NEW YORK — Three thoughts on Gennady Golovkin’s knockout win of Curtis Stevens:
The Golovkin train rolls on: Since making his U.S. debut in September, 2012, Golovkin has been leaving a trail of flattened middleweight contenders in his wake. You can add Stevens to the list. Stevens talked a good game coming into the fight, even hosting — and posting on Twitter — a fake funeral for Golovkin. But when the bell rang, he wasn’t much more of a threat than many of Golovkin’s previous opponents. From the first round on, Golovkin stalked Stevens, pushing him to the ropes, hammering him with power shots to the head and body. Stevens did what he could to counter, tagging Golovkin with several hard hooks and straight right hands, landing flusher than any Golovkin opponent in recent memory. But Golovkin just smiled and walked right through them. In the second round Golovkin landed two left hooks that knocked Stevens to the canvas, putting a look on his face that is already a GIF classic. In the eighth round, Golovkin landed a whopping 56 of his 101 power shots. When the bell rang to the end the eighth, referee Harvey Dock walked to Stevens’ corner and told them he was going to stop the bout. Stevens’ trainer and uncle, Andre Rozier, agreed.
Let’s see Stevens again: I’m not sure any middleweight could do much with Golovkin — he has an iron chin and blistering punching power. But Stevens (25-4) has looked strong since dropping back down to middleweight early last year. HBO is heavily invested in the middleweight division — they work closely with titleholders Golovkin, Sergio Martinez and Darren Barker — and have put contenders like Matthew Macklin, Andy Lee and Daniel Geale on the network. Stevens’ eye-popping power makes him television friendly, and there are plenty of opponents he can beat.
“This is not the end for me,” Stevens said. “I showed more in a loss than most people showed in a win. I will learn from my mistakes and I’ll be back.”
Where to, Gennady?: The more opponents Golovkin (28-0) steamrolls, the less likely it is an elite opponent is going to rush into the ring with him, unless there is a pot of gold waiting there for him. That means no immediate showdowns with Barker, Martinez or Peter Quillin, a Golden Boy-promoted fighter who is committed to Showtime.
Promoter Tom Loeffler said that Golovkin would return Feb. 1, in Monte Carlo. Expect Golovkin to face an opponent more in line with Nobuhiro Ishida, whom Golovkin blasted out last March in Monte Carlo. Privately, Golovkin’s team would love a shot at Andre Ward, the super middleweight kingpin who returns to the ring after a long layoff in November. And Golovkin called out Martinez immediately after the fight. Martinez is eyeballing a showdown with Miguel Cotto, but if HBO can make the money work a Golovkin fight at 168 pounds would be fascinating; Ward may be the only man in boxing few are sure that Golovkin can beat.