A 2004 Olympic Silver medalist, Gennady Golovkin (38-1-1, 34 KOs) always had the makings of a future elite fighter. Since making his U.S. boxing debut in 2012, Golovkin has captured the imaginations and hearts of boxing fans from all around the world, especially in his native Kazakhstan.
Currently, he boasts a record of 38-1-1 with 34 knockouts and is rated as the No. 1 Middleweight (behind champion Canelo Alvarez) and the No.5 pound-for-pound fighter in the world by Ring Magazine.
Known for his come-forward, high pressure style and heavy hands, Golovkin seemed unbeatable at one point, defeating the likes of Curtis Stevens, Matthew Macklin, Daniel Geale, Marco Antonio Rubio, and Willie Monroe Jr along the way.
He made his pay-per-view debut on October 17, 2015 where he defeated David Lemieux and became the unified WBA and IBF middleweight champion.
It was around this time that Golovkin became the No.1 Pound-for-pound fighter in the eyes of many, and some even began to call him the greatest middleweight of all time. On the contrary, many claimed he had not faced an opponent of elite caliber and was being overrated by the public.
After quickly dispatching Dominic Wade in two rounds, Golovkin did face an elite caliber opponent in Kell Brook. The problem: He was a welterweight.
Despite winning by TKO in round 6, Golovkin had shown possible holes in his arsenal, particularly in his head movement as he was hit multiple times by Brook’s combinations. For the first time, Golovkin looked vulnerable, and it had been against an elite-skilled opponent, albeit an undersized one.
Golovkin next faced Danny Jacobs, the No.3 middleweight at the time. Despite starting off strong and knocking down Jacobs in round 4, Golovkin struggled and won a very close unanimous decision. His knockout streak was over, and many thought Jacobs had won.
On September 16, 2017 Golovkin faced Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez, in boxing’s most anticipated fight of that year. After a slow start, Golovkin’s pressure began to overwhelm Alvarez in the middle rounds, and the closing rounds seemed to close to call. The fight was ruled a draw.
The two fighters would rematch one year later, and this time Canelo would win a very narrow unanimous decision, handing Golovkin his first loss and taking his WBC, IBF and WBA middleweight titles.
Golovkin had looked like a wrecking machine until an undersized Kell Brook showed cracks in his shield. Jacobs nearly came away with the victory, and Canelo eventually stood toe-to-toe and ended Golovkin’s middleweight reign.
Three elite-level fighters, three times Golovkin did not quite look like the fighter he was thought to be.
So where exactly does Golovkin’s place in boxing history currently stand? There is no doubt he is a top middleweight, but has he reached the ceiling that many had believed he would when he was knocking out solid, but not elite fighters in Geale, Stevens, and Lemieux? Not quite.
However, Golovkin’s career is not over. Currently in negotiations for a new broadcast deal, possible fights with Billy Joe Saunders, Demetrius Andrade, Danny Jacobs, and the third fight with Canelo Alvarez await him.
Whether or not Golovkin will take these fights remains to be seen, but there is not doubt he still has the opportunity to cement his legacy as one of the greatest middleweights to ever lace up the gloves.