It was a steady display of ruthless pressure and brutal power-punching that forced IBF welterweight champion Kell Brook back where he belongs.
After bravely battling a modern version of Mexican great Julio Cesar Chavez at middleweight for five gritty rounds, the corner of Team Brook threw in the towels having witnessed enough of what Gennady Golovkin was doing to their fighter.
GGG was on the verge of truly destroying the man known as ‘Special K’ in front of a jam-packed home crowd at O2 Arena in London, England.
However, the fight was prematurely stopped, denying Golovkin the type of scary victory that could’ve shortened Brook’s career– and quite possibly, his life. The harder truth? Most hardcore fans at ringside or their living rooms expecting a ‘kill or be killed’ ring confrontation don’t give a damn about that.
During the week leading up to the fight, Golovkin appeared to be listless and drained. Personally, I thought it was perhaps put out there for a little gamesmanship, to invite Brook into willing exchanges.
Whether that worked or not, Brook complied.
After an intense and compelling round one, Brook turned in a sensational round two, rocking the Kazakhstan badass with an uppercut from hell during his rousing early stretch.
But beginning in round four, Golovkin started bossing Brook into his office while shutting the door and closing all the blinds. Landing an array of punishing shots with increasing frequency and systematically breaking Brook, it was only a matter of time before Triple G turned off the lights.
Brook was beaten- but not in a way where he loses stature, or cannot reassert himself as the best welterweight in the world against ‘ESP’, Errol Spence Jr. next. He was also more competitive against GGG than was fellow brit Amir Khan against Canelo Alvarez.
Going in, I thought this fight had a chance to be a Chavez vs. Meldrick Taylor kind of fight. As it was, it was more like the May 1994 rematch between Chavez and Frankie Randall, which, Chavez won by premature stoppage.
SHOTS FIRED ????
Though Golovkin was more dominant in victory than the great legend Chavez was over Randall that night in May 1994, it’s worth mentioning (because their styles are so similar) that GGG is actually beyond the age where Chavez began to show chinks in the armor– and that was in a fight against a true super lightweight in the division he ruled.
If Brook were a true middleweight, how does he really fare? Based on his performance tonight, could a solid boxer/puncher like a young Callum Smith prove to be the near future momentum-killer for Golovkin? Or, will Canelo Alvarez lasso brother Liam Smith in Dallas next weekend while revealing a blueprint to defeating GGG in 2017?
Then again, perhaps a merely mortal Gennady Golovkin overcame physical limitations to still physically abuse a world class fighter in hostile territory.
—John Gatling (aka Taz) is a southpaw from Plainfield, NJ and the boxing opinionator lives in the Boston area. He was inspired by hometown heroes Harold “The Shadow” Knight and Glenwood “The Real Beast” Brown to get deeper into the fight game. Follow John on Twitter (@johngatling_) and Facebook (facebook.com/taznj)