigger name than Kassim Ouma to take him on, despite clearly possessing world class talent and the potential to become a pound-for-pound fighter, should he ever get the chance to prove himself against the division's best. Golovkin carries his hands high, throws straight punches, and is generally fundamentally sound; he is not flashy, at first glance. But a highlight reel of his victims tells the real tale of his talent: He possesses some of the heaviest hands in boxing. Golovkin packs the sort of deceptive power that often causes his opponents to drop from unspectacular shots, as if they've been hit by a cement block. His kind of power can't be taught. He's dangerous in every moment. His deceptively straightforward style makes him all the more dangerous.