In the post-Floyd Mayweather/Manny Pacquiao era of boxing, Gennady "GGG" Golovkin could be one of the next boxers that catches crossover appeal into mainstream pop culture.
Just like Pacquiao, Golovkin comes from a foreign country and brings an exciting, fan-friendly style that draws in both the hardcore and casual fan. He also improved his English-speaking skills to help him crossover to a North American fanbase. His personality is also similar to Pacquiao's as he is simply a nice guy. It's really hard to hate him.
In contrast to Mayweather, Golovkin could be considered an undefeated fighter with more of an ideal draw. His fights do not appear to be business decisions. GGG brings his "big drama show" and "Mexican style," as he likes to call it, to every fight. He has the highest knockout percentage in the history of the middleweight division. In his 33 wins, he has knocked out 30 of his opponents and is riding a streak of 20 consecutive knockouts.
Unlike Pacquiao, GGG has better head movement and footwork to appease fans of the technical aspect of the fight game. In his six rounds with Willie Monroe, Jr., Compubox calculated these final stats:
Golovkin packs power, lands his shots efficiently and makes boxers miss. What's not to love about that?
While GGG has finished his fights in an exciting fashion, he is yet to have a dominant win over a quality opponent. To capture his stardom Pacquiao had to defeat huge names such as Oscar De La Hoya, Miguel Cotto and Shane Mosley.
Golvokin won't have a laundry list of fighters to choose from to come remotely close to attaining the same level of stardom as Pacquiao. Along with the fighters mentioned, Pacquiao built the foundation to his legacy by defeating Mexican legends Marco Antonio Barrera, Erik Morales and Juan Manuel Marquez. GGG has a much shorter path to mainstream fame that is through two fighters: Cotto and Canelo Alvarez. However, a showdown between either of these two fighters would do a great job of captivating both the hardcore and casual fans.
Despite not having a top-tier name on his resume, Golovkin's knockout streak and exciting style has brought a bit of attention to himself. A win over Cotto or Canelo would give him more mainstream eyeballs.
Cotto would be more of an ideal matchup at first for GGG, as Cotto isn't a natural middleweight. Golovkin would have the size advantage, and would be the potential favorite in that fight. Nonetheless, the fight would likely be an exciting showdown that would captivate the public. A win over Cotto would enable him to create a better narrative for a possible superfight with Canelo Alvarez, possibly leading to a big payout for both fighters.
A Canelo/GGG showdown would be more than just a bar-room brawl. Both fighters do a great job of utilizing the feint to setup their attacks and have nasty left hooks that could easily down an opponent. However, as better as GGG's defensive skills than Pacquiao's, he still doesn't have enough defensive skills to make it out unscathed in a showdown against Canelo. The edge would have to go to Canelo in a potential superfight showdown.
Many casual observers feel there would be a huge boxing hangover after the so-called "Fight of the Century" with Mayweather and Pacquiao. That boxing hangover has been short-lived after the past two weeks. Anyone who says boxing is dead hasn't seen a GGG fight.
However, they're going to want to pay attention to his next fight, as he told HBO's Max Kellerman: