The moment of truth — A quintessential moment in the career of any rising prospect in the sport of boxing.
For some, it’s a revelation. A reminder of the mortality every fighter brings into the squared circle. A scar — one that you look to for guidance when in the ring — one that makes you realize the able-mindedness of every man who laces up the gloves.
Mike Tyson was the baddest man on the planet. He talked smack, and backed it up with a crushing left hook that reduced boxing’s elite to dust. He feared no one. It was believed that everyone feared him.
Then came a man named James “Buster” Douglas — an ambitious 29 year old foe believed to be no match for “Iron”. It was just that day the boxing world was taken by storm — a day nobody will forget. A big left uppercut clocks an exhausted Tyson, and as Douglas unloads “Left, Right, Left!” the shoe is on the other foot — Tyson was down and he wasn’t getting up.
Now, while Tyson’s three-year jail stint and nearly five year hiatus was what seemed to have tainted his momentous boxing career; It was an important moment of development in his run. A more recent example would include Sergio Martinez — Toppled by Antonio Margarito in his sole unavenged loss in 2000; Martinez spent almost a decade working on his craft; and eventually becoming the undisputed Middleweight champion of the world!
Another example includes Lucas Matthysse — A top Light Welterweight who attained close decision losses to beltholders Devon Alexander and Zab Judah during his 2010-2011 rise. In his lesson; he went from tentative to tenacious; tearing out an impressive 6 wins-6 knockouts streak since then — These wins including brutal finishes of the highly regarded Lamont Peterson, Humberto Soto, and Olusegun Ajose.
Would about Gennady Golovkin?
During his professional career Golovkin has garnered 26 victories – no defeats — 23 by knockout. The largest “scare” of his career happened to be a fight he controlled against an aging Kassim Ouma; While dropping some Middle rounds to the experienced American fighter; Golovkin turned up the tempo when and as he pleased to turn in a tenth round stoppage victory.
Oh, yeah, and I think I gave Grzegorz Proksa the first half of round one against Golovkin before “GGG” turned up the heat and beat down Proksa to a knockdown-coated fifth round finish.
Where does this leave Golovkin? The fans and media-types alike refer to Golovkin as “Boxing’s best kept secret” and “The next great Middleweight champion.”.
Why fix what isn’t broken?
After all, pressuring your opponents and sinking in the right hand seems to get the job done — every time. They simply don’t have time to think — They don’t have to adjust their game plan; change their mindset. What is there to fear?
The fine line between self belief and overconfidence is broken. You walk into the ring like a lion amongst rabbits. Hands down; Chin out; No defensive posture. After all, You absorb their punches with ease; You don’t really even know what it is like to be hurt. They all succumb eventually; They slouch to the canvas if not forcefully reduced to such. Why should you believe anyone that cites these vulnerabilities? After you hear others calling on your monstrosity?
The recipe for disaster? A dissolution to the hype and a rupture to your loyal fan base?
Or is this a sign of perseverance? A signal that true greatness has arose? Is this proof that we have uncovered the next great fighter in the sport of boxing?
Matthew Macklin is to test that theory. He has faced the best of the sport — and came out victorious on many occasions. Macklin wrecked Canadian contender Joachim Alcine on the undercard of Sergio Martinez-Julio Cesar Chavez Jr last year. Prior to that he fought hard to a 12th round stoppage loss against Martinez; Who dropped many rounds and even slid to the deck in the process.
Before that, Macklin lost a controversial twelve round split-decision to popular German fighter Felix Sturm. Most observers felt he won the bout; and by comfortable margins!
Can Macklin finish the granite-chinned gladiator? Not many believe so. Golovkin has grinded past strong opponents before. Does Macklin believe that? Does Macklin — a warrior — with amazing energy and stamina — actually believe that he is just another opponent? That is the one thing about this entire showdown I refuse to question. Macklin is the spoiler — Golovkin is the hard-headed fighting machine. Golovkin is a young, hungry, but relatively unproven Tyson — Macklin is hard-matched underdog Douglas. Macklin wanted this fight; He is here to win.
June 29th at the Foxwoods Resort in Mashantucket, Connecticut — Live on HBO in the United States — Don’t miss it!