Blockbuster bouts are few and far between in boxing these days but Gennady Golovkin versus Kell Brook at the O2 Arena on Saturday is a fight that should live up to its hype.
Golovkin and Brook have won every single one of their 71 professional bouts, with both fighters possessing world title belts currently. Golovkin is the unified world middleweight champion, while Brook is the reigning IBF world welterweight title holder who is stepping up a couple of divisions to mix it with the Kazakhstani superstar.
According to The Ring and BoxRec, Golovkin is one of the world’s finest pound-for-pound fighters. The Ring lists Golovkin third behind Roman Gonzalez and Sergey Kovalev, while BoxRec ranks the Kazakhstani fifth behind Saul Alvarez, Manny Pacquiao, Terence Crawford and Kovalev.
Golovkin is worthy of great respect. Golovkin has won 32 of his 35 professional bouts by knockout and his fights have averaged 4.43 rounds. The boxer who goes by the nickname of Triple G – his full name is Gennady Gennadyevich Golovkin – merits favouritism for this weekend’s big bout but Brook is the best fighter that the Kazakhstani has ever encountered.
Brook is 36-0 as a professional, winning 25 of his bouts by knockout and his fights averaging 4.97 rounds. Brook, also known as Special K, has held the IBF world welterweight championship since upsetting Shawn Porter of the United States of America in California two years ago. Brook beat Porter by majority decision in one of the greatest British boxing performances of all time. Defeating a world title holder away from home, particularly on points, is a rare occurrence and Brook deserved to take down Porter. The Ring ranks Brook just outside its pound-for-pound top 10 but BoxRec lists the Briton only five spots below Golovkin.
One feels that bookmakers are not affording sufficient respect to Brook. The British boxer may not have what it takes to dethrone Golovkin – the Kazakhstani is a natural middleweight who hits like a light heavyweight – but he is a terrific mover who can stay out of harm for more than a few rounds. Brook is a product of Brendan Ingle’s Sheffield gym, the academy out of which have emerged Herol Graham, Johnny Nelson and, most famously, Naseem Hamed. Graham, Nelson and Hamed were, like most Ingle-trained fighters, hard to catch flush on the jaw and even Golovkin’s fans are conceding that he is not as skilled in the noble art as Brook. One thinks that there is mileage in backing the O2 Arena bout to go a fairly long way, if not the full championship distance.
Paddy Power is offering odds of +175 that both Golovkin and Brook answer the bell for the start of the ninth round. One is not tempted to be greedy and bet on the fight going to a points decision – it is an option that is trading at odds of +350 with several bookmakers, including Betfred and Bet365 – because Golovkin may catch up with Brook towards the end of their clash, particularly if the cards are close and the Kazakhstani may require a knockout to prevail on enemy territory. One is going to settle for a decent odds-against punt on Brook making life hard for Golovkin.
Brook vs Golovkin – Over 8.5 Rounds
Saturday 10th September, Card Starts 18:00 GMT
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