Some boxing headlines will make you laugh. And some will also make you cry. But when the fight between middleweight title holder Gennady Golovkin and welterweight champion Kell Brook was announced, I could not help but laugh with the delight of the devil and cry like a scorned lover at the same time. I even wondered if I was still sane.
Maybe the boxing promoters are the ones who are insane for pushing what is generally seen is a potentially one-sided fight. And maybe Golovkin and Brook are both insane for wanting to trade leather. Or is the boxing world already insane?
Or are the gods insane?
Okay, for its own sake, let’s try to put some sanity into the fight.
A “lighter” fighter climbing up in weight to take on a more popular champion is also what made boxing history very interesting. Going way back in history, heavyweight champion Rocky Marciano and lightheavyweight titleholder Archie Moore squared off in September 1955 in what became one of the most dramatic fights in the sport’s history. Hitting the deck in the second round, Marciano rallied to score a knockout in the ninth stanza to cement his legacy.
Then there’s the legendary Thomas Hearns vs Marvin Hagler in April 1995, where Hearns jumped from junior middleweight to challenge for Hagler’s unified middleweight title. For three furious rounds, both fighters gave it their all as if a ton of gold bars were at stake. But when the dust settled, a bloodied Hagler knocked out Hearns in the third round. What made the fight unique was Hearns was a freakishly tall boxer at 6’2” who had a deadly right hand that many feared would be too much for Hagler. But Hagler was a tough nut to crack, literally.
So fights involving a boxer climbing up in weight to challenge another champion can generate another level of excitement. Perhaps we can say the same about Golovkin-Brook? If you believe that, then better have your head thoroughly checked!
Brook has been campaigning in the welterweight division and currently holds the International Boxing Federation of the championship version since August 2016. He won the title from Shawn Porter. At 5’9” with a 69-inch reach, Brook is giving up a bit in size to Golovkin who stands 5’10” and has a 70-inch reach. But how can a 147-pounder give a legitimate 160-pounder who has knockout power in both hands a decent fight?
Golovkin’s record is 35-0 with 32 knockouts while Brook’s is 36-0 with 25 KOs. So there is obviously a great disparity in knockout power.
But there is some saving grace to the bout—at least Brook is courageous enough to face a powerful puncher in Golovkin compared to the other boxers at welterweight and junior middleweight. And there are plenty of them: undefeated knockout artist Keith Thurman (27-0 with 22 KOs); slick counterpuncher Erislandy Lara (23-2-2 with 13 KOs); and Demetrius Andrade (23-0 with 16 KOs), among others.
I just wish Brook’s courage wouldn’t erode as fight night nears, the same way prominent light heavyweight champion Michael Spinks lost his balls as his fight against Mike Tyson in June 1988 neared. And Spinks was blown away in about 90 seconds without landing a decent punch on Tyson. If Spinks still had balls entering the fight, he could have lasted beyond two rounds. Maybe.
So let’s just watch the Golovkin-Brooks fight and admire Brook’s courage even if he has a remote chance of winning. And after the dust settles, make sure you don’t end up laughing and crying at the same time. I’m telling you—that can make you insane. Now, should I have my head checked?