GGG Looking to Add to Legacy in Title Fight Against Martirosyan

Boxing champion Gennady Golovkin will defend several of his belts against Vanes Martirosyan in California on Saturday.

Updated: May 3, 2018 • 10:30 AM ET

Gennady Golovkin is considered among the best boxers in the world.

One of the greatest middleweights in the world, not to mention one of the best boxers of all time, will step back in the ring Saturday. However, the fight is less about Gennady Golovkin’s record or what he’ll achieve with a victory, most noteworthy is who GGG isn’t fighting.


Originally scheduled for a rematch against Canelo Alvarez in Las Vegas, Golovkin instead will defend his WBA and WBC middleweight titles this Saturday against Vanes Martirosyan at the StubHub Center in Carson, Calif. Alvarez is under suspension by the Nevada State Athletic Commission for failing two drug tests in February.


Alvarez’s six-month suspension can be added to a long list of things that has happened to Golovkin that he has had zero control over. In their first fight last September, a fight that produced stats which suggested Golovkin won, GGG and Alvarez fought to a highly controversial split draw. Once becoming aware of the suspension, however, Golovkin could have waited to fight Alvarez later this year. But Golovkin wanted to stay active, which coincides with the type of fighter he has been since turning pro in 2006.


With a win on Saturday, Golovkin (37-0-1, 33 KOs) will tie Bernard Hopkins for the most successful middleweight title defenses at 20. That number would also be the sixth-most title defenses in history in any weight class. A win would also likely cement GGG’s place in the International Boxing Hall of Fame, but the undefeated fighter’s career is still questioned by many because he’s missing a marquee victory, the kind of victory that the first fight with Alvarez represented.


Golovkin turned 36 last month and like all fighters who hit the wrong side of 30, he’ll begin being questioned whether he’s slowing down. But, looking at his most recent performances, one could determine he already has.


Last March, Golovkin defended his belts against Danny Jacobs in a masterful performance. Jacobs showed tremendous heart while going blow for blow with Golovkin, but the champion was too much for the challenger. Because Golovkin didn’t finish Jacobs, questions arose about whether he had begun slowing down.


Then, Golovkin had the draw with Alvarez, which really shined a light on the ever-evolving problems with his sport. Yet, Golovkin keeps fighting and doesn’t ask too many questions — but he still has to answer them. A win on Saturday will bring about the ultimate question for the champion: who’s next?


Martirosyan (36-3-1) lost his last fight to Erislandy Lara for the WBA and IBO light middleweight titles nearly a year ago to. He’s 1-2 in his last three fights with the other loss coming to phenom and future title challenger Jermell Charlo in 2015.


Martirosyan is no stranger to fighting for titles and is a former champion himself. He’s looking to make up for past mistakes in title fights, but Saturday’s fight will be the first of this magnitude for the 32-year-old Armenian-American. He shouldn’t expect Golovkin to look past him and should expect an all-out war.


Should Golovkin achieve victory on Saturday, a rematch with Jacobs could be waiting for him. Jacobs, who defeated Maciej Sulecki last month by unanimous decision, earned his place as a mandatory title challenger to Golovkin with the win.


No matter who he fights, Golovkin is must-see television, which shouldn’t change on Saturday. Who he’s fighting is irrelevant and shouldn’t determine his legacy. After all, rumors have always been about who won’t fight Golovkin, not who Golovkin won’t fight.




• The fight can be seen on HBO at 11 p.m. ET this Saturday.

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