Gennady Golovkin is boxing's star to succeed Floyd Mayweather - and against David Lemieux he'll show why
After the meek disappointment of Mayweather’s farewell Golovkin is just the kind of power dynamic boxing needs, writes Barry McGuigan
Despite the modern allure of Las Vegas, Madison Square Garden retains its historic appeal and on the East Coast at least there is no place like it on fight night.
Fitting then that Gennady Golovkin should return to the sports spiritual home for his first pay per view engagement against Canadian puncher David Lemieux tomorrow night.
This will be his 15th defence of the WBA middleweight crown, the second longest streak in history, against an opponent who comes to fight.
That, ultimately, is likely to be a problem for Lemieux, who puts his IBF title on the line in a unification bout that is set to propel Golovkin to genuine superstar status.
After the meek disappointment of Floyd Mayweather’s farewell this is just the kind of power dynamic boxing needs, and the measure of a true champion that Golovkin actively seeks the biggest challenges.
Credit to Lemieux for accepting. Most run a mile from a man who has won his last 20 bouts by knockout and who has heard the final bell only three times in 33 unbeaten outings.
Lemieux knows only one way to fight, as a record of 31 knockouts in 36 fights indicates.
If he gets lucky and finds the target it might be his day. But that is arguably the biggest if in boxing.
Golovkin is as pure as talent as there is in the game, a stellar amateur in Kazakhstan, and a wrecking ball as a pro with a left hook from hell and a lethal right hand.
Lemieux has tasted defeat twice four years ago, firstly at the hands of Marco Antonio Rubio when his corner pulled him out after seven rounds to spare him further punishment.
When Golovkin caught up with Rubio this time last year the fight was over inside two rounds, a clubbing left hand proving unanswerable.
Golovkin might have his macho hat on, as he did against Martin Murray in February, and make it a punch fest.
Murray was down twice in the fourth to body shots and again in the tenth before the end came in the 11th.
Lemieux, like Murray, is game but has only one gear. Golovkin is beautifully schooled, and like all the great fighters, can adapt to any style.
The only real question is how long it lasts, and my guess is not long.
Golovkin is now resident in Los Angeles, signed exclusively to HBO, and the man being groomed to carry the torch for boxing in the post Mayweather era.
Tomorrow night he will show us once again what all the fuss is about.
Barry McGuigan for Daily Mirror, UK