As of this writing, WBA middleweight champion Gennady Golovkin is regarded by many as the second-best 160-pounder on earth and after top dog Sergio Martinez's struggle against Martin Murray in April some are putting "GGG" at number one.
The German-based Kazakh will look to further his case Saturday by fighting a previous Martinez victim in Matthew Macklin, who floored "Maravilla" in the seventh before falling in the 11th in March 2012. If Golovkin can beat Martinez's score in the clubhouse, and look good in doing so, he'll bolster his case for a potential head-to-head showdown in 2014.
Each man's CompuBox history unveils factors that may influence the result, such as:
The Best of All Worlds: Boxing has become a volume-puncher's sport and the 30-year-old Golovkin has certainly mastered that, for over his last seven CompuBox-tracked fights he averaged 71.6 punches per round, well above the 56.8 middleweight average. But unlike most big-number fighters Golovkin also owns a tough-to-penetrate defense. His seven opponents ranging from Nilson Julio Tapia in December 2010 to Nobuhiro Ishida in March 2013 threw a combined 63.5 punches per round at Golovkin but only 21% of their overall punches got through, including 14.3% of their jabs and 26.3% of their power shots. Those numbers compare favorably to the middleweight norms of 31.9%, 23.3% and 38% respectively.
The reason why Golovkin has effectively fused high-octane offense with frugal defense is his vast experience in the amateur ranks, which saw him beat the likes of Andy Lee, Lucian Bute and Andre Dirrell as well as capture a silver medal at the 2004 Olympics in Athens. Years of honing skills in both the amateurs and pros have resulted in a potential pound-for-pound superstar.
Another reason Golovkin has prospered is his accurate power punching, which was on full display in his most recent outing against Nobuhiro Ishida. Averaging 68.3 punches per round to Ishida's 49, Golovkin connected on 51% of his total punches, a sky-high 49% of his jabs (more than double the middleweight percentage average) and 54% of his power shots. By keeping Ishida to 19% overall accuracy, 17% jab marksmanship and 21% power efficiency, Golovkin out-landed the Japanese challenger 105-28 (total), 53-13 (jabs) and 52-15 (power) en route to a sensational one-punch knockout in round three.
"GGG" may stand for the initials of his name (Gennady Gennadyevich Golovkin) but in boxing terms it should stand for "Going, Going, Gone."
Putting Up a Good Show: As previously mentioned, Macklin put up a good yet losing challenge to Martinez at a time when the Argentine was head-and-shoulders above the rest of his division. Both fought at a slow pace for middleweights (41.9 per round for Macklin, 39.7 for Martinez) but Martinez's superior accuracy across the board (42% of total punches and 50% of power shots) enabled the South American to gain statistical advantages in connects (183-135 total and 74-31 jabs) Martinez lead just 109-104 in power connects.
Macklin's statistical dominance over longtime WBA titlist Sturn was eye-popping: His 1,102 punches were the fifth highest ever recorded by CompuBox among middleweights and his connect gaps of 314-187 (overall) and 255-111 (power) seemed enough to wrest away the belt. But for all of Macklin's offensive success Sturm was the more accurate puncher. He led Macklin 35.8 percent to 28.5 overall, 28.0 to 15.0 in jabs and, most importantly, 44.0 to 36.0 in power shots.
Life After Martinez: Macklin has only fought once in the 14-plus months since the Martinez fight, but it was an excellent showing as he blew out onetime 154-pound titlist Joachim Alcine in 156 seconds. The numbers were as lopsided as the fight as he out-landed Alcine 31-4 (total) and 25-1 (power), connecting on 51% of his total punches, 35% of his jabs and 57% of his power punches.
Prediction: Golovkin knows that to be the man, who have to keep beating the men in front of him and it helps to do so in spectacular fashion. Golovkin has a very good opponent here- but he can be hit with power shots. Martinez and Sturm landed 47% of their power shots vs. Macklin The Briton will throw the kitchen sink at GGG from first bell to last. Fortunately for Golovkin, he's a very talented fighter as well and his better all-around game combined with his power will help him retain his title by late-round TKO.