The weekend’s bout in London between Kell Brook and Gennady Golovkin is not just a title decider, but a top level exam in the middleweight division to see whether Brook can handle the heavier fighters.
Golovkin, nicknamed the ‘God of War’ is a looming figure over Brook, physically and psychologically, and any beliefs the 30-year-old Yorkshireman had that this fight would be anything other than dangerous should be swiftly extinguished; more so when one examines his opponent closely.
Unbeaten in 35 fights is a decent effort. The 32 knockouts, impressive. What is worrying for anyone in Brook’s camp is that the 34 year old has NEVER been knocked to the canvas in 375 fights, as an amateur and a professional. To stay he has a steel chin is an understatement.
Martin Murray came up against Golovkin in early 2015 and, to his credit, was the first man to take the Kazakh into the 11th round of any bout. Speaking afterwards, Murray said “The only way to beat Golovkin is to push him back and come forward. Everyone knows Golovkin can punch but I was surprised by his variety. He opened up to me in a way no one had ever done before. I just didn’t know where a lot of the shots were coming from and I didn’t even see the first shot that put me down.”
“He’s got everything. His timing, range, distance, movement and speed are all first class” Murray said of Golovkin, who took silver at the 2004 Olympics when he was 22 years old.
The fight itself is set to be hyped as one of the most important in recent times. Perhaps not to the same extent as Mayweather/Pacquaio or indeed Fury/Klitschko, but for the sheer bravery Brook has already demonstrated in taking a fight that most of his fellow boxers would have avoided simply to preserve their dignity.
To compare, Floyd Mayweather Jr. is a boxer who has built his success on the premise of a watertight defence, almost poetic and graceful movement, and sparse, yet effective, jabs. He can go a full 12 rounds of boxing maintaining his defence and wearing his opponent down by appearing completely unaffected by shots to his person. On the opposite side of this, Golovkin is the mercenary; a weapon of relentless power and speed who throws shot after shot in a blitz of fury. His bout against Curtis Stevens, in which GGG (as is his handle) subjected the then #9th ranked middleweight boxer to a blizzard of ferocious punches from the first bell until the bouts end in the 8th, is testament to his skills as an aggressive, yet methodical, attacker.
Brook, to his own credit, is unbeaten in 36 fights, and has defended his IBF welterweight title on three occasions since defeating Shawn Porter in 2014. But the two-weight jump he has subjected himself to is diifficult enough. But challenging the number one ranked middleweight boxer in the world, who seemingly cannot be knocked down, may very well be his own undoing.