SAN DIEGO, Calif., June 8, 2019 – Fans at Madison Square Garden got exactly what they came to see: the Big Drama Show. Former middleweight champion Gennadiy “Triple G” Golovkin gave them the Big Drama Show in the form of a brilliant knockout via a left hook to the head, stopping previously undefeated Steve Rolls of Toronto at 2:09 of the fourth round.
But let’s slow our roll a little. Rolls didn’t show up just for the paycheck. He stepped right in front of Golovkin and made him work for the win. Rolls scored at times with good snapping jabs and hooks, especially in the second and third round. But he wasn’t busy enough. Golovkin (39-1-1, 35 KOs), who is economical with his punch output, still outworked Rolls (19-1, 10 KOs). He went around Rolls’ guard to the body with the left hook no one wants to see thrown at them.
In the fourth round, Golovkin stepped on the gas, and landed right and left hands to the head. One of the right hands landed at the temple, the same punch Andy Ruiz Jr. landed in the third round against Anthony Joshua. Just like Joshua, Rolls was knocked off balance. Golovkin saw it, and was able to capitalize on it, blasting him with shots. Rolls was on his feet but you could see Golovkin looking for the opportunity to close the show. It came courtesy of a lights out left hook. Rolls dropped to the canvas face first. He struggled to get up as referee Steve Willis counted him out, and the fight was over.
“Right now, I feel completely different, I come back with my knockout. I come back, guys” said a smiling Golovkin after the win. “I feel like a teenager, like the first time … thank you my people who support me, my people from Kazakhstan. This is my present to you.”
“After the first round, I tell Johnathan Banks, ‘OK, OK, I see, I can take my time.”
Golovkin: See you in September, Canelo
Golovkin didn’t demonstrate any radical changes in fight style. He has only worked with Banks for a few weeks, and at 37 years old it’s more a matter of refining specific skills such as defensive position and punch selection and output. Banks said at the post-fight news conference he’s most interested in helping Golovkin work on his strengths, not pick him apart. Banks understands what’s most important: the win gives GGG an intangible shot of confidence, and now he and Golovkin can work toward his main goal: a third fight with Canelo Alvarez.
“Everybody knows, everyone knows,” said Golvokin when asked what he want to do next. “I’m ready in September, just bring him, ask him. If you want a Big Drama Show, tell Canelo … Third fight is more interesting. Probably he comes forward and I come forward, we have good experience. It’s amazing for us.”
Golovkin says the third fight isn’t really about getting his belts back. “I feel right now like the people’s champ. Doesn’t matter for me, I just want to beat him. I want, I want guys!” said Golovkin.
Promoter Tom Loeffler and Golovkin will work with DAZN executive chairman John Skipper next week to try and reach an agreement starting next week with Alvarez and Oscar De La Hoya of Golden Boy Boxing. Loeffler says it needs to come about sooner rather than later to give all parties ample time to promote the fight. One thing is certain. Golovkin will do whatever he can to avoid the fight taking place in Las Vegas. He prefers going back to Madison Square Garden, but Los Angeles and AT&T Stadium in Texas are probably options too.
Akhmedov walks through McDaniel in three rounds
Golovkin protégé Ali Akhmedov of Kazakhstan (15-0, 11 KOs) needed just three rounds to stop Marcus McDaniel of Philadelphia (15-1, 2 KOs) in their junior middleweight fight. Akhmedov is a power puncher with surgical precision. He chooses his punches and delivers with serious intentions. Remind you of anyone?
McDaniel had never been knocked down or stopped. Akhmedov delivered a right to the temple midway through the third. McDaniel tried to steady himself, but Akhmedov moved in and McDaniel ended up on his knees. Referee Benjy Esteves delivered the count. McDaniel got on his feet, but when Esteves asked him to walk toward him, he wandered in the opposite direction and Esteves stopped the fight. McDaniel and his corner protested, but it was the right call at 1:41 of the round.
“I feel great, we’ve done a great job, and I was completely ready,” said Akhmeov. “This was my dream to perform at Madison Square Garden. I’m here, and I’m happy. I was completely controlling the situation. I was listing to my trainer in the corner, and we did a great job. It was Ahkmedov’s first fight at super middleweight and it suits him.
Brian Ceballo lets his skills shine
Brian Ceballo of Brooklyn (9-0, 4 KOs) put on a terrific show of skills against Bakhtiyar Eyubov (14-1-1, 12 KOs) in his first eight round fight, winning a definitive unanimous decision. Scorecards were 80-72, 79-73, and 78-74. Ceballo’s amateur pedigree including five national Golden Gloves championships was on full display as he was the busier, more active fighter against Eyubov, who relies on his power and looks to land the one big shot to end a fight. It didn’t happen. Ceballo fought from outside with an impressive array of punches, including 65 jabs landed to just six for Eyubov.
Ceballo wasn’t afraid to mix up power shots to body and head, wearing Eyubov down. By the later rounds, Ceballo was willing to mix it up and give the fans a show. Eyubov was still dangerous, but most of the steam was off his punches. The pair traded for the last minute of the final round, getting the crowd on its feet. They’ll remember Ceballo and so will fans who saw him perform for the first time.
Ceballo said he did what he had to do to win tonight. “He was a tough opponent, we knew that coming in. We had another opponent lined up but (promoter) Tom Loeffler said If you want to be on this card, you have to take a tougher opponent. It was a chance to showcase our skills and we did that tonight.”
Ceballo referred to his 200 plus amateur fights and his experience fighting all over the world helping him advance quickly in his professional career. Ceballo nearly doubled Eyubov’s punch output, landing 257 of 805 total punches (32 percent) to 99 of 467 (21 percent); Ceballo landed 192 of 404 power punches (48 percent) to 94 of 398 (24 percent) for Eyubov.
Uzbekistan native Israil “The Dream” Madrimov (3-0, 3 KOs) kept his 100 percent stoppage ratio in place with a sixth round TKO win over Norberto Gonzalez of Monterrey, Mexico (23-13, 13 KOs). Madrimov fought from both orthodox and southpaw stances. The punch doing the big damage was a big right. Madrimov blitzed an unresponsive Gonzalez and the referee stopped the bout. Madrimov delivered his trademark backflip to celebrate the win.
U.S Olympic team member Charles Conwell of Cleveland (10-0, 7 KOs) had to work hard for all ten rounds in his unanimous decision victory against Courtney Pennington of Brooklyn (12-3-3, 5 KOs). Conwell picks up the vacant USBA junior middleweight title with scores of 97-92 X 2 and 96-93. Coming off an eight month break, Conwell landed harder shot in a rough fight. It was exactly the kind of fight an ambitious young fighter needs to test himself and know what lies ahead of him as he ascends the ranks.
Gayle Lynn Falkenthal, APR, is President/Owner of the Falcon Valley Group in San Diego, California. She is a veteran boxing observer 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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