For years WBA middleweight titlist Gennady Golovkin and challenger Gabriel Rosado toiled in the shadows. For Golovkin, the reasons were geographical because it wasn't until his 24th fight and his 30th year before he fought on U.S. soil. For Rosado it was numerical because it's hard to create a star when he loses five fights in a 14-bout stretch.
On Saturday, however, both men will have a chance to shine. Golovkin already wowed American audiences by blasting out Grzegorz Proksa on HBO four months earlier while Rosado is in the midst of a career-long seven-fight winning streak, a string that includes five knockouts.
Neither man could have asked for a better stage to showcase their wares -- Madison Square Garden. "The Mecca of Boxing" is not too far from Broadway, and one must wonder which man will step out of the wings and into the spotlight. Their respective CompuBox histories offer the following clues:
Setting Himself Apart: Unlike most big-punchers capable of generating big-time volume, Golovkin is difficult to hit. In six-CompuBox tracked fights he averaged 72.4 punches per round (above the 56.7 middleweight norm) but was struck by just 20.9% of his opponents' total punches, 13.8% of their jabs and 26.4% of their power punches. Compare those defensive numbers to the average middleweight, who is struck by 31.9% overall, 23.5% jabs and 37.9% power.
Those numbers are especially impressive given Golovkin's aggressive offense, for 49 of his 72.4 punches per round -- 67.7% -- are power punches.
Golovkin vs. Volume: The crux of Rosado's game is supreme volume. However, Golovkin proved he can adroitly handle that against Kassim Ouma, their only common opponent. In five other profiled fights Golovkin averaged 52.2 punches per round but here he answered Ouma's 96.3-per-round pace by averaging 102.3. The result was a 10th round TKO and connect advantages of 271-225 (total) and 241-160 (power). His normally accurate jab (he landed 50% vs. Fuchigami, 45.5% vs. Milton Nunez and 29.8% vs. Tapia) was limited to 11.1%, but his power and pressure more than made up for it.
Fighting Fire With Fire?: Although Golovkin is best when applying pressure, that tactic might play into Rosado's hands. In stopping fellow volume-puncher Jesus Soto Karass, Rosado averaged 92.3 punches per round (the junior middleweight average is 58.7), landed 44 percent of his total punches and 52.6 percent of his power shots, and amassed connect gaps of 189-92 (total), 27-18 (jabs) and 162-74 (power) en route to a fifth-round TKO. But Golovkin may have no choice but to fight back, for when Ayi Bruce tried to weather the storm it did nothing to slow Rosado down. There, Rosado averaged 98.4 punches per round and out-landed Bruce 125-35 (total) and 98-22 (power) before scoring a fifth round TKO.
Much of Rosado's offense is fueled by hooks, crosses and uppercuts: They comprised 74% of his punches against Powell, 71% against Karass, 68.9% against Charles Whittaker and 59% against Collins.
Perhaps the best way to approach Rosado is to sprinkle in plenty of science. The 38-year-old Whittaker's wiles troubled Rosado for long periods and limited his output to 49 per round while Sechew Powell held him to 59.1 per round. Whittaker and Powell lost because they didn't generate much of their own offense (42.6 for Powell, 41 for Whittaker).
Prediction: If Rosado is anything, he is fearless. Not only is he fighting at 160 for only the second time in his career, he's taking on the second-best middleweight behind Sergio Martinez and the division's best knockout artist. Not only that, Golovkin has one of the best amateur pedigrees in the sport as he defeated the likes of Lucian Bute, Daniel Geale, Andy Lee, Andre Dirrell and Matt Korobov in the unpaid ranks.
All of that will prove too much for Rosado. Golovkin's size, technique and knowledge will chip away at Rosado's resolve and by the middle rounds he'll be all but finished. Golovkin by eighth-round TKO.
Posted 12:00 AM | Jan 16, 2013
Gennady Golovkin vs. Gabriel Rosado
Tell us what you think about HBO GO. Sign up now to participate in the HBO GO Advisory Panel to share your opinions and for a chance to be entered into HBO sweepstakes and contests.