Aaaaand here we go again. Y’know, every time I tune in to pretty much any boxing news outlet to catch up on recent happenings, there will be one or two ever-predictable posts involving the same tiresome individuals who are embroiled in a fierce internet argument, often doing nothing else other than repeat the argument they had yesterday, and will have again tomorrow. What are they arguing about? I’ll tell you: they are arguing about Gennady Golovkin.
There are several factions in this debate; there are those who say Golovkin is the only middleweight worth bothering with, any of the others are either ducking him or are undeserving of facing him. Then there are those who say that Andre Ward would have taken ‘GGG’ apart, and that the Kazakh is largely untested in a division that lacks a defining name.
The other factions are smaller. The Mayweather fans are still there, buoyed by their hero’s insistence that he would only come back for a fight with Golovkin at a catch-weight if he were to return. WBO champ Billy Joe Saunders‘ fans know their man would be a huge underdog should a unification fight materialize, which actually looks possible given the Brit’s interest in fighting him, as long as it’s in the UK. Saul Alvarez is losing respect fast, his bizarre insistence at only fighting at 155lbs being enough to dissuade most observers from rushing to the Mexican’s defense.
“Golovkin is the best. Don’t believe it? Fight him then. Prove otherwise.” “Golovkin was happy to move to 168lbs for Carl Froch, but he wasn’t happy to do that for Ward! He ducked him!” “Mayweather would school him!!!” “Billy Joe is a belt holder, he deserves a say in the negotiations.” “Saunders is running from him, he priced himself out of a fight!”
And on, and on, and endlessly on. It’s groaningly boring; there may be no new developments at all, yet that won’t stop the argument from grinding around in circles. The point is; where is the space for those fans who don’t feel particularly strongly either way? Once again, like with Mayweather – Pacquiao, we are in danger of not being able to have a neutral discussion and agree to disagree. Enter into the fray with a light opinion, and in all likelihood you will lambasted and ridiculed for not seeing the situation in a different way.
In a familiar state of being our own worst enemy, “boxing fans” are in danger of stopping other fans from talking about the sport, instead choosing to bicker among themselves and drown out any other voice that might want to have a say. Yes, we will all have our disagreements about fight results, pound-for-pound lists and Greatest-Of-All-Time candidates, but it is becoming commonplace to accuse and dismiss people for having differences in opinion rather than accept that this will naturally happen in sporting communities.
And this matters. In an era that is defined by phrases such as “you don’t know sh-t about boxing”, we are moving towards the kind of elitism that excludes newcomers to the sport, prevents reasonable discussion, and forces people into suddenly having arguments they weren’t looking for. Maybe the internet is just ‘like that’, and will naturally attract those who seek confrontation because no one else can do anything about it, but if I had a choice I would like to see more people adopting an attitude of “each to their own” rather than “each to mine”.
Golovkin fulfilled most people’s expectations at the weekend by knocking out Dominic Wade in less than two rounds, earning him his 22nd consecutive knockout and 17th successful title defense. However, were there some things to exploit about his approach? An interesting first round saw the American move busily about the ring, connecting with some appreciable hooks and jabs that caused ‘GGG’ to think twice before moving within range. Perhaps a fighter with more experience than Wade would be able to take advantage of that to greater effect? I can’t say for sure, but in my eyes that could be the key to finally unlocking this fearsome champion. And if you disagree… that’s cool. Now… let’s have a beer, shall we?