Coming off a two year layoff is difficult enough, but to do so against one of the sports best is a bleak prospect. Undefeated middleweight champion Gennady “GGG” Golovkin (36-0-1, 34 KOs) was aiming to equal the middleweight record for the number of successful defences (20) against a man in Vanes “The Nightmare” Martirosyan (36-4-1, 21 KOs) whose last outing was a losing one against Erislandy Lara in 2016.
“Most people thought that record would never be touched,” said Golovkin’s trainer Abel Sanchez. “Now for Gennady to tie it, you saw his hunger and motivation.”
At a packed StubHub Center in Carson, California on Cinco De Mayo weekend, Martirosyan surprised some with his willingness to fight fire with fire, landing a succession of combinations whilst Golovkin stalked his prey, waiting for his chance to pounce.
All the good work from the challenger in the opener was undone in a moment of sheer brutality from Golovkin who landed a big uppercut, followed with a barrage of shots which dropped Martirosyan face first to the canvas for the full count and then some.
“It feels great to get a knockout,” Golovkin said afterwards. “Vanes is a very good fighter. He caught me a few times in the first round. In the second round, I came out all business, after I felt him out in the first round.”
“Canelo has a lot to prove. I see why he’s eating that kind of meat, trying to get the extra edge” Vanes Martirosyan said “The man (Golovkin) is the real deal. 36 years old and he’s still fighting like that? …I wanted to see what the guy had. I went inside to brawl with the guy and he got me good. Good for him.
When asked for the advice he could give to Canelo, Vanes said simply “Run”