Sorry Chris Berman but I’m jacking your ascribed moniker of ‘Swami.’
It was a blustery November in New York City; you know the type, where the wind bites you with frost around every skyscraper-gilded corner.
My team and I were given the opportunity to coordinate a fight in the Madison Square Garden Theater for an obscure champion from Kazakhstan. He was facing off against Brooklyn slugger, Curtis Stevens, and as one still yet uninitiated to the ferocity possessed by GGG, I silently wondered if the NYC native would steal the champion’s laurels.
Watching in the shadows of the legendary theater's staging, I witnessed Golovkin dismantle, confuse and eventually knock out Stevens in the 8th round to the roars, chants and pure passion that are his East Coast Kazakh faithful.
At that moment I knew this kid was on the verge of greatness and that verge has finally been presented in his next challenge, Canadian David Lemieux.
We told you about Gennady Gennadyevich Golovkin (33-0) in our interview with him last year. Although undefeated, he still has yet to face a challenger whose name recognition and buzz is comparable to his own. This unique combination mixed with timing is the recipe for superstardom in boxing.
Tom Loeffler, Managing Director of the Klitschko Brother’s K2 Promotions, understands how to successfull build European talent globally and domestically in the U.S. Ever heard the name Vladimir and Vitali mentioned in pugilism’s conversations about the greats? Well Loeffler was the maestro behind those brands.
Loeffler recently told Bleacher Report that Golovkin’s fight against Marco Antonio Rubio allowed him to position GGG for the interim World Boxing Council (WBC) Middleweight title. However, that step was just to secure the real prize- a shot at the biggest opponents in the division.
"I knew that being mandated by the WBC would be the only way to corner (WBC champion) Miguel Cotto into fighting against Gennady," Loeffler said to Bleacher Report. "I have to think two or three fights ahead just to figure out how to get guys into the ring."
This is GGG’s first pay-per-view and against a quality, no holds barred type of opponent in Canada’s equivalent to Golovkin, David Lemieux.
Also a bit obscure to U.S. fans, David Lemieux (34-2) demonstrated his dominance particularly against Gabe Rosado, whom Lemieux knocked out last December at the Barclay’s Center to retain his NABF Middleweight title.
The styles of these two fighters are very well matched with GGG having 30 KO’s in 33 outings and Lemieux with 31 KO’s in 36 outings. This matchup comes at the perfect time for GGG and Lemieux, with the chance for one to eclipse the other and take that next step in the minds of boxing fans and critics, and in boxing nothing is more rare.
It harkens back to another good-looking kid who stirred cultural pride domestically, and slowly built a lasting impact on the sport. His name was Oscar De La Hoya aka “The Golden Boy” and as much as boxing polarizes he, like Golovkin, is one of the special athletes that brought all fans on the bandwagon.
Having done triple duty of fighting in NYC, Los Angeles and Monaco, GGG has built an international fan base and a fervor that has warranted his first PPV this Saturday. Only time will tell if the GGG machine will roll past Lemieux, forcing today’s top talent to face him, the names of Canelo and Cotto being at the top of the request list.
Either way the path for a long-lasting career has been laid with an honest smile and vicious ferocity that has flattened all opponents thus far.