Perhaps nobody born in Kazakhstan has done more to eliminate the crude “Borat” stereotype than Gennady Golovkin, and the 32-year-old IBO and WBA middleweight champion, puts both belts on the line - and the chance to add a third, against Mexico’s Marco Antonio Rubio.
Golovkin is one of the most powerful fighters on the planet, and his perfect 30-0 record is supplemented nicely with 27 knockouts. Indeed, the last time the man they call GGG went the distance in a professional ring was June 2008.
To put things into perspective, Carl Froch had yet to win a world title at that point, Amir Khan was three months away from being knocked out by Bredis Prescott, and an Olympic gold medalist by the name of Anthony Joshua had yet to lace up a pair of boxing gloves.
The Kazak who now trains in California fights for the first time in his adopted city at the world famous StubHub Center, the scene of Kell Brook’s world title triumph in August. Golovkin has been knocking out usually durable fighters over the course of his career, from the likes of Daniel Geale and Matthew Macklin, to Curtis Stevens and Gabriel Rosado.
For the 34-year-old Rubio, this represents yet another shot at the big time, and though the Mexican is a veteran of 66 fights, with 59 wins, he has been accused in the past of choking during grand opportunities like this.
Rubio’s six defeats have all been to respectable opposition, but therein lies the problem. A points defeat to a prime Julio Cesar Chavez Jr is no disgrace, but stoppage defeats to a troubled Kelly Pavlik, and a first round KO defeat to Kofi Jantuah back in 2004 shows that he can be found vulnerable.
So how can he win this fight? Well he too boasts incredible power, with a stunning 50 knockouts to his name in the professional ranks. Back in April 2011, a Canadian banger called David Lemieux was thought to be the next big thing in boxing, and he came into his fight against Rubio with 24 knockouts in 25 fights. Many expected the fight to be a passing of the torch, from one heavy hitter to another, but Rubio stunned the boxing world by stopping his heralded opponent in the seventh round.
Can he stop another pulverizing powerhouse? For Rubio to win by any method the bookmakers price up him at 16/1, and to stop Golovkin, who let’s not forget is an Olympic silver medalist and an AIBA World Champion, you can find odds of up to 35/1.
On the undercard, Nonito Donaire continues his road to recovery after his damaging April 2013 defeat to Cuba’s unstoppable Guillermo Rigondeaux. Though Donaire knocked down his Cuban opponent in the tenth round of their fight, he was completely dominated for the entire 12 rounds of the contest.
Prior to that fight Donaire was a regular in many pundits mythical ‘pound for pound’ lists, and while his reputation has suffered a touch, he has won two fights since then, and is now fighting at featherweight, where he defends his WBO title against Jamaica's 24-0 Nicholas Waters.
Donaire is a five-weight world champion, but Waters comes into this fight full of confidence, having stopped ten of his last 11 opponents, a remarkable feat considering the weight he fights at.
This is an intriguing crossroads fight, with Donaire eager to put in a performance to remind boxing fans of his elite skills, while Waters has a chance to take down a legend in California.
The bookies can barely split them, with Waters actually a narrow favourite at around 5/6, while Donaire can be bet on at even money. For those who can’t pick, the draw might be a shout at 22/1.
Edwin Rodriguez returns on the undercard at light heavyweight after missing weight in his world title fight against Andre Ward last year, and the man known as La Bomba puts his 24-1 record on the line against Haiti’s 17-1 Azea Augustama.
While Rodriguez will be expected to win comfortably, he will do well to learn from the likes of Chad Dawson and Tavoris Cloud, both of whom have been in light heavyweight freefall in recent times after big match losses.
BoxNation is airing Armed Forces boxing on Friday night to celebrate it's 10th anniversary, but that is it for televised boxing over the weekend, although Steve Wood’s VIP Promotions have a show from Manchester on Saturday night which is being aired online on Matchroom Boxing’s FightPass platform.
While not the most competitive of cards, it is a good opportunity to watch fighters including the 17-0 Shayne Singleton, emerging Cruiserweight Jack Massey, Jon Kays in his first fight since his brave British title attempt, plus what could be an absolute war between 11-0 ‘Jimmy’ Kilrain Kelly who faces one of Britain’s most talented journeymen Dan Blackwell who always comes to fight.Reuse content