Golovkin Takes Lemieux Out in Eight, Unifies Middleweight Titles
The clash between Gennady Golovkin and David Lemieux didn’t turn out to be the firefight people hoped for when this bout between power-punching 160-pounders had been announced. It was still compelling to see how Golovkin defused Lemieux by boxing instead of destroying him by brawling.
Golovkin didn’t need to knock Lemieux out with one shot, but rather ground away at him with many en route to an eighth-round technical knockout. Golovkin landed 280 punches over the course of seven and a half rounds. Lemieux showed a good chin and great heart to take that many blows from one of the heaviest hitters in the entire sport. It also helped him that an astonishing 170 of the punches Golovkin landed were jabs.
Then again, that didn’t really help Lemieux at all. That’s because Golovkin stuck that jab in Lemieux’s face repeatedly from the outset. Such a simple punch can be so effective. In this case, Golovkin’s jab disrupted Lemieux’s rhythm. It kept him at a distance. It prevented him from being able to come forward with a more dedicated and damaging attack. It frustrated him and set him up for what would come later. And even when Lemieux attempted to approach with power punches, Golovkin more often than not just moved out of range.
Golovkin, on the other hand, had little difficulty landing — and not just with the jab. Golovkin’s rights looped around or passed straight through Lemieux’s guard and to his head. His left hooks dug into Lemieux’s body. “Keep him alert. Then we land the one we want,” Golovkin’s trainer, Abel Sanchez, told his fighter before the fourth round. That moment came minutes later, when a hard left hook upstairs sent Lemieux back a few steps. Golovkin followed with a patient yet punishing barrage, including another hook that staggered Lemieux.
Lemieux remained standing in the fourth. He went down one round later, toward the end of the fifth, when Golovkin sent a left hook to the liver that forced Lemieux to take a knee. Golovkin followed with an illegal right hand that caught Lemieux flush while he was down. Lemieux somehow took that punch fine and beat the referee’s count. He didn’t receive the additional time he should’ve deserved to recover. He was fortunate that the bell soon rang, though Golovkin caught him after the bell as well.
Those fouls probably didn’t make a difference in the eventual result. Golovkin was just too good. Lemieux never landed his equalizer. Golovkin was never hurt by what Lemieux did land. Golovkin, meanwhile, was hitting Lemieux with about half of everything he threw. He’d brought blood from Lemieux’s nose. He was winning clearly and easily.
Lemieux may have felt he still had a puncher’s chance, but the referee definitely didn’t. That’s why the fight ended the way it did in the eighth. Golovkin had hurt Lemieux again with a left to the body, making Lemieux retreat backward. The referee jumped in; he’d seen enough.
Golovkin, already the owner of one world title, added Lemieux’s to his collection. He’s now scored 21 straight knockouts and remains the man to beat at middleweight. Too few in his division seem willing to face him. Golovkin is hoping the winner of the Nov. 21 bout between Miguel Cotto and Canelo Alvarez will step up to the challenge. Boxing fans are hoping for the same thing.
Gonzalez Looks Marvelous in Ninth-Round TKO of Viloria
The ranks of those who believe Roman “Chocolatito” Gonzalez is one of the best boxers in the world — if not the best — increased in numbers this past Saturday after the impressive manner in which he battered Brian Viloria. Gonzalez won a ninth-round technical knockout and likely won a lot of people over in the process.
Viloria, a former 108- and 112-pound titleholder, was a 34-year-old no longer at the top of the division after his 2013 loss to Juan Francisco Estrada. He’d won four straight since then, however, and quickly showed Gonzalez that he wasn’t going to go down without a fight. Gonzalez responded by taking the fight out of Viloria.
Viloria’s early success with hooks to the body and short combinations came because Gonzalez essentially allowed it. Gonzalez had a more measured approach in the opening rounds, studying Viloria and seeing what kind of power a fighter nicknamed “Hawaiian Punch” carried. He took everything in and then unleashed his own fury.
In the third, as Viloria attempted a right hand to the body, Gonzalez countered with a short right hand to the head. Viloria never saw the shot coming, and he went down to the canvas for the first time in his career. He rose, only to be hurt far worse by what came after than by what had come before. Gonzalez’s combinations tended to become extended onslaughts, punch after punch being placed anywhere and everywhere by a fighter able to see holes and exploit them with ridiculous speed, smoothness and accuracy.
These punches had varying force behind them. Viloria couldn’t block them all, and it was impossible for him to know which of those blows were most important to even try to block. He continued to throw his own shots when he could, but Gonzalez’s potent offense meant Viloria more often had to be on defense, letting go of his hands only in those moments when Gonzalez let him.
