London, England – Reigning IBO, WBC, WBA and IBF middleweight champion, Gennady ‘GGG’ Golovkin made a return to the ring in front a sold out O2 Arena to face welterweight champ, Kell Brook. In the lead up to the fight, Kell Brook’s decision to jump up two weight classes was questioned by many, being that he was not just moving up in weight, but set to square off with one of the most feared fighters in the sport. Nevertheless, Brook was backed by the UK audience to pull off one of the bigger upsets in recent years. Both fighters entered the ring with unblemished records, Kell Brook having a record of 36-0 with 25 knockout wins, compared to Golovkin’s 35-0 record with 32 wins coming by stoppage.
As the fight started, Kell Brook was immediately on the back foot, with Golovkin moving quickly towards him. Both fighters looked to establish their jabs early on in the round. It didn’t take long for Gennady Golovkin to close the gap and land the first meaningful punches of the fight, hurting Kell Brook. An early stoppage seemed close, but Kell Brook held on to escape the first round.
Golovkin maintained the pressure in the second round, walking him down with no respect for his power. Kell Brook managed to land counter shots as Golovkin rushed in. The highlight of the round was a perfectly placed uppercut from Brook that snapped the head of Golovkin back, sending the crowd at the O2 arena to its feet. ‘Special K’ managed to land a flurry of shots which kept ‘GGG’ at bay for the remainder of the round.
In the third round, Golovkin came after Brook with a stronger sense of urgency, looking to turn the tide of the fight back in his favor. Both fighters had their moments but the power of Golovkin was what set the two apart. Both fighters landed clean jabs, but Golovkin’s landed with more conviction, as was evident from the swelling under the eye of the Brit fighter.
In round four, Golovkin continued his attack, looking almost desperate to end the fight with one big blow, and often finding himself out of position after missing with his looping left hook. Kell was able to counter effectively but his power was not having an effect on ‘GGG’.
As round five commenced, the middleweight champ was able to pin Brook on the ropes with greater ease, and began unloading hard power shots to the head and body. Surprisingly, Kell Brook withstood the initial onslaught and waved Golovkin in. ‘GGG’ replied with more punishing blows, which eventually led to a corner stoppage from Brook’s corner. Kell looked surprised by his trainer’s decision to throw the towel in, but it seemed like a fair stoppage seeing how he was becoming more stationary and more open to the shots of Golovkin.
With the TKO5 win, Gennady Golovkin retained his status as the universally recognized middleweight champion and he also broadened his fan base and stardom. In the post fight interview, Golovkin spoke of his desire to attain all the belts and potentially face WBO middleweight champion Billy Joe Sanders next. A fight with Sanders was discussed in the past, but Sanders declined a four million dollar payday. Now that Golovkin has expanded his appeal in the UK and has all but one of the belts, the chances of this fight happening are more likely then before.
Whatever direction Gennady Golovkin goes next, he showed once again that he is the most dominant fighter in all of boxing, as he not only extended his knockout streak, he also defeated one of the rising stars of the sport and kept alive the hope that a Golovkin vs. Alvarez fight can still be made. As for the future Kell Brook, he showed his skills at the highest level, had some success, but simply proved to be too small for Golovkin and his future seems best suited to a move down to 154lbs, a division that is open for a rising star.
Many felt in the pre-fight build up that Golovkin-Brook was a mismatch on paper and while there were some interesting rounds, it proved to be in the fight. There are weight classes in boxing for a reason and while some fighters can move up and be successful, there is a limit to every class and sometimes the jump is too big, something Amir Khan found out against Saul Alvarez and something that was repeated with Kell Brook in there with Gennady Golovkin.