Golovkin vs. Rubio, ‘Mexican Style’ boxing, HBO Saturday, 10 p.m. ET

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Calm before the storm: Marco Antonio Rubio and Gennady Golovkin face off at their weigh-in Friday. Photo: Mikey Williams, HBO
Calm before the storm: Marco Antonio Rubio and Gennady Golovkin face off at their weigh-in Friday. Photo: Mikey Williams, HBO

SAN DIEGO, October 16, 2014 – Boxing fans remain hopeful they will see middleweight champion Gennady “Triple G” Golovkin take on a big name world class opponent in the near future. But for the time being, they will be happy to see him back in the ring this Saturday for his first fight in Southern California. Golovkin will face veteran Mexican middleweight Marco Antonio Rubio in a 12-round bout for the 12th defense of Golovkin’s WBA and IBO titles.

HBO televises the fight card from StubHub Center beginning at 10 p.m. ET with the co-main event between Nonito Donaire and Nicholas Walters.

At Friday’s weigh-in, Rubio stepped on the scale nearly two pounds over the 160 pound weight limit. Golovkin weighed in at 159 pounds. Rubio was given two hours to make weight, and his trainer Robert Garcia said Rubio tried, but it wasn’t going to happen. He didn’t attempt to step on the scale again. Because of this, Rubio lost his interim title and he cannot win Golovkin’s belts even if he defeats him.

Marco Antonio Rubio and Gennady Golovkin pose for fans at their weigh-in Friday at the StubHub Center. Photo: Mikey Williams, HBO
Marco Antonio Rubio and Gennady Golovkin pose for fans at their weigh-in Friday at the StubHub Center. Photo: Mikey Williams, HBO

Per an agreement between the fighters and the California State Athletic Commission, Rubio also forfeited $100,000 of his $450,000 purse to Golovkin, who is earning $900,000 for this bout.


Golovkin (30-0, 27 KOs) added his 17th straight and 27th knockout victory in February against Australian Daniel Geale. Although Geale lasted no longer than most of Golovkin’s opponents, what was impressive is that Golovkin ate a fairly hard punch from the top five middleweight Geale before a light-out counterpunch ended the fight. Geale later admitted it was the hardest he had ever been hit.

Golovkin’s talent for SportsCenter Top Ten, highlight reel knockouts is both a blessing and a curse. It’s a blessing because it has made him hands down the most exciting boxer in the sport today. It’s a curse because it has made all the big name fighters known to the general public too wary about getting in the ring with Golovkin.

Rubio (59-6-1, 51 KOs), is time tested and tough in the tradition of boxers from Mexico. He is a legitimate opponent and deserves respect for his ability and attitude. Rubio will give it all he’s got and no fighter should ever be considered a pushover. But the very best version of Rubio has to be in the ring against Golovkin, and that’s not happening Saturday. Trying to lose weight right up to the weigh-in drains a fighter’s energy. Rubio made a difficult assignment even tougher for himself.

Nevertheless, the pair will put on a crowd-pleasing fight at the sold-out, standing room only StubHub center. Everyone needs to be in their seats early, because it’s not going the full 12 rounds. Golovkin has only gone past four rounds twice in the last nine years.

Golovkin made short work of Daniel Geale with a third round knockout in July. Photo: HBO
Golovkin made short work of Daniel Geale with a third round knockout in July. Photo: HBO

While opponents like Cotto, Alvarez, and Ward won’t risk their careers against him just yet, Golovkin hasn’t let it slow him down. He has become the serious fan’s favorite, and every spectacular knockout nudges observers closer to declaring him among the best pound for pound boxers in the world. He punches with efficient power, grounded in a first-rate work ethic, superb conditioning, speed and solid footwork. There is nowhere to hide in a fight with Golovkin. He cuts off the ring as well as any boxer alive, an under-appreciated skill. He keeps his opponents right in front of him, puts body shots in the bank until he can land a knockout punch and calls it a night.

Is Golovkin so good he rates being called the middleweight Mike Tyson? Forget the rap about subpar opponents. When Golovkin connects, tough fighters go down. To a one, they all call him the hardest puncher they have ever faced. Yes, he is that good.

What fans find so intriguing about Golovkin is the contrast between his persona inside the ring and the congenial, easy going guy outside the ring. Inside the ring he is an assassin. Trainer Abel Sanchez said he turns into “someone else, into ‘Triple G.’” Outside the ring he is gracious, good-natured and patient. Golovkin loves his job, including training. He respects his opponents, their trainers, the media, and especially the fans. After Friday’s face-off with Rubio, he reached out with a smile to shake Rubio’s hand. No pre-fight trash talk here.

It’s becoming tedious to write yet again about a bout being a “stepping stone” to bigger name competition. The truth is, this bout is simply keeping Golovkin sharp and in front of the fans while his team works to get him the showcase he has richly earned. Fans would like it to be someone Miguel Cotto, Canelo Alvarez, or Julio Caesar Chavez Jr. Now that Alvarez has signed with HBO, the network isn’t likely to put its two biggest stars together right away.

What is important about Saturday’s fight is proving Golovkin’s drawing power with fans on the West Coast, especially Mexican and Mexican-American fans. This will be his first fight in Southern California. Bleacher seats and standing-room only seats were added because ticket sales were so good. If HBO’s viewer numbers for Golovkin fights continue to be strong, promoters will have the money to pay a significant opponent the money it’s going to take to risk getting into the ring against the fearsome Golovkin. Otherwise, the risk vs. reward ratio is way too high.

The only suspense in this fight is whether Golovkin will put another entry into the “Knockout of the Year” sweepstakes by the end of the bout. With Rubio failing to make weight and his stamina being questionable, he should last against Triple G barely long enough to give fans a good look at boxing’s most exciting fighter today.

The fight card has been nicknamed "Mexican Style," after Golovkin described his boxing style that way.
The fight card has been nicknamed “Mexican Style,” after Golovkin described his boxing style that way.

Golovkin vs. Rubio, “Mexican Style,” airs Saturday, October 18, at 10 p.m .ET on HBO an HBO Latino.

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. Gayle can be reached via Google +

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