Reflecting On Gennady Golovkin's Destruction Of Curtis Stevens, And Possible Long Term Injuries
Gennady stars in a thrilling but hurtful drama--boxing
[BoxingGlove Notes: Post Fight Analysis]
When I look back at Saturday's fight between hard hitters Gennady Golovkin and Curtis Stevens, and one of the undercards, I think about a recent column I wrote about injuries in boxing.
But let me discuss the fight first.
In the oft used parlance of the “3G’s”, like in Baseball, it usually means, “Going, Going, Gone”, for a home run.
Last night, Saturday, November 2, 2013, at the Madison Square Garden’s Theater, “3G” meant Gennady Golovkin, 28-0, 25 knockouts, and W.B.A. and .I.B.O. Middleweight Champion. He relentlessly, and ferociously knocked out his most formidable and dangerous opponent to date, Curtis “Showtime” Stevens, 26-4, 18 k.o.’s, at the end of the 8th round.
End of story? Of course not, because the beginning of this fight was the result of 2 major “players” in the boxing business who started on a collision course towards each other after 3G Gennady knocked out Matthew Macklin in the 3rd round, and Showtime Stevens k.o.’d Saul Roman in the first round; they finally agreed to fight each other.
After his earlier knockout of Roman at the post fight interview Stevens stated that now he was ready to fight the best, and the first name out of his mouth was, Gennady Golovkin: “I am ready for a world title fight, he has the crowns and I want them. I won’t settle for anybody else but 3G Gennady.” Gennady wondering who to fight next was made aware of the challenge by Stevens, and responded, “Okay, let’s get it on”.
The media and all of the boxing fans were fascinated by this match because these 2 fighters were actually hard hitting knockout artists not only in the pro ranks, but way back when they were amateur fighters, not only winning many amateur titles, but they also had a high knockout ratio then.
When he turned professional many questioned Gennady’s k.o. record because he supposedly had not fought a “legitimate” middleweight, while others excused Steven’s losses in the pros to the fact that he had been fighting way above his proper weight level, sometimes he fought as a Super middle weight, and sometimes also as a Light Heavyweight.
Now as true hard punching equal middleweights, the “acid test” for them was on Saturday, November 2, 2013, as these warriors would fight each other at the proper weight level and of course the “right” opponent to prove ring supremacy.
Gennady systematically pounded and pummeled Stevens from the opening bell. 3G’s jab never missed the mark, sometimes confusing Stevens and also keeping Stevens at bay and not letting him launch his own attack. Added to the 3G jabs was his constant body and head punishment almost telling Stevens in a physical sense: beware of what you wished for-fighting me- because I am now here to haunt you.
Gennady's best defense was actually his offense because he threw so many punches in volumes that Stevens spent the majority of the rounds covering up and not able to fight back. Stevens in some of the punch exchanges did fight back valiantly stopping 3G in his tracks briefly but they were only short-lived attacks.
Gennady relentlessly stalked Stevens like a hungry lion on a hunt to destroy his prey. In the 2nd round in an exchange of hard punches which seemed at least to me to be advantages to Stevens, Gennady fired 2 powerful left hooks dropping an astonished Stevens to the canvas almost at the end of the round. The look on Steven’s face as I saw it up close and personal from my ring side seat, told me that this was the beginning of the end of this fight.
Gennady had stated many times at the press conferences that the outcome of the fight would be determined by who was going to land the first meaningful punch, and added: “I am going to land it”.
Gennady was absolutely correct because although the bell saved Stevens in the 2nd round, it was only a matter time in my mind at least that the fight would end in a knockout against Stevens and in favor of Gennady. When Stevens hit the canvas, his eyes rolled like Paul William’s eyes when he was knocked out by Sergio Martinez a few years ago. Stevens, the brave warrior from Brownsville that he is, fought back on weakened legs, and a distant mind momentarily avoiding the outcome that eventually would come at the end of the 8th round.
As the fight progressed in rounds 3, and especially 4, Stevens fought back giving his fans the hope that he could eventually, hurt Gennady, and turn the fight around in his favor, but he really could not stop a coming forward 3G throwing “punches in bunches”, that hit his targets, Stevens’ head and body repeatedly. Stevens was told repeatedly by his Trainer and Uncle Andre Rozier, not to lay on the ropes covering up rope-a-dope style as Gennady pounded him at will, round by round, but to stay in the center of the ring where he had a better chance to fight back.
When he did get off the ropes Gennady just simply “punched” him back on the ropes, and by the end of the 8th round Stevens was a thoroughly beaten man, with a cut right eye, and bleeding from his nose and mouth trying to fight back and survive while lying on the ropes for support. Gennady simply converted Stevens into a replica of a gym punching bag, following instructions from his trainer, Abel Sanchez: "hit him everywhere even on his arms.”
