The expression of shock on the face of American boxer Curtis Stevens (25-4, 18 KO) at being knocked down in the second round by Kazakhstan-based boxer Gennady Golovkin (28-0, 25 KO) demonstrated just how underrated Golovkin has been in the boxing world. But by the time the refs stopped their Nov. 2 fight at Madison Square Garden in Golovkin’s favour after the eighth round, the New York crowd was shouting Golovkin’s nickname, Gena.
Stevens, who hails from Brownsville, Brooklyn, Mike Tyson’s hometown, was heavily favoured by his supporters. Called cocky, athletic, quick and intimidating, the fight was expected to be a quick win for him.
Before the match, many speculated that Golovkin would go down after eight or nine rounds, as his powerful punches would wear out against Steven’s ability to take them.
After the first bell, it did seem that Stevens had an advantage. He was quicker and threw Golovkin on ropes a couple of times. Things evened out toward the end of the round as both fighters exchanged punches.
Round two seemed an even match up at first; Stevens with a slight advantage, landing a few shots, then Golovkin trying to catch up, chasing him to get even. Then came Golovkin’s left hook, stunning both his opponent and the audience.
Stevens managed to get back up and stand on his feet for the 15 seconds that remained in the round and was saved by the bell. Stevens came back in the third round and again the match seemed even, with Stevens even dominating parts of round five. From round six, however, Golovkin made himself comfortable in the centre, dominating the ring, forcing Stevens onto the ropes and wearing him out. After round eight, the referee in Stevens’ corner stopped the match.
2013 has been a big year for Golovkin, who came to fame first in 2004 when he won an Olympic silver medal in Athens. He put his combination of heavy hands and technique to good use in June against Matthew Macklin of the U.K., who required medical attention after a left hook to the liver. Golovkin was also the underdog in that fight. Macklin was supposed to be his toughest opponent ever.
“I am the champion,” Golovkin said after the fight. “I am open for everybody.” Asked to name one opponent he’d like to face, he said, “Sergio Martinez.”