Photo by Tom Hogan/Hogan Photos

GGG Is the Man Now

By David A. Avila

One man usually drives the sport of boxing to its furthest lengths. Gennady “GGG” Golovkin has a firm grip on the reins and could be the man to take over the driver’s seat.

Southern California’s biggest attraction “Triple G” showed why he could possibly be the world’s newest boxing icon especially after selling out Madison Square Garden this past weekend. More than 20,000 fans paid to see Golovkin defeat Canada’s David Lemieux and wrest the IBF middleweight title.

Saturday night’s victory also submits Golovkin’s fistic claim to replace Floyd Mayweather as boxing’s main guy. But there are others eager to compete for the top spot.

Golovkin fought on the same card as Nicaragua’s mighty mite Roman “Chocolatito” Gonzalez at “the Garden.” The diminutive flyweight world champion dominated former champion Brian Viloria before forcing a stoppage in the ninth round. The New York City crowd went wild.

But the rest of the world are not as boxing crazy and supportive of Gonzalez as New York. Though Los Angeles and its surrounding communities also strongly follow Gonzalez, they mostly covet fighters from their own region. Golovkin, who calls Big Bear his base, is the only exception.

Golovkin built his American base in the mountaintop of Big Bear and has exponentially increased his fan base in a miraculously short span of time. In three years through impressive promotional boosts by K-2 Promotions, the middleweight champion with his self-described “Mexican style” fighting has established a strong base on the west and east coasts.

Others exist who could compete with Golovkin. Next month several marquee prizefight matchups take place. First, Palm Springs Timothy “Desert Storm” Bradley tangles with Brandon “Bam, Bam” Rios on Nov. 7, in Las Vegas. Rios has recently taken up residence in Riverside to prepare for the showdown at Thomas and Mack Center.

Two weeks later, on Nov. 21, Mexico’s Saul “Canelo” Alvarez clashes with Puerto Rico’s Miguel Cotto. Their middleweight fight also takes place in Las Vegas. The winner of their showdown is expected to face Big Bear’s Golovkin sometime next year. A fight of that magnitude would sell out any arena in the world.

Other fighters lurk in the shadows who are fully capable of competing as boxing’s newest icon. In the light heavyweight division Russia’s Sergei Kovalev has amazed fans with his potent power capabilities. He only needs a win over a worthy adversary like Andre Ward to increase his profile, or vice versa. Both fighters are in the same weight division now but need to increase their exposure. Ward, for instance, went more than two years without a fight.

Keith Thurman, a lanky welterweight from Florida, has all of the tools to be a star. The only thing holding him back is his own management. Rather than allow him to compete with the best in the crowded welterweight division, Thurman has been kept away from others who share his management. Mayweather, Shawn Porter, Kell Brook and Adrien Broner are those who have the same manager but only Brook and Porter met in the ring so far.

That leads us back to Golovkin. More than a few fickle detractors have denounced his talent and belittled the competition he’s faced. But one fight at a time the humble middleweight champion has gathered up fans with each victory like a modern day Genghis Khan.

Golovkin, for my money, is the man.