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The American Stream

(Photo © Sumio Yamada)
(Photo © Sumio Yamada)


As a law-abiding citizen and someone who certainly doesn’t want to catch the ire of my good friend and press row colleague, Kevin Iole of Yahoo! Sports, I was in a bit of a bind on Saturday afternoon. Like the rest of America - which was not one of 100 countries able to view Gennady Golovkin’s contest versus Osumanu Adama from Monte Carlo, Monaco, much to the disdain of HBO subscribers - I was relegated to…um…a “radio broadcast.”
 
(And I have to say I got an incredibly clear signal throughout much of this fight and Don Dunphy - or whoever it was on the broadcast - really described the action well for KSTR, “The Stream.”)
 
Golovkin participated in what I like to call a “Chris Rock Fight.” In other words, he did what he was supposed to do and he shouldn’t get all that much credit in dispatching Adama in seven rounds. Adama is a competent pro who gave Daniel Geale a decent fight in Australia during Geale’s run as the IBF middleweight champion but if you’re “GGG,” there is an expectation that you dominate this caliber of fighter. This is precisely what Golovkin did.

At the end of the first, Golovkin sent Adama to the canvas with a power jab. The right hand that followed was only window dressing as Adama was already on his way down (well, that’s what the “radio” broadcast seemed to indicate). Steadily, Golovkin just kept coming forward and stalking Adama, who, like most fighters of Ghanaian descent, are rock-solid and well-conditioned. Fighting out of “Chi-Town,” he had never been stopped but that was about to change as a left uppercut/hook combination sent him down for the second time in the sixth frame (which then almost simultaneously knocked out my “radio” signal. But fortunately, I was able to play with the dial and find another, uh…“radio station”). Then in the seventh, a jab had Adama on the seat of his pants again. Later in the frame, as he took a hard left hook from Golovkin, referee Luis Pabon did the prudent thing by stepping in and halting the action.
 
It was a precise and powerful performance for Golovkin, the reigning WBA middleweight champion, who moved to 29-0 (with 26 stoppages) while notching his 16th consecutive knockout. There is no doubting the heavy-handedness of this guy but there’s also a certain efficiency to his game that sees very little wasted motion. He’s proven he’s a solid, well-schooled, all-around fighter. The question is, will he soon get the chance to prove he’s a great fighter? Or will the next 12 months bring much of what we saw from him over the past year (http://www.maxboxing.com/news/max-boxing-news/is-it-2013-all-over-again-for-ggg)?
 
For now, fans will have to enjoy him for what are largely now pugilistic performances as his middleweight compatriots find safe harbor behind their own title belts, network and promoter associations, more lucrative and less risky propositions and - in some cases - some outright ducking. But there will soon be a growing restlessness from the masses who’d like to see him prove his mettle in marquee match-ups. No, this isn’t Gary Russell Jr. here (more on that later) but there is a particular expectation that Golovkin’s actual résumé begin to match the accolades he receives.
 
It says here he’s the Real McCoy but as of now, that’s just speculation. You want to believe in Golovkin; he’s as friendly as Will Rogers and unlike many of today’s elite practitioners of the sport, he provides a certain entertainment value. He’s 31, certainly not old, but not necessarily young either. He’s now in the thick of his physical prime and it would be a shame if it’s wasted away on perfunctory prizefights.
 
Now that Golovkin is through the Nobuhiro Ishida portion of his schedule and he’s slated to return to America on April 26th, we can turn off our “transistor radios” and again see Golovkin again on the big screen.
 
HBO NO-GO
 
But yeah, one of the most popular fighters last year, who played to strong HBO ratings, was not on the network (its sister outlet, HBO2, now dabbles in boxing on a semi-regular basis). No doubt about it; it was a buzzkill. But while there was a lot of outrage from its viewership - compounded by the fact it will not televise a single card in February - that this bout wasn’t beamed back Stateside, the reality is HBO tried its best to make it happen. But when the smallest concessions (such as a small table for the network to use inside the venue) were rejected, it wasn’t meant to be.
 
This is what happens when you fight in a venue that holds approximately 900 patrons. And in the long-run, will you really care in a few weeks that Golovkin’s fight against a heavy underdog was not televised?  Just like last year, there is a very good probability that HBO will air three of his fights regardless but the frustration is understandable. The guy puts on a good show and there was quite the activity in the Twittersphere as he performed on Saturday. It’s clear; Golovkin moves the needle and that’s why HBO has made him a priority.
 
However, the bottom line is Golovkin is a fighter who - get this - wants to actually stay busy and be as active as possible, really meaning more than twice a year as provided by HBO. The nerve of this guy actually wanting to do his job more and build a real career. It’s clear that for as long as he can - or has to - Golovkin will fight up to four times this year (in today’s business, this is about as active as a world champion who makes any real money can be) and that means that, most likely, one of these fights will take place in Europe as they continue to cultivate this market. This means, in the future, K2 Promotions and HBO will simply have to communicate better and map out when Golovkin will have these events and choose the appropriate venues in conjunction with each other.
 
