FROM STEVE BRENNER IN NEW YORK
Gennady Golovkin never fails to impress.
The man from Kazakhstan was afforded his first ever big pay-per-view US showcase here with the eyes of the world transfixed upon Madison Square Garden and his bid to unify the middleweight division.
At the end of eight dynamic, razor sharp rounds, IBF champion David Lemieux simply couldn’t take any more punishment, his bloodied nose a brutal illustration of the damage delivered by Golovokin’s rapier like jabs and crushing hooks which whirled with devastating accuracy from the very first bell until the last.
This was a supreme performance from a supreme athlete who now has the world firmly at his feet.
Following Floyd Mayweather’s supposed retirement and Manny Pacquiao soon set to follow, boxing needs a new superstar leader.
Golovkin can fill the void after coming through his toughest test to date with clinical efficiency and style.
“Gennady was on a different level, ” admitted coach Abel Sanchez. “His jab was magnificent.”
The 33 year-old’s record has now stretched to 34 fights without defeat , including 21 stoppages in a row. To put that into context, his knock-out percentage is now better than Mike Tyson’s following the same amount of bouts.
His Canadian opponent certainly had his moments – a flurry of activity late in the fifth had Golovkin on his toes – yet , in truth, the result was never doubt and when referee Steve Willis finally stepped in with 1 minute 28 seconds left in the eighth, Lemieux’s corner could have no arguments.
Ultimately, the stats told a story of pure and utter dominance from the best , and most exciting, pound for pound talent on the planet. He connected with 280 out of 549 punches thrown compared to Lemieux’s total of hitting with just 89 of 335.
Golovokin average 21 jabs a round – a rate Lemieux, let alone anyone else, was able to cope with. ( Compubox stats revealed that was , incredibly , four times the middleweight average.)
What happens next will prove equally as fascinating and undoubtedly more dramatic.
The next so called superfight this side of the Atlantic will see Miguel Cotto and Canelo Alverez meet in November with the newly unified middleweight champion of the world surely awaiting the winner. Irishman Andy Lee, the WBO title holder, could be another interesting option.
That , however , is for then.
On this evidence, no-one would relish entering the ring with Triple G.
“I am so proud to have unified the belts on what was a huge night for me, “ said Golovkin.
“That was my goal. What happens next, will happen. I am making a new story for myself. Myself and David had a different style but I was ready for anything.
“I have respect for Cotto and Canelo. We will see.”
The atmosphere inside a packed Madison Square Garden was electric from the off. The only groans from the 20,000 crowd came whenever Donald Trump’s face was beamed onto the huge screens.
Trump’s presence at ringside certainly angered many – he also popped up in Golovkin’s changing room before the fight, canvassing for votes is clearly a non-stop affair – yet any unhappiness soon dissipated once both fighters strode into the ring.
The brilliant Nicaraguan flyweight world champion Roman ‘ Chocolatito’ Gonzalez had already served notice of just why many believe he, and not the Kazakh, is the best pound for pound fighter on the planet after extending his perfect record to 44 wins by stopping Brian Viloria in the ninth round.
It was a superbly slick and dynamic performance from Gonzalez.
That , however, was merely the hors d’oeurve for the main course which has had the Big Apple salivating for weeks. No-one departed this old arena disappointed.
Golovkin’s pure attacking intent had everyone on the edge of their seats from the very first bell. Lemieux was tentative , and understandably wary of what stood in front of him. The Kazakh had landed 22 jabs to 1 as the first round came to an end.
Those numbers served notice of what was to follow.
Golovkin was picking off the 26 year-old beautifully, continuing to outpunch him while effortlessly avoiding anything which came his way. It was already looking ominous yet Lemieux, to his credit, began to awaken in the third. His attacking intent was full of endeavor though the end product was lacking.
Multiple left hooks and jabs continue to pepper Lemieux’s face and when a fierce bodyshot sent him to his knees, the writing was already very much on the wall. The bell saved the Canadian though the inevitable was only being delayed.
As blood began to redden his face, Golovkin went for the kill with a relentless flurry of punches from both sides which left his opponent utterly helpless and crestfallen.
“I thought it was stopped too early but I have a lot of respect for him, he’s a great champion, “ said Lemieux. “His jab was his best punch of the night but I think I could have done more. He wasn’t that powerful.”
“What will happen in the future with Golovkin will be very exciting, “ added former heavyweight champion Lennox Lewis .
It was impossible to disagree.