Every lengthy reign in boxing history has had its share of "easy" defenses against unheralded opponents. Joe Louis had his "Bum of the Month" club while Bernard Hopkins fought the likes of Morrade Hakkar, Andrew Council and Steve Frank during his record 10-year, 20-defense middleweight reign. Gennady Golovkin, who will be making the 11th defense of his "full" title and the 16th if one counts his time holding a subordinate belt, is being criticized for his level of opposition, and with challengers like Dominic Wade, who is coming off the longest layoff of his career as well as a highly questionable decision over Sam Soliman last time out, won't help change minds about his worth of his reign. All "GGG" can do is what he's been doing -- scoring KOs -- and many believe Wade will become his 22nd straight KO victim.
Master Class: Most pundits believed Golovkin's showdown with IBF titlist David Lemieux would be a slugfest of the Hagler-Hearns order but instead Golovkin transformed it into a jabbing tutorial. The numbers are extraordinary: His 170 jab connects in less than eight rounds was the most he landed in 16 of his fights tracked by CompuBox. His 22.6 connects per round more than quadrupled the division average while nearly duplicating the average number of attempts per round (23.2). GGG also landed a personal best 29 jabs in round two vs. Lemieux. His 47% precision more than doubled the 21.1% division norm. Yet he maintained a healthy pace (73.1 per round to Lemieux's 44.6), landed his blows at sky-high rates (51% overall, 58% power) while holding Lemieux to 44.6 punches per round and connect rates of 27% overall, 18% jabs and 38% power. His connect gaps were wide (280-89 overall, 170-35 jabs, 110-54 power) and his 35 connects per round doubled the 16.8 division norm. In his last 10 fights, GGG landed 10.8 jabs per round (#1 among champ. caliber fighters and double the CompuBox avg); compiled a +15.4 rating (#3 among champ. caliber fighters) andlanded 27.6 punches per round (#3- -middle avg.: 17). GGG racked up 134 points on the CompuBox Categorical Points Leaders list (see attached), second only to Leo Santa Cruz's 148 points.
A Leap Too Far?: Give Wade credit for this: He's fearless and he's willing to suffer growing pains. That's what has happened in two of his last three fights and he's still undefeated. His points win over Nick Brinson was his first journey past six rounds and his gas tank was running on fumes well before the final bell. He averaged 55.3 punches per round in the first four rounds and led 57-37 overall at that point, but from round five forward his volume dropped to 40.5 while Brinson's accelerated from 33.8 to 57.2, including 73 punches in the final round. Wade fought just well enough to retain connect leads of 132-109 and 69-66 power. Then, last time out against former titlist Sam Soliman, Wade was bothered by Soliman's movement, unusual punching angles and grappling but a fourth-round knockdown saved him from a draw, and some say, a defeat given he was out-landed 98-74 overall and 64-35 power while being held to 31.7 punches per round to Soliman's 45. As for his pacing, it was even but it was painfully slow (31 punches in the first and his 38 in the final round was his highest total). Politics might have saved him against the 41-year-old Aussie, but will they help him here?
Prediction: In a word, no. Golovkin occupies a different universe than Wade's previous foes and if he struggles against the likes of Soliman what will happen to him against GGG? A knockout defeat at the moment of Golovkin's choosing.