Alan Dawson – London
Kazakhstan middleweight Gennady Golovkin, once considered one of boxing’s best kept secrets, is doing his best to force a coming out party as he inflicted a first knockout defeat onto American opponent Lajuan Simon at the Ballsaal Interconti-Hotel in Dusseldorf, Germany on Friday, December 9. At 86 percent, Golovkin now has one of the best knockout percentages for an elite fighter, thus fortifying his own reputation as a monstrous headhunter.
Official verdict: First round KO.
With a fine amateur background behind him that included a gold medal at the 2003 World Amateur Championships in Bangkok and a silver medal at the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens, together with a list of wins against a number of opponents now considered elite professionals such as Yordanis Despaigne, Andy Lee, Lucian Bute and Andre Dirrell, it is surely only a matter of time before Golovkin batters a respected top tier boxer when fighting for pay.
For Golovkin, Simon would always have represented a stepping-stone fight, but one that he would have had to have taken as he is perceived to be a fighter who is avoided like the bubonic plague by the champions of the division. Against Lujuan, he showed he can be just as dangerous as that medieval black death…
In the first round, Golovkin – a well-built athlete – worked the overhand right to perfection. It was a punch he landed hard in the opening stages and began to repeat it with precision and regularity. Golovkin moved well, showed great footwork and, before the opening stanza could even be completed, the Kazakh 160lber sealed a stunning knockout victory as he slipped Simon’s jab and intuitively came back with a lights out left hook.
It was a punch – and a finish – straight out of the textbook as Simon lay dazed on his back on the canvas, confused and unable to move, let alone beat the count. The 29-year-old victor, though, may have done himself no favours as the eyes and ears of the middleweight elite will have been watching events transpire in Dusseldorf and fighters like Felix Sturm may, instead of boxing a live, heavy-leather dispatching badass like Golovkin, elect to take on the comparatively light-hitting Martin Murray in a rematch.
With the win, Golovkin added the IBO middleweight world championship to his honours roll, made a successful defence of the ‘Regular’ WBA title and saw his record move to 22-0-0, 19ko. Philadelphian fighter Simon suffered the first knockout defeat of his career and slumped to 23-4-2, 12ko.