by Kieran Mulvaney
The images were from a variety of venues around the world, the commentary that accompanied them in an assortment of languages. Together, over time, they helped establish the legend of Gennady Golovkin.
Here he was in Ukraine, sending Makoto Fuchigami reeling backward, dropping him in a corner and then teeing off on him against the ropes, opening a cut over his right eye before the referee stopped in to halt the contest in the third round.
There he was in Germany, landing a short left hook to drop the previously-unstopped Lajuan Simon to his back for the count in the very opening frame.
Up he popped in Panama, where veteran Kassim Ouma took him into deeper water but as a consequence only suffered a more prolonged beating, his face becoming lumpy and misshapen until finally he was rescued from Golovkin’s fists in the tenth.
And then there was the amateur footage from the 2003 World Championships in Thailand, when wearing a headguard wasn’t enough to prevent future world champion Lucian Bute from being separated from his senses by a single vicious Golovkin right hand.
Taken together, they created something of an underground legend, of a Kazakh-born, German-based middleweight who arguably sometimes got hit a little bit more than perhaps he should, but who rarely had to worry about being troubled by incoming artillery because his own ammunition was so destructive.
And then, suddenly, the cat was out of the bag.
His HBO debut, in September last year, was well-deserved. And it promised to be a competitive outing: his opponent, Grzegorz Proksa, was a once-beaten, never-dropped European middleweight champion, who had avenged his one majority decision loss with a TKO victory. He entered as the underdog against Golovkin, but a live one; he at least would likely not be blown away by the Kazakh-born fighter the way so many before him had been.
And then the bell rang. Proksa was down in the first. He was down in the fourth. He was down again in the fifth, face-first this time, and although he hailed himself to his feet he was in no position to continue.
On January 19 Golovkin is back in the United States, and back on HBO, this time against Gabriel Rosado. Rosado, like Proksa, is a solid, highly-regarded fighter. He is on an impressive winning streak. He too is talking confidently of defeating Golovkin.
But as all 24 previous opponents have found, it is one thing to be confident against Golovkin before stepping into the ring. It is another thing entirely when the punches bounce off his iron chin and his own blows detonate with concussive impact. That is the challenge that Rosado will face on January 19.
And that’s no secret.