HBO demands a certain type of exclusivity regarding boxers it features and it’s evident that Golovkin is one of its franchises. Oftentimes, this means boxers will be relegated to the slots available to them in a given year by the network. The days of James Toney - who I believe is that last real, full-time championship-level fighter who would fight on ESPN (or some other platform), which paid him a fraction of the money he made on HBO just a couple of months earlier - are essentially over. But Golovkin and K2 are willing and able to go at least once year without HBO (like they did this past weekend) to advance their cause. I’m told there will not be a repeat of what took place this past weekend regardless of where Golovkin faces another “good boy.”
 
Moving forward, like “Game of Thrones,” “Boardwalk Empire” and “Girls,” Golovkin will only be seen on HBO.
 
FOX SPORTS 1
 
The highest compliment I can pay this last show on Fox Sports 1 (which took place this last Thursday night from the Barclays Center in Brooklyn) is that it was reminiscent of the really good “Tuesday Night Fights” cards on USA in its heyday.
 
Luis Collazo came up big by stopping Victor Ortiz in two rounds with a right hook on the button that staggered and eventually floored Ortiz, who simply didn’t deem it necessary to beat the 10-count. Collazo took a lot of derision from the masses as he predictably called out Floyd Mayweather but while that match-up doesn’t have a snowball’s chance in hell of taking place anytime soon, it says here his welterweight résumé actually stacks up very favorably to the likes of Amir Khan and Robert Guerrero, one guy who might soon face Mayweather and one who did last year, respectively.
 
Collazo has always been a solid fighter, one who has competed hard at the world-class level. This victory is one with the potential to rejuvenate a career which had stagnated for so long as Collazo was stuck in the (Don) King-dom.
 
As for Ortiz, you’d have to think he’s run out of chances (although you can never be too sure in this sport) as even his own promoter, Oscar De la Hoya tweeted that it was time for him to find another profession. But I found it interesting that with Ortiz’s latest setback, he is once again the recipient of a certain type of venom from the fan-base who really seems to revel in his foibles. It seems so personal and heartless in many instances. Yeah, I get it; the guy is downright odd, a goofball, weird and in his own words, a “tree” (and who can forget VO by FaceLube?: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xZBNlQ4Yzc8). He absolutely brings much of it on himself. Beyond that, some have never forgiven Ortiz for calling it quits versus Marcos Maidana back in what was supposed to be his coming-out performance on HBO in 2009 and his comical implosion versus Floyd Mayweather a couple of years ago.
 
I get that but can we at least appreciate the fact he consistently provided memorable moments (some exciting, some maddening) and fun fights, win, lose or draw? Perhaps some fans watch this sport to see undefeated records and to compile pound-for-pound lists. Personally, I watch this for entertainment - after all, that’s what sports really are; right? Well, it seems like some have never forgiven Ortiz for the unpardonable sin of quitting in a fight (somewhat understandable) or maybe not living up to the lofty expectations placed upon him by those same fans who jumped off his bandwagon as he waved off his fight versus Maidana - and then just as quickly hopped back on as he beat Andre Berto.
 
Personally, I find his actions outside the ring (leaving managers, trainers and promoters with spurious methods) much more offensive than his shortcomings in it. Boxing is a tough game; many can make it to the top level but as Ortiz proved, only the toughest can stay there for awhile.
 
Ortiz wasn’t that guy. To me, that’s OK. Either way, it was fun while it lasted.
 
FINAL FLURRIES
 
Nice victory for Eddie Gomez over Daquan Arnett in a battle of undefeated prospects on that card at Barclays...I like Gary Russell Jr. and his natural ability. Now I don’t want to imply he’s still being matched softly but I understand this is his next opponent: http://deadspin.com/dead-boxers-body-propped-up-in-fake-boxing-ring-for-wa-1513964506...Look at “Lights Out” Toney’s record from 1991-94, which was his real prime and see how active he was. And yes, I think it absolutely correlates to how well he was performing at that time: http://boxrec.com/list_bouts.php?human_id=1437&cat=boxer... Here’s a video I hadn’t seen before featuring Golovkin before his fight against Curtis Stevens: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ByYq6UjDi-Y...So what’s the latest now with Woody Allen?...If there was ever a punter who should make it into the Pro Football Hall of Fame, it had to be Ray Guy...What will we all do without football for the next eight months?…I can be reached at k9kim@yahoo.com and I tweet at www.twitter.com/stevemaxboxing. We also have a Facebook fan page at www.facebook.com/MaxBoxing, where you can discuss our content with Maxboxing readers as well as chime in via our fully interactive article comments sections.


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