Tuesday, March 22, 2016

A Critical Look At Gennady Golovkin

Sometimes a critical eye is needed

So I've been watching old Hagler fights lately. Sometimes you just have to go back to the classics. Sometimes you also have to take a look at older fights to see if a "great" fighter was really as great as you've been told he was. For the record, there was never any question in my mind whether or not Hagler was great, as I was raised watching him on television. With that in mind, however, it's easy to forget exactly HOW great the man really was.

Wars with Hearns and Mugabi, along with that controversial loss to Leonard, give us an image of a pure warrior. And while that's certainly true, there were other aspects to Hagler which are easy to overlook, like his movement, and WAY underrated defensive skills. Let's just say it's worth considering that Hagler may have peaked AFTER his talent had already begin to wane.

Which brings me to the feared and avoided Gennady Golovkin. Like Hagler, people seem to want him to get old before they face him. All the best with that. For unlike Hagler, GGG has a style that conserves energy. Watching him critically, it's hard not to notice what a patient fighter the man really is. And what a technically sound one.

Here's a man, after all, who cuts off the ring better than anyone I've ever seen - or can at least remember. He also picks his shots with amazing precision. Indeed, this is a man worthy of much of the attention he's received. Is he as good as advertised, though? HBOs analysts would argue so, but HBO is in the Gennady business. What's more, GGG takes punches - frequently. That's a trait that was never particularly noticeable in Hagler. Sure, Hearns nailed him, but who WASN'T Hearns able to land on?

Watching Hagler and Golovkin in action back to back, there's little doubt that Hagler's herky-jerky energy and movement would stand out in a battle between the two. Having said that, perhaps neither Hearns nor Mugabi hit as hard as GGG. Golovkin makes people quit on a regular basis, after all. And that's really saying something.

So, could the lauded GGG hold his own against a great like, say, Hagler? It's hard to say. If Hagler could take those punches, though, I'd give the Marvelous One the edge. The fact that the discussion even merits debate, however, speaks very highly of GGG indeed.

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