“No more foreplay.”
–James Bond, Goldeneye
Let’s get right to the point — Gennady Golovkin is no more. And since death comes in 3’s, no longer is he “GGG” or “Triple G”. None of which means he won’t be announced as such inside of “The World’s Most Famous Arena” this Saturday night, when former middleweight champion Gennadiy Golovkin (39-1-1, 35KOs) takes on the formidable challenge of Sergiy Derevyanchenko on DAZN for the IBF middleweight title left vacant by arch nemesis Canelo Alvarez.
The lore surrounding this fight is Golovkin, because we will know exactly who he is without longtime trainer Abel Sanchez, still bitter over what is now a post era. It’s unfair to simply label this new Gennadiy as simply an “Old G”. Nah. The man is a legend and still rocks a logo representative of #23. Nearly 4 years ago now, I sat ringside inside of Madison Square Garden to witness the unveiling of sorts for “GGG”, a night of captivating aura; one augmented by the appearance of Donald Trump and a practiced presidential swagger through press row, having just left the dressing room of Triple G. That man, nearly impervious to peril and in possession of a jab that would make Vlad the Impaler green with envy, spearing a powerful David Lemieux…
..into a bludgeoned submission, while spawning the comedic grit of referee Steve Willis prior to stopping the Canadian in the 6th round. It was an unwritten coronation, no more tenuous than that of Roman Gonzalez, who in the co-feature that evening blasted a game Brian Viloria to share de facto #1 pound-for-pound status with Golovkin that evening. Because Floyd Mayweather had just officially retired a month prior after a UD over Andre Berto, the feeling in boxing was, “Well, somebody has to be #1.”
Heading into 2017, many of us declared Golovkin #1 with an almost compelled speech, if it favored him over another arch nemesis from afar, the great Andre Ward, who’d slipped past Sergey Kovalev in a contextually different way then Golovkin slipped past Daniel Jacobs — and revealed slippage. This apparently mattered to judges in September 2017, when Golovkin — at the very least — didn’t reveal any more slippage in clearly deserving a clear UD over superstar Canelo Alvarez, only to get a draw that Golden Boy and Canelo knows he didn’t deserve.
Vanes Martirosyan had a very surprising 1st round over a mostly uninterested Golovkin before being bounced in the 2nd round…
..before the last vestiges of Gennady Golovkin, “GGG” and “Triple G” laid it all out on the line against Canelo in their September 2018 rematch. Just prior to writing this piece I watched that rematch a 3rd time for clarity and here’s what I know: Golovkin won that fight too. I can’t speak for other writers or aficionados, but I initially credited Alvarez with doing better in the rematch simply because he fought a much braver fight — particularly over the first half of the fight; but after winning four of the initial six rounds, Canelo was beaten up over the remaining portion of that fight. I’m pretty firm Golovkin won Canelo/GGG 2 by a score of 115-113, and in the process, lost Gennady Golovkin, “GGG” and “Triple G”. This weekend, against a super tough and punishing Derevyanchenko, we’ll see Gennadiy Golovkin, who I’m calling “00G”, or the ultimate “OG”; a man of mystery and mystique, still capable of introducing an elite fighter like Derevyanchenko to misery.
“The work is done. Ready for fight week,” declared 00G on Monday via Twitter.
Later on, he glistened with pride while opening up the New York Stock Exchange on Wall Street; chopped it up urban style with Charlamagne The God and DJ Envy on Power 105.1 for The Breakfast Club; and presented the statesman of honor as a guest on Jalen & Jacoby for ESPN Radio. Before hitting Times Square and catching a modern cult classic in Errol Spence Jr Vs Shawn Porter on the big screen this past Saturday night, we couldn’t help but notice the presence of Golovkin on Broadway. “Look, it’s the dude that fought Canelo!” An associate who can be defined as a “casual”, expressed genuine excitement of the larger than life images of Golovkin lighting up the heart of Manhattan. I’m kind of hoping he’ll light up Derevyanchenko too, but it won’t be easy. Under Jonathan Banks, 00G fights with a more daring risk for daunting reward, as a knight of once shining armor, looking to polish off a serious threat to renewed aura at an unforgiving age in an unforgiving sport. “That’s Gennadiy Golovkin. All work and no play would make no ‘Big Drama Show’,” I replied.
Count on it.