Showtime Stevens was too brave refusing to quit so it had to be his corner to admit defeat and stop the fight and of course avoid serious injury.
Pride could always be healed not an injury especially in the hurt business. After the stoppage, Stevens left the ring avoiding the post-fight interview, but a happy or perhaps relieved Gennady Golovkin stated his happiness at winning a tough fight. When he was asked about a future opponent, he answered that he wanted fight all of the top fighters, from the 154 pound level all the way up to 168 pound super middleweights. 3G Gennady after a pause stated that he wanted Sergio “Maravilla” Martinez, the recognized pound for pound “king” of the middleweights as his next opponent.
The big question now after last night, is Gennady “3G” Golovkin, the modern day “real deal”, of boxing or more accurately of the middleweights? I am still not convinced although he posted a good argument in his favor by his fistic destruction of Curtis Stevens in just 8 rounds. Yes, he was very accurate like a military sniper; every missile he fired hit his intended target, Stevens.
You have to understand that just like implanted land mines, he has Peter “Kid Chocolate” Quillin, W.B.O. Champion, I.B.F. Champion, Darren Barker, Daniel Geale, Julio Cesar Chavez, Jr. Felix Sturm, and Martin Murray all veteran ring proven challengers and champions that he could face, besides Sergio Martinez.
Stevens stated later on to the press that he was disappointed that he did not keep his promise to his fans to deliver a world title, and after a short rest he would be back in the gym to begin his campaign to finally win a title.
The semi-final fight a 10 round heavyweight championship match took the role of maybe a human interest story due to the fact that one opponent, a Cuban defector, Mike Perez,19-0, 12 k.o.’s, did not come to America, but went to Ireland became a citizen there got married there and has a wife, 3 children and, speaks with an Irish accent.
His opponent, Magomed Abdusalamov, 18-0, 18 knockouts, Russia, initially started his athletic career as a Wrestler like his father, but a severe knee injury ended that career, so he turned to boxing. He was doing very well until he “ran” into Perez who in an almost phone booth brawl defeated him and won the US NBC Heavyweight Title by a unanimous decision. Abdusalamov was badly cut on both eyes, and his left cheek was swollen, and not having gone past 4 rounds due to his 18 straight knockout power, he tired badly. The judges’ scores were, 97-92, 95-94, 97-92, all in favor of “Irish” Mike Perez.
The quarter final championship fight of 12 rounds for the vacant I.B.O. Cruiserweight World Title was fought between Ola Afolabi, 19-3-4, 9 k.o.’s, and Lukasz Janik, 26-1, 14 knockouts, and was won by Afolabi by a split decision, 114-114, 117-111, 115-113.
Dusty Harrison undefeated 17-0, 10 k.o.’s 19 years old from Washington, D.C. was put to the test in a hard fought 10 rounder, but won a unanimous decision over Josh Torres, 12-2-1, 5 k.o.’s, to remain undefeated. The winning scores were, 100-90, 96-92, 98-92.
Joel Diaz, Jr., 13-0, Jr. Lightweight defeated Bryne Greene, 7-6-1, 3 knockouts, in a 6 round preliminary fight by all 3 identical scores of, 60-52. Diaz knocked Greene down twice, once in the 3rd round and then again in the 5th round. In the show opener, Cruiserweight Isa Akbarbayev, from Kazakhstan, 11-0, won a hard fought 4 round decision over Brian Clookey, 4-0-2, 2k.o.’s, on all cards of the 3 judges, by 40-36.
It was a real fun night for boxing especially in the mecca of boxing Madison Square Garden which was like going back home to where it all began. Sadly though, the Russian heavyweight, Magomed Abdusalamov, in a losing effort to Mike Perez was taken to Roosevelt Hospital that night to repair his broken left hand and fractured nose he suffered in the fight but the Doctor’s fortunately also discovered that he had a blood clot on his brain.
Surgery was immediately performed to remove the blood clot which probably saved his life. He now remains in intensive care in stable condition. Our hopes and Prayers are with him and his family for a full recovery. Most certainly his boxing career is over. It is possible as per my previous story on boxing injuries, Abdusalamov may have incurred that brain clot injury in a previous fight and it went undetected.
My thoughts now turn to Curtis Stevens who absorbed a severe beating from 3G Golovkin. Stevens should stay away from boxing a for a long while and go through extensive examinations, especially brain scans.
Thanks to the Promoters and Publicists, we were “treated” to an ethnic mix of the fighters from around the world, such a Russia, Cuba, Poland, London, Kazakhstan.
We cannot leave out the localities such as California, New Mexico, Washington, D.C., New Jersey, and of course, Brownsville, Brooklyn, N.Y.
But of course we are saddened by Abdusalamov’s serious injury.