If you ever believed it was impossible to look impressive doing something that's widely expected of you, check out Gennady Golovkin's performance Saturday in Monaco.
In what amounted to a stay-busy fight against veteran Nobuhiro Ishida at the Salle des Etoiles in Monte Carlo, Golovkin lit up the French Riviera with a highlight-reel knockout in the seventh defense of his middleweight title.
There is little question Golovkin was expected to defeat Ishida (24-9-2, 9 KOs) handily enough. The light-hitting 37-year-old not only has as many losses as career knockouts, but he fights with a straight-up stance and a style made to order for the exciting Golovkin (26-0, 23 KOs).
But Ishida, who has faced a respectable list of heavy punchers over the past few years, entered the fight having never been stopped in 35 pro fights, and Golovkin erased that record of resilience with just one punch.
Delivering an eye-opening statement to the rest of the division (and beyond), Golovkin caught a backpedaling Ishida with a devastating overhand right that sent him under the ropes and nearly out of the ring. Ishida's head had to be supported by those at ringside to prevent him from falling backward as referee Stanley Christodoulou waved off the bout without a count.
The fight was another impressive notch on the belt of Golovkin, 30, who recorded his third straight victory since September and second in the past two months. In addition to his overwhelming power, Golovkin showed tight defense behind his high guard against a free-swinging Ishida and outstanding technique on his accurate counter shots.
Golovkin, who has yet to truly be tested, is clearly going to be a handful for any of the top names at 160 pounds. His hardest task, of course, will continue to be convincing any of them to enter the ring to try to best his versatile and sublime talents.
But as for things within the control of the 2004 Olympic silver medalist from Kazakhstan, Golovkin has executed his plan to conquer America to near perfection thus far. He continues to stay active and has looked more impressive with each level of ascension in the rankings against fighters of varying styles. Golovkin also has openly spoken of his willingness to move up or down in weight in order to take on all comers.
Whether he ultimately lands the marquee names in question is work to be handled by the promoters and cable networks that represent Golovkin. But with his refreshing desire to simply focus on continuing to put away any fighter who crosses his path -- and do so with the frightening ease we are slowly becoming accustomed to seeing -- his prospective opponents will eventually have no choice.
One of these days, Golovkin will finally find himself in the kind of fantasy matchup fans are already dreaming about, and whether his opponent ends up being Sergio Martinez, Andre Ward or some other premium talent, we will finally get to see whether “GGG” can live up to the almost impossible hype that has followed him this far.