Photo: Ed Mulholland
By Gordon Marino
When pressed about the Gennady “GGG” Golovkin versus Kell Brook bout on Sept. 10 (5:30 PM ET/PT, HBO), most boxing stars shake their heads, praise the baby-faced Golovkin as a “monster” and then give Brook a verbal slap on the back for possessing a certain part of the male anatomy.
It is highly unusual to have the warrior kings talk about one of their boxing brethren as though he were in a different galaxy of abilities. Freddie Roach recently stated that “GGG is the best pound-for-pound fighter in the world today,” adding that there is no one in the neighborhood of 160 pounds who can beat him.
Golovkin is riding a 22-fight knockout streak. He has concussive power in both paws. He deftly sets up the final act of his “big drama shows” using a jab or attention-getting uppercut down the middle followed by a pulverizing left hook to the body. Although Golovkin’s mace-like hook seems to be his favorite instrument of destruction, his trainer, Abel Sanchez, insists that Golovkin’s right is even more powerful.
Does the IBF welterweight champ stand a chance against one of the hardest punching middleweights in boxing history?
Though an inch-and-a-half shorter than the 34-year-old Golovkin, Brook is a broad-shouldered welterweight who has already fought as high as 155 pounds. At 30, the Sheffield, England, native has the advantage of youth as well as the home-field edge. “The Special One” possesses a fast, stinging jab, which he frequently doubles up and follows with an explosive right hand. When Brook, who packs a potent uppercut, is on his game, he will then slide right and bring another combination.
Brook relies heavily upon his right when he wants to bring the hurt. But as Golovkin displayed in his stoppage of Daniel Geale, GGG has that special ability to simultaneously take and give punishment. Brook’s hot rod of a right hand will leave parking space for GGG’s left hook or counter right.
In order to climb Mt. Golovkin, you need the ability to move in addition to possessing punching power to put sand in GGG’s offense. Fast as he is, Brook is not particularly elusive. He can crack. If his weight of 176 pounds at the 30-day check-in and his pre-fight comments are any indication, Brook has every intention of giving Golovkin a taste of his power from the opening bell. But it will not be easy to put a speed bump in GGG’s attack.
Sanchez claims we have seen Golovkin at only 70 percent to 80 percent of his best. Perhaps one area of improvement for GGG is head movement. Brook can count on the fact that the boxing beast in front of him is hittable; the bad news is that GGG‘s face has never been busted up and so far his neural circuitry seems impervious to gloved fists.
Still, history serves as a reminder of future possibilities. In 1957, Sugar Ray Robinson scored one of the most dramatic knockouts in history when he tucked away the preternaturally rugged Gene Fullmer with one short left hook. Every sweet scientist, GGG included, has a not-so-sweet spot. Hit it and the black lights go on.