Posts Tagged ‘chris eubank’


I logged in to write a piece about the fight this weekend between Gennady Golovkin and Kell Brook, which turned out to be a very interesting fight for several reasons I’ll get to later and I noticed it’s been roughly a year since my last post on here. New job, things going on at home – good job I’m not being paid for these posts otherwise I would have long ago been fired.

The Year That Was


So, the last year or so in boxing has seen a lot of things change. Floyd Mayweather retired, then teased about fighting Conor McGregor in a boxing match. Manny Pacquiao retired, then un-retired. Carl Froch called it a career and was out showing off his new nose during presser interviews before the Golovkin-Brook fight. Andre Ward stepped up to light heavyweight and actually fought in a bout, and is now scheduled to take on Kovalev in a salivating matchup. Oh, yeah, I almost forgot this one – Tyson Fury took the heavyweight titles from Wladimir Klitschko, then was immediately stripped of a title for signaling his intent to honor a rematch clause with Klitschko before talking smack about everyone he could think of and angering the governing bodies of every title he now holds.


So, even with just the major movers in boxing, it’s been an interesting year and the Donkey’s Mouth has stayed closed throughout. Well, now it’s open and flapping again so I hope to be a little more active once again.

Golovkin vs Brook

So, for the past couple of years now there’s been a gathering storm behind Gennady Golovkin (GGG to friends). The man has been a wrecking ball in the middleweight division, so much so that nobody seems to want to fight him.

The aura of fear GGG’s knockout streak has created is similar only to the aura that surrounded Mike Tyson prior to the Buster Douglas loss. I’ve read numerous articles over the years that said that Tyson had won many of his fights before the opening bell had even been rung, such was the fear his power and ruthless reputation had built in his opponents – and I witnessed this several times when watching a prime Mike Tyson blitz his trail of destruction.

GGG is right up there. The manner in which he’s brushed aside solid competition has made him look invincible – and even the most durable fighters he’s taken on have wilted under his power, and it’s not just the power that intimidates so many. Along with the crushing power GGG has in his hands, he also has a killer instinct to go after a wounded opponent and finish the fight. If he smells blood you’re going to be hit with even harder shots than you’ve already been hit with.


As a result, there seems to be a stream of middleweight fighters who feel that a bout with GGG is not worth the financial reward. They feel they know they are going to lose and with that in mind, no amount of money will allow them to put themselves through the kind of torture he will undoubtedly inflict upon them.

Sure, many still use his name as an opponent they’re angling for, but few even get as far as negotiations with the mans team to iron out a fight. For a short time it looked like Chris Eubank Jr. was going to step into the ring with GGG – but that didn’t materialize. Much like his father before him, Eubank Jr. is intent on doing things his own way. He’s trying to bring more power, more money and more control back into the fighters corner and you have to commend him and his father for doing so.

At the end of the day, it’s the fighter who steps into the ring, puts their life and career on the line and takes the shots that all fighters will take. It makes sense to fight for their dues on the other side of the fence as well and not be bullied or railroaded into decisions by promoters or television companies that don’t make sense for them. By the same tokens, they may miss out on some big fights in doing this – but again, it’s their career and their life on the line so it is what it is.

Then you have Canelo Alvarez, who outweighs most of his Jr. Middleweight opponents by a good 25 pounds by fight time, and who stepped up to middleweight with strict weight structures as he feels he’s not quite ready to face guys who’ve fought in the division for years. In spite of this, after taking out Amir Khan earlier this year after Khan jumped up in weight to face the red-haired Mexican, Canelo called out GGG.

FINALLY thought many fans, we’ll get to see two of the biggest names in boxing step in with one another. No longer will either man be facing either much smaller foes or overmatched guys who know they’ve lost before the bell rings. Alas, it came to nothing. There was some kind of muddled announcement that GGG and Canelo would fight in 2017 – so it could be well over a year before that bout even looks like happening – and there are several bouts in the middle that could curtail their ever meeting in the ring if one, or both, lose fights in between.

So, Golovkin’s opponent, much like Canelo’s last one, became a guy who jumped two weight classes to face him in Kell Brook. Brook, the reigning IBF Welterweight champion, made the decision to jump to middleweight to take on the guy nobody wants to fight in GGG. You have to take your hat off to the guy willing to not only fight GGG, but to jump two weight classes to do so.


As a result, Brook’s chances for victory were completely written off by just about everyone but Brook himself. Smaller guy, a decent but not concussive puncher, fast but not lighting fast, durable but with question marks over how durable, stepping in the ring with a knockout machine. How could Brook win?

Well, when it came down to it, he didn’t, but their fight from September 10th should have made many people – boxers and media alike – step up and take notice. Brook didn’t come to lay down, he came to fight and he gave GGG his toughest challenge to date – in spite of what GGG said afterward, but we’ll get to that.

The fight started like many expected with GGG looking to make his size and power tell. On the size difference, it was minimal at best. Brook didn’t look like a blown up welterweight, he looked like he belonged at middleweight. GGG is an inch or so taller, but as far as their physiques, both men looked on equal footing. Brook flicked out some range finding jabs early and found his mark a couple of times. GGG did the same, but looked to follow up with some more aggressive shots early on.

