Gennadiy Golovkin looked like the GGG of old at the Hard Rock in Hollywood, Florida on Friday early evening. He was in against a foe overmatched in skills, the Pole Kamil Szeremeta, who was not in over his head in the heart-guts department.
The end came after seven rounds, when the ref visited the corner and decided to halt the proceedings.
Golovkin looked sharp for being off for so long, 440 days; he was dialed-in with his jab, and yes, he still has the power. He sent the Pole to the mat, mixing heavy jabs, uppercuts, the odd hook, looping rights, four times.
No, no one should make too much of this, because Szeremeta is what he looked to be on paper, that is, someone not on the level of GGG. But, that doesn't mean the good things GGG did should be summarily dismissed. Simply put, don't get too jazzed, or too snarky, about what you saw. GGG came, saw, kicked some tail, got some work, and got a stoppage.
GGG talked to Todd Grisham after he had his hand raised. He said he told us all he would come back. “I needed time, I'm very quiet,” he said, but he's still got it.
The winner said Szeremeta “is a great boxer, c'mon guys,” and he isn't surprised the Pole hung tough. He liked how his jab, his timing, he liked how he felt in this outing. And next? “Anybody,” he said, whoever is best for DAZN, for the fans. The fans will win tomorrow, when they see his eternal-rival Canelo fight Callum Smith.
Promoter Eddie Hearn said he thought GGG looked great, and Szeremeta proved his toughness. It was good for GGG to get rounds, he said. “We want to see him in the mega fights next year,” Hearn said. A third fight between GGG and Canelo, that might make sense, said Hearn. He mentioned Boo Boo Andrade, Callum Smith, BJ Saunders, Canelo, all would be good. Ryoto Murata could be another guy in the mix.
“Trust me guys, we'll bring the best fight next time,” GGG said in closing.
The 38 year old Golovkin last fought in December 2019, when he beat Sergey Derevyanchenko at Madison Square Garden, shrugging off the effects of a nasty fight week bug. Golovkin brought a 40-1-1 record to the ring, in a scrap which unspooled on DAZN.
The 31 year old Szeremeta, from Poland, entered at 21-0, with just 5 KOs.
The IBF and IBO middleweight titles were on the line, for the record.
In the first, GGG pumped a sharp jab. A left sent the Pole to the mat right before the bell. He exploded off a crouch and thumped a nasty one. A right to the head and then a right smash to the body landed clean not long before.
In the second, down went the Pole again, with 45 seconds left. The shot was a right on the chin, and it was a delayed reaction. GGG had scored well with the right, a right hand to the body looked like it went right through the challenger. By the end of the round, he was on his horse, in retreat.
In the third, trainer Johnathon Banks called for the jab and GGG delivered. He moved subtly, and effectively. A right uppercut almost dropped the Pole, who used some decent head and torso movement to stave off the end.
In the fourth, down went the Pole. He rose with a minute to go. And bless him, he kept on pushing the big stone up the hill. In round five we saw the Kazahk bang with both fists, hard. He was so calm, in total control, and ripping hooks to the body. He worked on his D, his head movement was on point, as was his mobility.
In round six, we saw more heart-guts from the Pole, who stood in front of GGG, didn't run, and had his best round. To round seven, GGG ripped a right to the body, he upped his energy early in the round. A double jab sent the Pole on his butt, and he was up at 1:53. And he finished the round, bless him.
But the ref said no mas, he pulled the plug.