LOS ANGELES, September 10, 2016 – In a performance he and his trainer critiqued as “perhaps a four,” middleweight champion Gennady “GGG” Golovkin of Kazakhstan (36-0, 33 KOs) defeated welterweight champion Kell Brook of Great Britain (36-1, 25 KOs) by a fifth round TKO when Brook’s trainer Dominic Ingle had the fight stopped, a disappointment to Brook’s many fans at The O2 Arena in London.
Brook, coming up from 147 pound to the 160 middleweight division for the first time, had good moments and fought with tremendous heart and courage against the much feared Golovkin. He was able to score with good upper cuts and used his superior speed to advantage.
But even with what he considers a subpar performance, Golovkin was too powerful and is too skilled at cutting off the ring for Brook to be able to stick and move like he needed to prevail in the bout. The stoppage preserves a 23 fight knockout streak, a perfect record and the highest knockout percentage in the middleweight division.
The single best punch in the bout came in the first round, one of Golovkin’s trademark left hooks to the liver. It staggered Brook, but thanks to his experience he was able to hold and do what was necessary to last the round.
Although Brook was still fighting with plenty of pop, his right eye suffered damage early in the bout and was badly swollen. Brook said after the fight he was having trouble seeing out of it, and Ingle believed Brook wasn’t in a position to win the fight after taking significant and increasing amounts of punishment from the hard punching Golovkin. Ingle waved the towel from the corner and then stepped into the line of sight of referee Marlon Wright, who acknowledged Ingle and stopped the bout to the astonishment of the fans at the O2 Arena and every boxing fan watching at home.
CompuBox numbers show Golovkin landing 44.2 percent of total punches (131 of 301), Brook 32.6 percent (85/261), with Golovkin landing 75 power punches to Brook’s 60. Surprisingly, Golovkin landed more than double the number of jabs as Brook, 58 of 110 to 25 of 99.
After the bout, Golovkin and trainer Abel Sanchez answered questions from HBO’s Jim Lampley about his performance, and also responded to rumors that he was feeling ill.
“Not true, I feel great,” said Golovkin. Golovkin said the speculation was because he wasn’t his usual genial smiling self. “Because I not smile, this is serious business. I understand my situation in the middleweight division.” Sanchez said Golovkin wasn’t smiling Friday because of an hour and 40 minute long trip to the weigh-in, which made Golovkin irritable. “He wanted to get on the scale and get out of there.”
Golovkin said, “I feel after the first round he is not a middleweight and I’m not scared.” But he was uncharacteristically critical of his performance. “My performance, three or four. Not good, but I always bring the drama show.”
Golovkin said Brook decided to make the fight a brawl, “not boxing world class,” and Golovkin said it was “like sparring.” Sanchez said he wanted Golovkin to use his jab, as he did with such mastery in his fight last year against David Lemieux. “He’s a welterweight with faster hands and faster feet. We knew he would be fast, but we knew it would be a matter of time,” said Sanchez. He wanted Golovkin to take his time and wear Brook down, instead of trying so hard for a lights out knockout punch.
A clearly disappointed Brook told HBO’s Jim Lampley trainer Dominic Ingle stopped the fight to protect him from suffering any more serious damage to his eye. “A few rounds before (the stoppage) I told him my eye was gone. Triple G, I could see three or four of him in my right eye.
“I’m very frustrated I had so much more to give,” said Brook. “I stood there at times, I was starting to settle in and I believe I would have took over.
“It’s hard to explain. The fact it, he’s a warrior. It’s hard when I can’t see out of one eye. With a fight of this magnitude it should have carried on,” said Brook. But he acknowledged that Dominic Ingle had worked with him since he was nine years old, and he wanted to protect and preserve his health.
It would do well for all boxing fans disappointed with the stoppage to recall the great former IBF and WBC super-bantamweight champion Israel Vasquez of Mexico, who retired in 2010 after a fourth fight with arch rival Rafael Marquez. The 38 year old Vasquez had his right eye removed two months ago after years of problems caused accumulated damage from boxing. Boxers have many more years ahead of them in life after they leave the ring.
UPDATE, 10:15 pm ET: Matchroom Boxing promoter Eddie Hearn confirms Kell Brook’s orbital bone is broken, and he will undergo surgery in Sheffield, England on Monday.
From this perspective it’s easier to understand Ingle’s decision. Brook has an incredibly bright future in the 154-pound super welterweight division with exciting competition waiting for him there. He confirmed he doesn’t intend to return to the welterweight division. “It was so easy, to come up to 160. I’ll be strong and comfortable at 154 and I’ll take over the 154 division,” said Brook. Don’t doubt it for a second.
As for Golovkin’s future, there were several lessons he learned in this bout, and he and trainer Sanchez will need to work on his head movement and resurrect the effective jab he used so well against Lemieux. Meantime, several would-be foes called him out on social media, including WBA middleweight title holder Daniel Jacobs. Although there are promotional issues to work through, it’s a fight fans would love to see.
Canelo Alvarez and Billy Joe Saunders remain in the mix. Saunders has one of the few titles Golovkin needs to unify the middleweight division, the WBO title. This is who Golovkin prefers to fight next. Saunders has talked big but isn’t backing it up.
Alvarez is the lineal middleweight champion. After Alvarez has his bout with Liam Smith at 154 pounds next weekend, the drumbeat will start up again in earnest for Alvarez and Golovkin to meet in the ring. It’s likely still at least a year away. In the meantime, Golovkin would be smart to continue testing his techniques against other foes.
See the entire post-fight news conference here courtesy of FightHub.
Gayle Lynn Falkenthal, APR, is President/Owner of the Falcon Valley Group in San Diego, California. She is also a serious boxing fan covering the Sweet Science for Communities. Read more Ringside Seat in Communities Digital News. Follow Gayle on Facebook and on Twitter @PRProSanDiego.
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