I remember thinking Julio Cesar Chavez was a shot fighter facing Meldrick Taylor. Not in their 1990 St. Patrick's Day cult classic, but in their forgettable 1994 rematch.
Don King probably remembers that too.
Frankie Randall not only uncovered a myth that year, he shattered it, in such a way that the great Mexican icon was never quite reassembled. Like the vintage sports-car Ferris Bueller stole from his father and ran into the ground before trying to reverse the mileage, King attempted the same with Chavez, before taking him on a joyride with Oscar De La Hoya in the passenger's seat and crashing him into Journeyman Lane.
Gennady Golovkin (38-0-1, 34KOs) is a shot fighter.
Last night at the StubHub Center in Los Angeles, Triple G went “GGG” on Don King's Vanes Martirosyan (36-4-1, 21KOs) via 2nd round KO. In a display of offensive vanity, Golovkin went to a vintage arsenal of very rare and beautiful combinations, to dispatch and damn near decapitate the gritty Armenian. But the ugly truth is, the last time we saw a King fighter sauntering to the ring ahead of the miniature flag waving and wild haired legend, Bermane Stiverne was every bit the sacrificial lamb for WBC heavyweight champion Deontay Wilder last November. He even gained 15lbs to let Wilder know how difficult things would be for their rematch.
The only “Big Drama Show” came in the first round, when Golovkin was shocked and momentarily rocked by a middle-of-the-pack Martirosyan who hadn't fought in two years. Golovkin might wear the Jordan logo, but he looked like MJ in a Washington Wizards uniform: he's slower, stiffer and more ominously, a defensive liability. But the most revealing problem for Golovkin in his 5 minutes of work with a suspect Martirosyan is that his chin is about to blow a gasket.
Jermell Charlo – not Jermall – would have made it really difficult for Golovkin to escape the first round I saw last night, and it is my belief (please understand that this is mere analytical speculation) that whatever GGG looked like after the announcement of Canelo V Golovkin II was enough for Abel Sanchez to pull the plug on that fight. Just as Gervonta “Tank” Davis looked so good in camp that it prompted Mayweather to declare him ready for Lomachenko, it's entirely plausible to think Golovkin's braintrust wanted a confidence boosting KO to reassemble his psyche.
But after 24 rounds of elite labor with Daniel Jacobs and Canelo Alvarez at 35, Golovkin is at least Marvin Hagler after John Mugabi. Based on how that Hagler looked against a Sugar Ray Leonard that hadn't fought in five years (instead of the two years for Martirosyan), the Golovkin I saw last night gets murdered by Canelo. Having endured the rigors of another training camp and now another fight, “Father Time” is chasing Golovkin like a fat kid determined to stick up the ice cream.
HBO didn't have the night it wanted. Cecilia Braekhus (33-0, 9KOs) is the best female boxer in the world and it's most accomplished of all-time, but she didn't look nearly as good as Katie Taylor did just last week. Being “The Best Ever” at anything is no guarantee you'll show up and win on reputation, as her surprising 7th round knockdown showed. But the shocking departure of ring legend Lucia Rijker from her corner at the last minute, was shocking enough to fully charge a proud native in Kali Reis, who nevertheless lost a 10 round UD. Who knows what happened behind the scenes– but it just doesn't happen in boxing.
Braekhus also insisted on 10oz gloves over 8s just hours before the fight, something the extremely proud Rijker probably would not have done. Again, who knows? Hopefully, they can iron things out. But one thing's for sure…if Golovkin does indeed face Alvarez in September, he'll get flattened beyond theory.