By Ian S Palmer
Undefeated IBF World Welterweight Champion Kell (Ezekiel) Brook of England will be stepping up in weight and class this Saturday, September 10th when he takes on undefeated WBA, IBF, IBO and WBC Middleweight Champion Gennady Golovkin of Kazakhstan at the O2 Arena in London. The 12-round bout will be screened live in the UK via the Sky Box Office platform while fans in North America can catch the action on HBO. Golovkin last fought in April when he stopped Dominic Wade in the second round and Brook’s last outing was in March when he stopped Kevin Bizier in the second round. Golovkin’s WBA title won’t be on the line as the organization feels Brooks’ safety could be at stake by moving up two weight divisions for his first ever bout at middleweight.
The 30-year-old Brook, who hails from Sheffield, will enter the ring with a perfect record of 36-0 with 25 Kos, while the 34-year-old Golovkin is also perfect at 35-0 along with 32 Kos. Brook won his IBF title in August of 2014 at the StubHub Center in Carson, California with an impressive majority-decision win over former champ Shawn Porter of America. Brook then sat out a few months after he was stabbed with a machete in the leg during an attack while on holiday in Tenerife. Brook certainly isn’t the biggest welterweight/middleweight around as he stands 5-feet-9-inches tall with a 69-inch reach. He turned pro back in 2004 and has fought 179 rounds since then.
Before beating Porter, Brook was a former British Welterweight Champion. His biggest fights up until then were against the likes of Philip Kotey, Lovemore NDou, Matthew Hatton and Carson Jones. Jones proved to be a tough nut to crack as Brook beat him by a 12-round majority decision in July of 2012. However, he stopped him in the eighth round in a rematch a year later. As far as power goes, Brook isn’t known as much of a big hitter and his current knockout ratio stands at per cent, but his power is slightly underrated.
Golovkin has won 22 straight fights by knockout and has only gone past 10 rounds twice during that stretch. The last time he went the distance was back in 2008 when Amar Amari went the full eight rounds with him. Golovkin stands just over 5-feet-10-inches tall with a 70-inch reach. He turned pro back in 2006 after a fine amateur career and has fought 155 rounds since then. His stiffest competition up to now, at least on paper, has been David Lemieux, Willie Monroe Jr., Marco Antonio Rubio, Martin Murray, Daniel Geale, Curtis Stevens, Matthew Macklin and Gabriel Rosado. Golovkin has defended his title 16 times, but he’s yet to face a truly elite opponent with Lemieux arguably being his toughest opponent.
However, it’s hard to blame the champ since none of the other top pound-for-pound boxers seem to want to have anything to do with the power puncher. Golovkin simply does his job no matter who he faces and will likely do the same here against Brook. Golovkin, of course, is known for his knockout power and has stopped 91 per cent of his opponents. In addition, up to now, Golovkin has shown he has a granite chin to go along with fine boxing skills. He isn’t afraid of getting hit while he unleashes fierce body and head shots, but can also be patient while stalking his prey. Golovkin isn’t getting any younger though and he’d like to face some other big-name opponents sooner rather than later.
Golovkin’s the favourite here and that’s understandable due to his current knockout streak. Brook’s a good boxer though and Golovkin knows this, so we may see the middleweight champion take his time and let Brook carry the action early on. Brook should be competitive and could earn his share of points on the scorecards. Golovkin should eventually hurt him though and likely stop him. However, it’s possible the fight may also go the distance with Golovkin taking a relatively close decision. Perhaps we shouldn’t rule out a draw either.