Let us first clear up this deception by Gennady Golovkin with regard to his claims that his style – a stereotypical and racist notion of fighting like a Mexican – can defeat any other style. Specifically, Golovkin's most recent opponent, Willie Monroe, Jr., was the “slick boxer” style, whereas David Lemieux is the “aggressive brawler” style.
Golovkin is no first and no last with respect to the streaks that punchers endure when facing a certain level of competition. At light heavyweight, heavy-handed puncher Artur Beterbiev currently enjoys an undefeated record on the basis of no one being able to endure his punching power. Julio Cesar Chavez, Jr., who recently has shown his severe lack of skill, was almost unbeatable during his time at middleweight because of his power.
At no point in his professional career has Golovkin faced an opponent who brought a complete skillset to the table. Willie Monroe was a jabber and mover, but he was not technically very sound, had no puncher power, and very little punch resistance. Martin Murray has proven to be the most durable of Golovkin opponents, but lacked punching power and skills. Here, Lemieux brings punching power to the table, but with no refinement of skill and questionable durability.
In every case so far, Golovkin's punching power – derived from the heavy bone structure of his hands and forearms – and durability – as a result of muscle-fiber type and high-altitude training – have won out.
Golovkin is praised for his ability to cut off the ring. But this is not because he is fast on his feet. Frankly, Golovkin seems to lack athleticism. Golovkin cuts off the ring well because he takes large deliberate steps and straight paths to where his opponent is going to be...without regard or concern of any real punching power coming towards him. He forces his opponent to burn energy having to move. Eventually his tired and stationary opponent can no longer elude him. But this pressure style is based on Golovkin's own punching power.
The crack of a weak chin is not present in Golovkin. This has nothing to do with his feigned “gladiator” toughness that he is now promoting. Golovkin is built like an endurance athlete who, unlike Lemieux, never demonstrates an explosive quickness but is good for the long haul. His cardiorespiratory fitness and nervous system attributes allow him to absorb shots to the head and body. Perhaps like Ruslan Provodnikov, some form of masochism lives within him.
As of now, it is the lack of the requisite physical traits of his opponents that have allowed Golovkin to have such success. Such traits as damaging punching power, punch resistance, endurance. These traits alone, without a high degree of skill, would push Golovkin to the max.
Golovkin pummels the courageous Martin Murray during their world title bout in February.
Golovkin has a 70-inch reach, slow hands, penetrable defense, and does not fight well on this inside. Golovkin's trainer, Abel Sanchez, urges us to look at punch statistics that show that Golovkin's defense is solid. That is misleading. For Golovkin's opponents do not step to him with meaningful punches intended to hurt, being selective and patient because they have the ability to hurt Golovkin with one punch with either hand. No, Golovkin's opponents waste inaccurate punches moving away from him; punches that are meant maintain space or create hesitancy rather than to land significantly. We are now being sold the lie that David Lemieux is a real test for Golovkin because of his power.
One can read my review of Lemieux's fight with N'Dam where I espounded on how technically awful Lemieux looked. Outside of his punching power we see in Lemieux a fighter who does not move his head, keeps his lead hand down, and does not move his feet quickly enough to get inside at the angles to get the best leverage on his punches, especially his left hook. Lemieux, going by what we have seen so far, is tailor-made for Golovkin who will want to fight tall landing his jab and straight right hand and then surprising Lemieux with left hooks once he is wary of the right hand.
Going back to Golovkin's success relying mainly on his physical attributes. Golovkin has decided that Saul Alvarez would defeat Miguel Cotto because of his presumed size and strength advantages and that for that very reason Saul Alvarez would be a greater challenge for himself rather than Cotto. In the same breath, Golovkin is trying to cherrypick a fight with Floyd Mayweather who is at least two weight divisions south of himself...because he would have a decisive size advantage. But notice how Golovkin has ducked and dodged Andre Ward who would neutralize these advantages. To be sure, Abel Sanchez has admitted that Golovkin would need to develop his skill set more to deal with Ward.
Time after time, Golovkin by his own words has made it clear that his opponents' physical limitations have given him the edge. In Lemieux, we have a fighter who, in the first several rounds, is faster and more explosive than Golovkin and perhaps has greater one punch knockout ability on those grounds, but also a fighter who fades over the course.
But let us give Golovkin some credit for the technical skills he does possess, all of which revolve around his power. Golovkin uses his jab well to set up his right hand, and his right hand to set up his left hook. His jab works so well because his opponent has to respect the power behind it. A soft jab can be ignored or timed in anticipation of what proceeds it, ala Mayweather-Berto. Beyond the jab, any punch of Golovkin's is successful because having power in both hands means that his opponent cannot commit to protecting against one form of attach over another. Moreover, having solid punching power means Golovkin does not need to throw a barrage of punches; he can be patient and land that meaningful one, such as when he landed a left hook on Willie Monroe while Monroe was trapped on the ropes.
Golovkin uses his power extraordinarily well. However, what he does well revolves around his power, which is primarily rooted in his bone structure.
We will learn nothing more about Golovkin until he fights someone who can handle his power for twelve rounds and offer something meaningful in return.
Golovkin-Lemieux airs on HBO Pay-Per-View Saturday, October 17, at 9pm US Eastern. This is a unification bout in the Middleweight division. Golovkin is the WBA champion while Lemieux holds the IBF title. The winner has been quasi-guaranteed a shot at the winner of Cotto-Alvarez for the WBC Middleweight title.