NEW YORK, October 17, 2015 – Entering the ring to a roar of applause, Gennady Golovkin took the stage in the biggest bout of his career. For weeks prior to the fight, he had promised a big show, a present for fans.
Although the ring walk in front of the sellout crowd of 20,548 at Madison Square Garden was more abbreviated than his team originally wanted, the fans didn’t seem to notice and it didn’t make a difference in the end. Golovkin (34-0, 31 KOs) took apart challenger David Lemieux (34-3, 31 KOs), retaining his three middleweight titles and adding Lemieux’s IBF belt as his fourth with an eighth round TKO win.
See video hlghlight of the bout plus the undercard Gonzalez vs. Viloria here.
Golovkin dominated Lemieux in every category, but it was a somewhat different type of victory, one more valuable to Golovkin’s career long term than a quick and flashy knockout. Golovkin showed a brand of relentless patience, working behind a wicked jab that snapped back Lemieux head repeatedly, and at will. Even after Lemieux knew it was coming, it seemed impossible for him to avoid.
In the first round, Golovkin landed 22 jabs; Lemieux just one. Through the fight, GGG landed 21 jabs on average every round, which is four times higher than the middleweight average.
Lemieux appeared slow in the ring; it also appeared he had gained back a good deal of weight after Friday’s weigh-in, which may have been a contributing factor. Whatever the case, he gamely tried to land on Golovkin with his own shots. He did manage to land some, but missed on far more.
Behind the jab, Golovkin threw his trademark left hooks to head and body, punctuated by punches from the right. He landed a total of 280 punches of 549 thrown, a 51 percent connect rate. Lemieux landed just 89 punches of 335 thrown, a 27 percent connect rate on far less activity.
This is no way to win a fight, and Lemieux fell farther and farther behind every round. It could not have helped looking into the face of an assassin; Golovkin has a fearsome expression in the ring, and it’s a significant weapon on its own.
At the end of the fourth round, Lemieux took a hard shot to the head, and staggered. Golovkin went in to finish him off; Lemieux remained game though wobbly, and the pair traded multiple shots, Golovkin getting the better of it. The pair touched gloves at the end of the round in a sign of mutual respect. Triple G renewed his pursuit in Round 5, and caught Lemieux with one of the body shots the Kazakh made famous. Lemieux was forced to take a knee.
Golovkin moved in and Lemieux tried to fire back in defense, throwing wildly. It began to look like a sparring session. The end of the round gave Lemieux another chance to try and regroup. But at this point, it was merely a matter of time.
By Round 7, the referee had to stop the fight briefly to mop up Lemieux’s bloody nose. He kept telling Lemieux to “show him something” to give him a reason to let the fight continue. Finally the end came at 1:32 of in the eighth round, at the tail end of more left jabs setting up body shots from left and right, head shots, and it was enough.
Lemieux said immediately after the fight and at the post fight news conference he thought the bout was stopped too early. “A little bit disappointed for sure. I feel the fight was stopped a little bit early for sure. But he is a great champion.
Asked about the relentless jab, Lemieux said “His jab was a very good punch, he got me with that jab. I think that was his best punch of the night. I was expecting a bit more power from him, but his jab, he’s got a good solid jab, he’s a good fighter, a good champion.”
Golovkin said, “I feel a very good distance, every jab I touch him. I am a little waiting, not crazy attack, not crazy style, like street fight. Not this time. David’s a strong guy.
Golovkin said of Lemieux, “Today for David, he went to school, boxing school. Now he understands difference in boxing. I respect he’s strong, he’s a champion.” Trainer Abel Sanchez says the performance was no surprise to him. “I see that (the jab work) in the gym every day. I needed someone to challenge him to use the tools he uses in the gym. He was able to do everything off his jab.
“Today he wanted to show people he’s not just a banger,” said Sanchez. “The plan was to see what David was going to do. David really didn’t want to attack, so he had to press the issue.” Sanchez said the difference in the fight was going to be the boxing IQ, going to the guy who was a lot smarter in the ring. “Gennady is on a different level.”
The inevitable questions now begin on who’s next. Golovkin says, “I want all the middleweight belts in the division, that’s my plan.” Promoter Tom Loeffler with K2 said, “We can’t force people to get in the ring with Gennady, but unification is plan A, B, and C.” Loeffler says the priority is to see who is a winner November 21 between Andy Lee and Billy Joe Saunders in Limerick, Ireland on November 21 for Lee’s WBO title. “It’s a great fight, we have to give Andy Lee a lot of credit. He is one of the few top middleweights who agreed to fight Gennady last year. If he comes out successful (on November 21), there’s no reason to believe he wouldn’t be willing.” Loeffler said they would also be open to the winner of the Daniel Jacobs vs. Peter Quillin bout. “The winner would be in the cards, that would be a great fight in New York.”
Prior to the bout, Golovkin was paid a dressing room visit by business mogul and presidential candidate Donald Trump. What did Golovkin think of Trump? “I’m a boxer, not a politician. I respect that he loves boxing, the sport.” When it’s a talent like Gennady Golovkin in the ring, who doesn’t?
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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