GGG mixed up his body and head attacks early on, no doubt part of the gameplan with his corner to try to slow down Brook so he would be primed for the picking later in the fight. These body shots led to a huge left hook from GGG that badly rocked Brook in the opening round. Credit to Brook, who shook off the big shot quickly and ended the round with some nice shots of his own, including a tasty uppercut that snapped GGG’s head back.


The second round started much like the first had with GGG flicking out jabs and trying to move into range for bigger shots. Brook alternated between standing and throwing quick combinations to moving laterally around the ring while occasionally stopping to flick out shots of his own. The round was pretty even until Brook landed a couple of nice lefts – an uppercut to the body followed by one to the head, again snapping GGG’s head back. Incredibly to many, Brook clearly won the second round.

This, for me, was where the fight took an interesting turn. We’ve seen GGG be very rigid with sticking to his gameplan of gradually wearing down his opponents by trapping them against the ropes and ripping body and head combinations early on then taking them out in the mid-later rounds of the bout. This time around, however, GGG started rounds 3, 4 and 5 like a buzz-saw.

In each round he stormed Brook from the opening bell and started ripping big shots. Some connected, some Brook circled away from. All the while, Brook kept dabbing at his right eye, seemingly injured in the second round although it was tough to tell whether this was from a left hand by GGG or an accidental clash of heads.

What we started to see was frustration coming from GGG. Clearly upset by the fact that Brook had been able to take his best shots and not only keep coming, but land good shots of his own and win rounds, GGG started to open up and throw more than we’re used to seeing. The more he threw without the desired effect, the more frustration built.

Then there was the most interesting part. This fight was starting to show a similar script to the Sugar Ray Leonard vs Marvin Hagler fight. GGG, like Hagler, was starting each round like he was looking to end the bout with huge shots. Brook, similar to Leonard, was sticking and moving throughout the first 90 seconds to 2 minutes – doing just enough to not look like he’s being over-run before exploding at the end of the round and taking over.

The “bigger” Golovkin renowned for his punching power was having little effect on slowing his “smaller” opponent and being able to take over the fight. Frustration was evident on the face and in the mannerisms of GGG.

Then, sadly for all watching, the bout was brought to a premature end by Brook’s corner making the smart decision by pulling their fighter out. The damage to Brooks eye, that tuned out to be a broken eye socket, from the second round was building to the point where Brook himself said after the bout that he was seeing up to 5 GGG’s in front of him. If the corner left it up to Brook, there’s no way he would have allowed himself to be pulled – but they did their job in protecting their fighter who has at least another 6 years of his career still to fight.

The sad part for the fans is that Brook’s tactics were working. He was frustrating GGG and making him open up in a way we’ve not seen before. For the first time since GGG’s rise to prominence he looked beatable. He looked like a man who felt pressure rising and it caused him to get a little reckless. He looked like he was gassing himself out each round and leaving openings for his opponent to take advantage of.


Now, this is where the aftermath of the fight gets to me. Brook admitted that GGG had a lot of power, but that it wasn’t more than he could handle. This was echoed in the manner in which Brook shook of the HUGE left hand from the first round to finish the round strong, and also in the way that he weathered the blitzkrieg attack from GGG at the start of the 3rd and 4th rounds to come back in the final minute and take the round. There’s no doubt in my mind that Brook was up after 4 rounds, and the way the fight was shaping up there didn’t look like there was any way that would change barring a huge punch from GGG that changed the momentum of the fight.

Golovkin, on the other hand, has spoken in a different tone to what we all witnessed in that fight. I’ve read several reports in which Golovkin has been quoted stating that Brook was out of his depth at middleweight, and that the fight was like a sparring bout for him. I’ve watched boxing for a long time, and I’ve never seen a fighter who felt like he was in a glorified sparring bout get frustrated and ragged in the manner Golovkin did.

Golovkin fought well, but he fought like a man who felt the longer the fight went the more chance there was it would get away from him. He seemed to feel the need to change the course the fight was taking and tried to use his power as the decider. However, unlike in so many fights before this bout, Golovkin had not effectively softened up his opponent with measured attacks for 4-6 rounds that took the edge of his foes speed and power.

He started attacking and looking for a finish much sooner than he normally does, and it left a fresh opponent with the ability to get out of the way the opportunity to weather the storm and fire back.

Had the fight lasted several more rounds, there’s all the chance in the world Brook would have started to slow, become more flat footed and stand in front of GGG more often. Such is the power GGG has it could have taken its toll. But with the way he decided to attack, he obviously felt he needed to assert his dominance over his “smaller” opponent in order to stack the deck in his favor.

Moving Forward

Brook definitely enhanced his reputation in this fight. He stepped in the ring with the most feared fighter on the planet and showed no fear. He showed that any man has a chance if they play the right game, and he forced struggles out of GGG that we’re not used to seeing.

