Kazakh Thunder: Gennady Golovkin is the middleweight Boxing king, regardless of the Canelo validation

Gennady Golovkin has climbed the Middleweight Boxing mountain from his days in Europe and now he rules the roost, despite drawing with Canelo Alvarez.

Kazakh Thunder: Gennady Golovkin is the middleweight Boxing king, regardless of the Canelo validation
Photo: Getty Images/Harry How

Turn on one of the thousand’s of Gennady Golovkin highlight videos on YouTube and you’ll hear those words come out of legendary HBO Boxing commentator Jim Lampley’s mouth at some point.

“Kazakh Thunder.”

It refers to the power with which Golovkin usually dispatches his opponents in quick and usually unchallenged fashion.

He is, perhaps, the most avoided fighter in the sport of Boxing due to that ‘Kazakh Thunder.’

Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez relinquished the WBC middleweight title early in 2016 rather than have to face Golovkin in a mandatory bout. Australian boxer Daniel Geale did the same in 2012 and gave up his WBA title when faced with the prospect of fighting Golovkin.

Despite that, the Kazakh born 35-year-old holds a professional record of 37 wins, 33 by way of knockout and one draw in 38 fights. He is yet to lose.

He holds the WBA Super, WBC, IBF and IBO middleweight championships. He is currently ranked as the world's best active boxer, pound for pound, by The Ring Magazine.

GGG has all the validation you could need to be labelled as the best fighter around. Yet, he is overlooked by many as he hasn’t drawn the same amounts of money as Canelo or even a Floyd Mayweather.

He is, however, simply the king of technical and middleweight boxing.

A silent superstar with the punching accuracy of a deadly sniper and the power of a truck in both fists. 

But before all of that and before the ‘Big Drama Show’ and ‘Good Boy’ catchphrases, before he was known as GGG and before he would speak about ‘Mexican Style,’ he was quite simply Golovkin - the myth, the legend from Eastern Europe who came up only in stories from online forums and pugilist fascinations.



Big Drama Show

The only blemish on his record comes following the draw in his super bout with Canelo Alvarez.

Fighting the 27-year-old Mexican in Las Vegas on September 16th was meant to be all the validation that the boxer known as Triple G - GGG - needed to solidify himself at the top of all the Boxing pound for pound lists but it didn’t go his way.

It’s well documented at this point. The contest ended in a draw following a more than questionable 118-110 card in the favour of Canelo from judge Adelaide Byrd.

The other cards scored it, well, a lot better. 115-113 for GGG from Dave Moretti and a 114-114 draw from Don Trella. It was a super fight, it was expected to be close - and it was.

It certainly wasn’t a 118-110 defeat for either fighter.

Rewind a bit before the Canelo super fight and you’ll see a record that contains ‘lesser’ named fighters that will not bring you the same revenue that fighting the young, fiery Mexican can but it takes nothing away from the Kazakh’s ever-growing legend.



“Max, this is Boxing”

Golovkin is a Hall of Fame fighter, his record says as much - amateur or professional bouts. He finished his amateur career in 2005 with a ridiculous record of 345 wins and five defeats, fighting near enough every week whether it be in his native Kazakhstan or elsewhere across Europe.

Yet, GGG wasn’t the best boxer in his family as an amateur - that honour goes to twin brother and cornerman, Max Golovkin. Because Gennady had the advantage of being born 15 minutes before his twin, his sibling allowed him to travel to the 2004 Olympics in Athens where he would claim the silver medal.

His brother made the sacrifice to stay with the Golovkin family and let Gennady turn professional post-2005 and it’s a decision that has ultimately paid off for the pair.

They’ve stuck together since, working with legendary coach Abel Sanchez in Big Bear, California towards their goal of middleweight domination. Sanchez is the brains, Golovkin is the brawn and delivers it unbelievably so.

When GGG lands one of his famed thunderous blows to the head or the body, they don’t just do damage the fighter in the ring, it lands so hard that it rocks their ancestors to the core.

In Sanchez’s gym, he sparred with Canelo in 2011. Golovkin was an unknown then - it was prior to his debut fight in the United States and win over Grzegorz Proksa and before he made fighters a ‘good boy’ on a regular basis.

The pair would, hopefully, collide again at some point, though one of them would have to change their natural weight class to do so.



The tough road to Canelo

Prior to stepping into the Canelo spotlight in September and getting his biggest payday, the question that has always been around Gennady is ‘has he beaten a top class opponent’ with the same talent or on the same level as the fiery Mexican.

Well yes, he has - Daniel ‘Miracle Man’ Jacobs.

Unlike Canelo, he hasn’t fought a Floyd Mayweather or a Shane Mosley at the backend of his career. Nor has he beaten a defensive wizard of the ilk of Erislandy Lara, but what he has done is beaten and broken the majority of bodies put in front of him.

Yet, he seemingly hasn’t earned the same respect as the Mexican.

He’s had other-worldly technical knockout wins over Matthew Macklin and Dominic Wade. He made light work of veteran scrapper Marco Antonio Rubio and sent Kell Brook down a path he is yet to recover from - if he ever will.

Triple G didn’t make his United States debut until age 30 despite amassing a 23-0 record in Europe but has been nothing short of sensational in that time since his debut.

However, it was Jacobs who really gave him his first real test.

At the time, 34 and looking for the big Canelo payday, GGG could have taken the night off and still beaten Jacobs. In the end, he did just that.

Fighters who walk to Golovkin and attempt to scrap with him, often find themselves laying on their back, sprawled out on the ring canvas, looking at the bright lights whilst the 35-year-old celebrates with his team.

Jacobs didn’t do that.

He made the bout awkward for Golovkin, he was more active than any other of the Kazakh’s opponents and wouldn’t let him land the shots with the concrete fists that have beaten so many other fighters.

For the first time in his storied career, Golovkin seemed vulnerable, as if Jacobs had discovered a chink in his heavy and previously impenetrable armour that none of his previous opponents could.



Six and Seven years removed from that sparring session

The bout with Canelo would be Golovkin’s Las Vegas debut - being constrained to his relative home turf’ of New York and Los Angeles - but never stepping into Nevada and taking part in one of Boxing’s mega-money bouts.

For a fighter to be, at that point, 37–0 and not fight in Vegas is quite strange especially considering the attraction around being able to witness his tremendous power.

Despite the debatable draw, it solidified Golovkin’s legend despite not validating him to the masses simply because he hasn’t drawn the money of Canelo - that’s because he doesn’t have that same Mexican backing.

He is backed extremely well by his fellow countrymen but Mexico is famed for it’s fighting heritage, Kazakhstan is not.

Golovkin hasn’t ducked or run from any opponent or any potential fight, that shoe is on the other foot - or multiple pairs of feet when it comes to people avoiding him.

That simple fact should wipe away the doubt about needing ‘validation’ or having to fight again to satisfy the needs of a rhetoric.

The only need or itch that GGG will want to satisfy is setting the record straight and rectifying the blemish that has taken away his perfect winning record.

When the pair meet again, and they will meet again - quite possibly on May 5th, the famed Cinco De Mayo in Canelo’s home country - Golovkin will look to right the wrong of their draw with that famed Kazakh Thunder.

A bout full of Mexican Style on Mexico’s greatest day.

The striking Kazakh Thunder should dampen the celebratory atmosphere and validate him to anyone who still overlooks him.