Canelo vs Golovkin Countdown: Golovkin’s 5 defining nights

As we continue to countdown to Saturday's super-fight in Las Vegas, let's take a look at GGG's biggest career highlights.

With a record of 37-0 accompanied by 33 KOs, ‘Triple G’ has destroyed nearly everything in his path since turning professional in 2006. Now, with his biggest test to date in the form of Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez on Saturday night, we consider some of the most defining nights for the Kazakh superstar.

  1. 1 David Lemieux - October 2015

    Becoming the 21st in 'Triple G's' unbelievable string of knockout victories, Canadian middleweight David Lemieux was dissected, tamed and picked apart by the Kazakh at Madison Square Garden in October of 2015.

    From the opening bell, Golovkin's jab was in sublime form, with GGG throwing his left hand with subtle variations of rhythm and power which kept the Canadian on the back foot struggling to dictate or cope with the pace.

    Reverting to plan B, Lemieux started trying to walk down Golovkin in the middle rounds which lead to a similar lack of success in finding the gaps in Golovkin's defence. The Kazakh worked the head and the body with sharp bursts, putting on a clinic in stopping his dance partner in the eighth round with Steve Willies jumping in confirming the TKO.

    In unifying the WBA (Super) and IBF world titles against a technically gifted fighter in Lemieux, Golovkin brushed aside a challenger many thought would give him the biggest test of his professional career. Despite Lemieux earning props for taking a fight he didn't necessarily need to, the former IBF champion was dismantled in the 'Big Apple', with GGG's star rising to new levels, and calls for the Canelo fight to happen next reverberating around the Garden.

    In terms of the size of the challenge and the performance, many will look back at this fight as one of the defining night in the career of GGG.


    The Golovkin-strut, after stopping David Lemieux in New York

  2. 2 Daniel Jacobs - March 2017

    The big, skilled and awkward Daniel Jacobs came to Madison Square Garden in March this year, looking to rip Golovkin's WBA (Super), WBC, IBF and IBO titles away from him; and boy did he come close.

    'Triple G' was dragged a full 12 rounds for the first time in his career and barely stayed undefeated, edging Daniel Jacobs by scores of 114-113, 115-112, and 115-112 - with many onlookers feeling two of these scorecards were wide.

    Jacobs (32-2, 29 KOs) fought intelligently, frustrating Golovkin at times in ending his 23-fight knockout win streak. With Golovkin's jab proving more damaging and powerful than Jacobs, the judges were no doubt swayed by power punches in the fight, with GGG reaping the rewards of dropping the American in the fourth round.

    Despite a contentious decision, Golovkin showed maturity and adaptability in defending his titles against Jacobs; a strong and powerful middleweight that GGG was yet to encounter.

    After showing vulnerability against Kell Brook in his previous fight (see below), Golovkin continued to show the reliable numbers of strings to his bow in negating the challenge of the 'Miracle Man'.

  3. 3 Kell Brook - September 2016

    Gennady Golovkin made his UK debut in September 2016, and after decimating a game Kell Brook inside five rounds the Kazakh showed a real taste for blood in a punishing defence of his middleweight straps.

    Brook came up two weight classes to accept the challenge of 'Triple G', and with the size and power of the champion proving the difference inside the O2 Arena in London, Golovkin was at his 'come-forward' best as he went toe-to-toe with the 'Special One's' power.

    With one scorecard having Brook ahead at the time of the stoppage, and the other two having it level, Golovkin showed his chin could withstand flurries and combinations from the British welterweight, with the away fighter walking through anything that was thrown at him inside the ring.

    The scorecards were never an issue for a blood-thirsty Golovkin who always knew he had the power to stop Brook, and in doing so fractured the Sheffield-born fighter's eye socket with a ferocious right hand.

    This fight has altered Brook's career going forward and blunted his hunger inside the squared circle; a feat that the middleweight champion can mark down as one of his most important victories to a global audience.


    Official scorecards from Gennady Golovkin vs Kell Brook

  4. 4 Matthew Macklin - June 2013

    Golovkin's destruction of Matthew Macklin inside three rounds in 2013 showcased the crippling power and body punching precision of the then, WBA and IBO middleweight champion.

    The opening five-minutes of this bout were uneventful. Macklin fell short with his jab, and with Golovkin keeping the Irishman in range he measured up his prey waiting for the perfect time to strike like a coiled python.

    'Triple G' then slowly began to unload his hands in the third as Macklin made failed attempts at attacking the Kazakh's body. A couple of right hooks and jabs were thrown to keep Macklin at bay, and then a left hook to the body completely crippled the challenger sending him to the canvas writhing in pain.

    It was immediately evident that Macklin was going to fail to make the 10-count, and it was immediately evident that Golovkin's power at middleweight was frightening.

  5. 5 Daniel Geale - July 2014

    July 2014 in his debut at Madison Square Garden, 'Triple G' added Daniel Geale to the list of 'nice guys finishing last'.

    Priding himself on his counterpunching ability and movement inside the squared circle, Golovkin passed another major test in his climb up the middleweight ranks in defeating 'Real Deal'.

    After tasting the power, or lack of power, in the opening two rounds, GGG went head-hunting in the third pressuring the Australian to retreat and move awkwardly around the ring. Golovkin stalked his man onto the ropes before unleashing a ferocious combo of left and right hands to the body and temple, before Geale's guard dropped and a right hand landed flush on the money-maker.

    Geale sprung to his feet instinctively, however, the fight was called off with 16 second left of round three.

    The composure and timing shown by Golovkin against an experienced and seasoned former world champion sparked further interest in the path that he would take, with early KO power becoming a trademark of the Kazakh world champion.


    Geale tastes the canvas against an aggressive Golovkin

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Lewis Watson


London-based football writer and former boxing editor, with a specialised eye for sports betting. Featured on Betfair, BetVictor + others.

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