The oddsmakers had made Dominic Wade a longer longshot than Custer at the Little Bighorn, and even then they probably didn’t give Gennady “GGG” Golovkin, the world’s best and scariest middleweight his just due. Had the true gap between champion and challenger been posted, Wade – who, as it was, went off as an almost-unfathomable 70-to-1 no-hoper -- would have had about as much chance of winning of plucking down a buck at his neighborhood bodega and winning the Powerball Lottery.
Filling in as the replacement for the injured Tureano Johnson, Wade (18-1, 12 KOs) was knocked down three times in the 5 minutes, 37 seconds that probably had him wishing that he hadn’t consented to fill the slot against Golovkin (35-0, 32 KOs) that most potential “GGG” opponents are avoiding as they might voluntary exposure to the Ebola virus.
In scoring his 22nd consecutive win before its scheduled conclusion, Golovkin is drawing comparisons not only to historically great 160-pound fighters – he had said beforehand that, now with 16 successful middleweight defenses, he is shooting at the division-record of 20 held by ageless wonder Bernard Hopkins – but to the kind of big blasters at any weight whose power tends to mesmerize the public and fire fans’ imagination. HBO commentator Max Kellerman said no fighter since the young Mike Tyson had so enraptured the sport through the exercise of pugilistic brutality.
But holdouts to the increasing GGG hype – hey, you know who you are – will argue, with some merit, that the Los Angeles-based native of Kazakhstan has yet to meet and defeat an elite fighter of equal or near-equal statue. Someone, in other words, like WBC middleweight champion Canelo Alvarez, who appears to be in no great hurry to testing himself against Golovkin.
Wade certainly was not the one to furnish anything more than an open-book quiz to Golovkin. He was floored by an overhand right to the back of the neck in round one, which appeared to rattle his equilibrium, and he was still shaky when he went out for a second round that would mark the end of his brief brush with quasi-celebrity. After Golovkin floored him a second time, Wade arose at the count of nine and, when asked by referee Jack Reiss if he wanted to continue, he appeared to have second thoughts to giving his consent. He thus thrust himself back into the danger zone, only to be put down and out by another right that landed flush to the jaw, and with the percussive force of a runaway locomotive.
“Of course, I need a big name, a big fight,” the 34-year-old Golovkin said after he retained his WBA “super” and WBA titles, as well as the WBC interim championship. “I’m ready to fight anybody.”
Yeah, but the question is whether everyone if ready to fight him.
Gonzalez UD12 Arroyo
With the announced retirement of Floyd Mayweather Jr., Roman “Chocolatito” Gonzalez was elevated by to the top spot on many boxing pound-for-pound lists. And why not? The WBO flyweight champion from Nicaragua is so talented, so dominant, it could be argued that he not only broke the spirit of many opponents, he routinely took a piece of their souls, too.
Until last night, he had never taken anyone’s sole. But that’s what happened in the fourth round when the sole of McWilliams Arroyo’s right shoe literally fell off, causing the challenger from Puerto Rico to take a sort of bunny hop. When the round ended, Arroyo’s corner team put tape on the bottom of the now-soleless shoe in an effort to give their fighter a bit more traction. And while the equipment malfunction might not have helped Arroyo in his effort to pull off the upset, it apparently didn’t hurt that much either; fighting for the first time in 377 days, the courageous and willing 2008 Olympian at least was able to go the 12-round distance, ending “Chocolatito’s” streak of 10 consecutive victories by knockout or stoppage.
Not that Arroyo – a very good fighter, who, to his credit, had his moments, well-spaced though they were – came much closer to taking down Gonzalez than the 38 guys who failed to make it to the final bell against the finest Nicaraguan fighter since the late, great Alexis Arguello. Judge Dave Moretti had Gonzalez winning every round in pitching a 120-108 shutout, while colleagues Max DeLuca and Eddie Hernandez each saw him winning by 119-109.
Punch statistics reflected Gonzalez’s level of domination. After feeling out Arroyo for the first round and a half that was more or less even, Gonzalez began picking up the pace in the middle of round two and, well … that was basically that.
This was the third time Gonzalez had served as a set-up man for Golovkin, and likely the last that they’ll appear on the same card. Gonzalez will soon be headlining his own cards, and he might soon become the third flyweight, after Michael Carbajal and Humberto “Chiquita” Gonzalez (no relation) to make a million dollars for a night’s work.
Bernard Fernandez, a five-term president of the Boxing Writers Association of America, received the Nat Fleischer Award from the BWAA in April 1999 for lifetime achievement and was inducted into the Pennsylvania Boxing Hall of Fame in 2005, as well as the New Jersey Boxing Hall of Fame in 2013. The New Orleans-born sports writer has worked in the industry since 1969 and pens a weekly column on the Sweet Science for Sherdog.com.
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