A star shined bright in Verona, New York yesterday as Gennady Golovkin (24-0 21KO) of Kazakhstan lived up to and exceeded expectations by brutalizing a good fighter in Grzegorz Proska (28-2 21KO) within five rounds.
Golovkin came into the fight with high expectations considering his amateur background and the many scary sparring stories that have been floating around. Golovkin seemed to prove those stories to be true as he dropped Proska in the first and fourth round before scoring a TKO victory in the fifth.
Proska, of Poland, is what I can only describe as an imitation of Sergio Martinez in terms of his style. Obviously, he lacks the speed, power, and ring intelligence of Martinez but nevertheless Proska is an excellent fighter who has scored impressive victories over the likes of Sebastian Sylvester and Kerry Hope. Coming into this fight, he had never been dropped as a pro or amateur and had never been physically beaten up. Golovkin ended up changing those facts.
Golovkin made it clear who was the stronger fighter as he knocked down Proska with a short right hand in the opening round. Golovkin followed that by punishing Proska to the body with left hooks and smashing his face with looping right hands. In fact, a devastating left hook followed by a left uppercut and hook dropped Proska again in the fourth.
The end finally came in the fifth as Golovkin put Proska on his face with a devastating combination. Proska was able to get up but the referee had seen enough and waved the fight off. Props should be given to Proska for never giving up, even when Golovkin put him flat on his chest.
This was Golovkin’s first fight in the United States and what a smashing debut for him. He took a really good fighter in Proska and made him look like a little kid. He showed a beautiful mix of power, boxing ability, footwork, and accuracy. As a writer, I usually don’t like to jump on bandwagons due to the number of overhyped fighters out there (Jonathan Gonzalez *ahem*) but Golovkin has proven to me and I’m sure many other initial skeptics that he is indeed the real deal. The rest of the middleweights need to keep an eye on this guy, especially Sergio Martinez and Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. When Golovkin says that he will fight the elite of the division from 154-168, I believe him. I also believe that Golovkin is capable of beating anybody within those weights. I’m not saying I would favor him against everyone, but he definitely has the tools to accomplish great things in boxing. He’s made a fan out of me.
Since I mentioned his name, I guess I’ll talk about the Jonathan Gonzalez vs. Sergiy Dzinziruk fight. For those who don’t know, Gonzalez (15-0-1 13KO) showed exteme irresponsibility and lack of respect for himself, his opponent, and boxing in general by coming into the fight 9 POUNDS over the weight limit. Sergiy came into the fight overweight only because the Gonzalez camp told him to forget about trying to make the weight. The result was a significant purse increase for the Ukrainian fighter at the expense of Gonzalez
In spite of this bought advantage, Gonzalez struggled to get a draw against Dzinziruk (37-1-1 23KO) due to fighting in sporadic bursts. Whenever he did let his hands go, he did damage. But, due to either his weight or something else, he didn’t fight all three minutes of each round and as a result he was forced to settle for a draw.
I would applaud Gonzalez for his ability to hurt Dzinziruk at times but the obvious weight advantage tainted his performance. How do we know he could actually have done what he was able to do if he actually made the weight limit? If HBO is smart, they’ll punish Gonzalez by not airing any near future fights of his.
As for Dzinziruk, poor guy. He moves up in weight to fight Martinez, getting destroyed in his attempt, becomes inactive due to injuries and managerial problems, decides to fight in the weight class he is most comfortable at, but the other guy decided to give the birdie to the weight limit and Dzinziruk ends up really fighting a super middleweight. He hasn’t done himself any favors by being inactive for so long but he is clearly the sympathetic character in this story. Hopefully, he’ll quickly rebound and become more active.