It happened again on Saturday night. Gennady Golovkin knocked out his challenger. It was his 18th straight knock out. And that is as amazing as it is a problem.
In recent months, Golovkin has become like Mike Tyson at his height—the scariest man in the sport. The middleweight champion Golovkin has the biggest knock-out percentage (90.32 percent) of any middleweight titlist in history. On Saturday he faced a decent boxer named Marco Antonio Rubio who has had 67 professional fights, including 51 knockouts. The fight was a sell-out, with 9,323 spectators, including additional seating that was installed for the fight. There hasn’t been this much excitement around a fighter’s pure aggression since the heyday of Manny Pacquiao four years ago. And yet Golovkin (31-0; 28 KOs) is still pretty much an underground sensation because of the way boxing is organized.
Golovkin moves around the ring economically and beautifully, every step a way to maneuver his opponent into one of his devastating blows. Most professional boxers have a signature punch that creates power or points. Every punch Golovkin throws has power, and his opponents look intimidated from the very first.
On Saturday in Carson, California, Round Two was well underway when Golovkin threw a perfect right uppercut (“That uppercut will make you feel like you don’t have a chance,” said the boxer and commentator Roy Jones) and then a left hook, which put Rubio down. The Mexican fighter beat the count at nine or, maybe, nine and half, but the referee stopped the fight. Rubio didn’t really look like he wanted to keep going, and who could blame him. “He hit me hard, but it’s not the hardest I’ve been hit,” said a dazed Rubio. “I didn’t fight him long enough to know how good he is.”