Whether Brook decides to move back down to welterweight to defend his belt remains to be seen. He’s often spoken of how depleted he is making welterweight, and his physique in this bout didn’t suggest he forced any weight gain on his body. He looked natural and comfortable at middleweight, and that may make up his mind that any drop in weight he undergoes in the future doesn’t drop below the Jr. Middleweight limit so he isn’t sapping his strength and stamina to make 147 pounds for welterweight.

Brook spoke of wanting to face the winner of the upcoming Canelo Alvarez vs Liam Smith bout, and judging by his performance in this fight I think that would be a mouthwatering affair. Alvarez will be the likely winner in that bout, and he’s about the same height as Brook but a little stockier. Brook is the more fleet footed of the two, and Alvarez has accumulating, but not thudding, power so it would be another battle of wills.

For Golovkin, he’s at a crossroads in spite of extending his stoppage streak. For me he struggled in his biggest test to date. He failed to light up the show against a fighter nobody felt had a chance against him. I didn’t think I’d be saying this so soon, but it’s time for GGG to put up or shut up. He needs to find a way to either line up a middleweight unification bout, or step up to super middleweight.


Alvarez is still considered the lineal middleweight champion, as well as being The Ring’s middleweight champion. Then you have Daniel Jacobs and Billy Joe Saunders holding the other middleweight crowns. Jacobs holds the better resume, coming of 2 victories over Sergio Mora, as well as stopping former champion Peter Quillin. Jacobs holds the WBA regular title, while GGG holds the WBA Super title and given the recent push by the governing bodies to lessen the number of belts in each division, they’re seeking bouts between regular and super title holders – so this fight makes the most sense, and Jacobs seems to want to face Golovkin.

Saunders doesn’t have the resume Jacobs does, but holds victories over Eubank Jr. and defeated Andy Lee for his WBO crown – albeit both by slim margins. Saunders is an awkward southpaw who moves well and carries deceptive power in his shots. He’s a volume puncher rather than a concussive knockout puncher, and as we saw by Brooks gameplan GGG can be frustrated by fighters landing combinations on him.

If GGG decided to step up to Super Middleweight, I would expect immediate title challenges against either Babou Jack – who holds wins over George Groves, Anthony Dirrell and was handed a draw against Lucian Bute in a fight most felt he won – or James De Gale, another tricky southpaw who beat out the other Dirrell brother (Andre) for his IBF title and then outpointed Bute in his first defense.

If I was a betting man, I’d say that GGG stays at middleweight and takes on Saunders as that is the most winnable bout on paper for a man who does seem to often take the easiest track.

Every fan of a sport has a moment or a personality they can look back upon as a main reason for the love of the respective sport. For football fans that can often be fond childhood memories of bonding moments with their father. For boxing fans it’s often something else. For me it began with a book of all things.

As a child my father worked night shifts and often fell asleep on the couch during the middle of the day on weekends. Being a man with a temper, especially when awoken from his mid-day slumber, my brother and I as small children didn’t want to risk a beating by waking him and often went searching for things to occupy our time. 

Television only managed to take up small portions of time as we couldn’t channel hop because the different sounds or light flickers created by changing channel would wake the man. Board games were too noisy because of dice rolls. Going outside wasn’t an option because the door opening and closing would certainly interrupt sleep.

The answer was usually going upstairs to search out things to do. On one search I found a book about boxing. This book was the authors favorite heavyweight fights throughout history, and it was old. I believe the most recent fight noted in the book was the “Rumble in the Jungle” between Muhammad Ali and George Foreman. 

In this book I read about the bout noted above. I read about the battles between Ali and Joe Frazier, Floyd Patterson’s series with Ingemar Johansson. Of all the fights in the book, there were two that captured my attention to the point that every chance I got I would go back to read them again. The first was Jack Dempsey’s rematch with the man who had taken his title, Gene Tunney – the bout forever remembered for the “long count”.

The other bout that forever stayed with me was the undefeated heavyweight champion Rocky Marciano taking on the grizzled veteran Archie Moore in what would ultimately prove to be Marciano’s last fight. Reading about how the challenger had spent years developing his solar plexus counter punch and took his time to wait for Marciano to leave him an opportunity to use it. Reading how the underdog put the champion down face first with a perfect counter, only for Marciano to get back to his feet to stop his challenger gave me a thirst to watch boxing.

Since those early days as a child reading that book in an attempt not to wake my father and face the wrath that would bring boxing has been in my blood. I sought out and watched each and every fight written about in the book and was not disappointed with a single one. 

I then moved on to find active boxers to cling to immerse myself in. Growing up in England in the 80’s I was introduced to Chris Eubank and Nigel Benn, two fighters whose paths crossed in two of the most entertaining bouts I’ve ever seen. First at Middleweight when the unfancied Eubank dug deep to dethrone the champion Benn, then a second time when both fighters left everything they had in the ring and fought to a draw in their super middleweight contest – a draw that saved both men from becoming Don King fighters.

There have been many more over the years whose careers I’ve watched develop from their first bouts on fuzzy YouTube videos captured on phones from the crowd to their debuts on televised and PPV broadcasts. In spite of all I’ve seen since, that book is where it began for me. What put boxing in your heart?