Golovkin eyes Mayweather mantle in Brook bout

Gennady Golovkin of Kazakhstan celebrates a second round TKO of Dominic Wade during his unified ...
Gennady Golovkin of Kazakhstan celebrates a second round TKO of Dominic Wade during his unified middleweight title fight, in Inglewood, California, in April 2016 (AFP Photo/Harry How)

Gennady Golovkin’s career has run a hypnotic and grimly relentless course for boxing fans worldwide and evidence suggests that will not change on Saturday.

Viewers in over 100 countries are expected to tune in live to see the Kazakhstan punching machine defend two of his three world middleweight titles against British challenger Kell Brook.

Despite Golovkin being heavily favoured to retain his WBC and IBF belts, there is still great interest in the fight at the O2 Arena in London.

For many, the 34-year-old is the most exciting boxer in the world, who is rapidly becoming the sport’s biggest global superstar following the retirement of Floyd Mayweather Jr.

This fight represents the biggest threat to Golovkin’s run of 22 consecutive knockout wins, according to the champion himself.

Brook, the reigning IBF welterweight champion from Sheffield with an unblemished record, is stepping up two weight divisions and Golovkin considers him his toughest test yet.

“I understand it’s not an easy fight for us so I’m more serious and more focused,” he said.

“He’s my biggest fight and my biggest challenge. It’s my biggest step. I have a different plan and a more serious plan. Right now it’s my biggest fight.”

California-based Golovkin is the biggest overseas boxer to fight in the United Kingdom since Russian-Australian Kostya Tszyu lost to Ricky Hatton in 2005.

Earlier this week, his presence at a public workout brought London’s busy Covent Garden to even more of a standstill than usual.

That is because Golovkin, known as ‘Triple G’, arrived in London with a reputation of producing exciting knockouts in an unbeaten career that has seen him stop 32 of his 35 opponents.

It has made him the most feared fighter in the world and none of his world title fights since 2010 have gone the distance.

Rival champions such as Mexican Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez have declined the chance to fight the world middleweight number one.

The Kazakh’s promoter, Tom Loeffler, believes Golovkin’s appeal is also down to his personality and friendly image outside the ring.

– ‘Bigger than Turpin’ –

“It’s the Mike Tyson effect. Fans just want to see him,” Loeffler told AFP.

“A lot of great boxers aren’t that likeable, but Gennady is exciting inside the ring and he’s likeable outside the ring.

“A big part of it, even if he doesn’t speak perfect English, is his personality and respect for opponents and the sport. It’s why people generally like to cheer for him.”

The odds and statistics are stacked against Brook, who is unaccustomed to the role of underdog after stopping 25 of his 36 opponents and completing three low-risk defences of his IBF belt.

Brook, 30, believes beating Golovkin would surpass any achievement by a British boxer, including Randy Turpin’s 1951 points win over the great Sugar Ray Robinson for the world middleweight title.

“I don’t think anyone in Britain has done what I’m going to do,” Brook told AFP.

“I don’t think it has been done before. Randy Turpin is the only one, but because I’m going up from welterweight to fight the most feared fighter on the planet, it’s even bigger than that.

“It’s debatable, but that’s my opinion. Whatever Naz (Naseem Hamed) has done or any other British fighter recently, like Ricky Hatton, Joe Calzaghe, Lennox Lewis, it will blow it out the water.

“It would put me with all those greats and I would be top of the pile.”

Brook says he feels more comfortable as a middleweight than a welterweight and also insists he is not intimidated by Golovkin’s fearsome reputation.

“I just know what I can do and anyone can be beat,” Brook told reporters at a news conference on Thursday.

“He’s got to opponents before he has fought him, like a young Mike Tyson’s opponents were beaten before they got in the ring with him.

“My mindset and determination are different from everyone else’s and that’s why I’m going to win this fight.”

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