Gonzalez barely let up. He was in control going into the ninth round when Viloria landed a good left hand to the body. Gonzalez hunched forward, covered up and stopped throwing. Viloria sought to take advantage of this, returning to the body and also targeting the head. Gonzalez handled everything fine, and when he felt he’d sufficiently recovered he retaliated with blinding speed and bruising force. His attacks pushed Viloria back to the ropes, and he continued punching until the referee stepped in.
Gonzalez is now 44-0 with 38 knockouts. He held world titles at 105 and 108 before becoming the true champion of the flyweight division. At 5-foot-3 and a mere 112 pounds, he may appear to be small. Yet this win only showed what others have increasingly realized — he’s a big deal.
Gritty Martinez Upsets Lackluster Alexander
It wasn’t the worst possible performance from Devon Alexander, but it was a poor performance at the worst possible time, as he dropped a unanimous decision to a tough yet lower-tier fighter named Aron Martinez.
Alexander had lost two of his last three before this bout. He’d been beaten for his world title by Shawn Porter in late 2013, bounced back with a victory over Jesus Soto Karass, then lost a wide one to Amir Khan toward the end of 2014. This fight with Martinez was his first of 2015. Alexander insisted the time off had been good for him and allowed him to return rejuvenated and refocused. It sure didn’t seem that way once the bell rang.
Martinez appeared willing to work harder, putting his head down, getting close to Alexander and letting his hands go, picking up points on the scorecards by sheer activity. Alexander didn’t show the talent that made him a titleholder at 140 and 147. He didn’t outwork Martinez on the inside, nor did he move anywhere near enough to keep Martinez away. Rather, it was Martinez exerting his will instead of Alexander demonstrating his skill.
This was the kind of close fight that seemed as if the judges would favor the more famous boxer. That wasn’t the case this time around. Martinez got the nod he deserved, with two judges seeing it 97-93, or seven rounds to three, while the other judge had it 96-94, or six rounds to four.
Martinez is 1-1 this year but very well could’ve been 2-0. In June he knocked Robert Guerrero down and seemed to outwork the fading welterweight in a similar manner to the way he did Alexander — except the judges gave Guerrero the split decision. Nevertheless, Martinez is making the most of his opportunities in 2015. The same fighter who lost a decision to Jessie Vargas in 2012 and was stopped in five rounds by Josesito Lopez in 2014 has now given tough outings to two notable 147-pounders in 2015. He deserves a chance to do the same against a third.
Mansour and Washington Fight to Draw in Heavyweight Crossroads Bout
If Gerald Washington thought he was in for an easy night after one round against Amir Mansour, then he ultimately learned otherwise. Washington was fortunate to escape with a draw instead of his first pro loss. And while he thought he won, so too did Mansour.
Washington had more success early on. Mansour unsurprisingly came out aggressively, befitting his style and the demeanor of a muscle-bound 43-year-old man who spent more than eight years in prison before resuming his career. It’s understandable if he feels he has no time to waste. Washington responded by moving away, landing right hand counters, throwing jabs followed by crosses, and doing his best to evade Mansour’s powerful yet telegraphed punches.
The fight soon took on a pattern. Washington spent more time trying to stay away from Mansour, didn’t punch often and didn’t have enough on his punches to stop Mansour from attacking. Mansour targeted Washington’s body, which was easier for the 6-foot-1 Mansour to hit than the head of the evasive 6-foot-6 Washington would be. But instead of Mansour tiring from constantly attacking and missing, it was Washington who began to slow.
Mansour took advantage by landing better and more often over the second half of the fight. He never hurt Washington badly, but he was scoring with the more telling blows. Nevertheless, the judges disagreed with their verdict. One had it 97-93 for Washington, or an eyebrow-raising seven rounds to three; another had it 96-94 for Mansour, or six rounds to four; and the third had it even at 95-95, five rounds apiece.
Washington didn’t look good. At 33 years old, he has plenty to work on. Mansour wasn’t an easy test, but if Washington had passed this test with flying colors he would have far more believers in his future than he does at the moment.
Mansour has now lost a war with Steve Cunningham and been held to this draw. He’s beaten everyone else he’s faced but hasn’t stepped up against any of the other upper-level fighters in the division. He still appears to be in superb shape. He’s not very quick, skilled or technically refined. He’ll never get to the heights for which Washington is aiming. He remains determined to keep fighting for as long as he can, though. And it’s clear that he’ll fight hard for as long as he must.