Traditionally, this Cinco De Mayo Saturday night is one of if not the most highly anticipated nights of pugilism in the US.
On this May 5 CDM Saturday, it was not that, because one half of the the duo who were supposed to trade blows and thrill us with their in-ring acumen was serving a suspension.
While Canelo Alvarez spent his evening doing…other things…Gennady Golovkin, his erstwhile partner, gloved up at Stub Hub in LA, and on HBO, versus a brave but under-sized Vanes Martirosyan.
Expectations for entertainment value were adjusted, downsized quite heavily, even angrily, by fight fans who felt screwed by the intrusion of the PED bomb into the mix.
Well, if you are a fan of the kayo, you likely thought this scrap gave you your money’s worth. After Vanes had a solid first round, the second round brought fireworks, which exploded in Vanes’ face.
A jab started it, an right overhand was nasty, three jabs, a meaner right, a right, a left hook, which had the game Armenian dazed as hell..then a right follow, a left hook as he crumpled, a right as he was sliding to the floor. Face first, Vanes slumped, head in hands, as Jack Reiss counted up to the ending.
This was going to be a Pay Per View event, but Golovkin instead fought on “regular” HBO against a foe who entered the squared circle a considerable underdog. The 36 year old Golovkin in the last month or so has been as animated a personality as we’ve seen, as he’s been unafraid to speak his mind about the “Clenelo” situation. He was tabbed by most fans and pundits as being in another league as Martirosyan (turned 32 on May 1; born in Armenia, lives in LA; entered 36-3-1 with 21 KOs) was supposed to be too small and rusty to hang with the Kazahk. That line of thinking had most to do with the fact that Vanes hadn’t fought since May 21, 2016, and he’d been campaigning at junior middleweight.
GGG went 36-84, in this abbreviated session, to 18-73 for the loser. Not sure if even rust-free his chin could handle the GGG oomph.
To Max Kellerman after, GGG thanked the fans for coming out. He said he got serious after round one, and then looked to do damage. He’d like to fight Canelo next, but is open, he said, to fighting people like Danny Jacobs, Demetrius Andrade and Jermall Charlo. “I feel great,” the winner admitted. “I want everybody,” he said, refusing to really pick favorites who he’d like to pinata. “Come and just take my belt,” he said, calling for all comers.
GGG (160 Friday, 173 on fight night) came in at 37-0-1, with more than a few critics noting that he’d slipped since 2014, or so. He only narrowly edged past Danny Jacobs in March 2017 and didn’t exert a heavy power edge on Canelo when they tangoed last September. Vanes was 159.6 and then gained 11 pounds a day later.
In the first, Vanes gave a more than decent account of himself. A right hand late, followed by finisher jab, buzzed GGG, who’d jabbed OK, but wasn’t warmed up and busy. Trainer Abel sanchez told him after he looked tight.
In the second, Vanes got whacked and took a quick knee. But it wasn’t ruled a knockdown. Soon, though, punishment was meted out. Vanes got backed against the ropes and basted. The end was 1:53, of the second. At nine, he got on two knees, but that was as far as he could go…and at “ten,” Vanes slumped again, face into his mitts, on his belly. He told Max Kellerman after that far and way, that was the most power he’d ever tasted. It was eye opening. Or eye closing, actually.
This foe and this result was what the doctor ordered for Team GGG. His “old” power was on display, not a showing which had anyone calling him old. Vanes didn't look to smart box his way to a win, he came to the joint to FIGHT, and thus, the fans saw leather traded and that climactic fish that always leaves the masses happy.