Gennady Golovkin (36-0, 33 KO’s) has defeated the IBF welterweight champion Kell Brook (36-1, 25 KO’s) from Sheffield, England via a corner stoppage midway through the 5th round in the sold out O2 arena in London, England.
Broadcasted on Sky Sports in the U.K. and HBO in the U.S., millions of fans around the world saw one of the strangest yet relatively entertaining fights in quite some time. Mostly this was due to the great atmosphere and suspense in this fight.
In the first round, Golovkin was able to win from a hesitant Brook with forward pressure and working behind his superb jab. Brook was staying on the ropes for extended periods of time which led to him being tagged by a classic Golovkin left hook to the body, the same punch that put Matthew Macklin down, then doubled up on it by going high with the same punch. Brook was severely stunned but held onto Golovkin to survive and recover. Golovkin slowed his volume for the remainder of the round and allowed Brook to find his range and start throwing combinations. Brook landed a thudding right straight that had Golovkin’s feet rising off the canvas.
The second round was Brook’s best round of the fight. He moved laterally instead of straight back more allowing him to stay off the ropes more than in the first. Brook began to use his jab to greater effect. He would even hook off the jab with the same hand then come down the middle with a straight or uppercut right hand. Brook also was able to slip more of Golovkin shots, therefore, avoiding the big shots that made him lose the first round. Brook would throw almost exclusively combinations when he engaged Golovkin first while only landing single shots on the counter and exit. He would mix up his combinations as well; sometimes leading with a right hand and then land a lead left uppercut.
The third round saw both men desperately try to establish dominance. Golovkin upped the tempo from the second round after clearly losing it. Brook in the first half of the round fell back into the bad habit of staying on the ropes too long until he landed a four-punch combination that changed the tone of the round. Golovkin started getting hit quite often and Brook was able to keep the fight closer the center of the ring. Brook was able to land some picture perfect right hands on Golovkin while Golovkin would land some hard hooks to the body or head whenever Brook’s back hit the ropes or corner.
The fourth round had Golovkin reestablish the fact he was in true control of this fight. He was capable of keeping Brook along the ropes and walking backward, which never allowed Brook to sit on his punches in this round. Golovkin landed some hard body shots that seemed to slowly start to make Brook sluggish. Brook came on towards the end of the round and was able to land some flashy shots however it seemed more to the fact of Golovkin taking his foot off the gas pedal as he believed he won the round.
The fifth round, the towel heard around the world, except for referee Darion Wright who needed it being thrown directly at him in order to see said towel. Golovkin immediately crossed the distance between himself and Brook to throw a vicious combination to the body and head. Brook was instantaneously put into survival mode attempting to circle away, deflect, and slip Golovkin’s shots. Golovkin never let him out of range, though, hitting Brook with everything but the kitchen sink. Brook’s corner rose up and started to wave the towel violently until having to throw it to get noticed.
After the fight and during the post-fight interviews with HBO’s Jim Lampley and Bernard Hopkins, Golovkin reiterated his desire for to unify all of the middleweight belts, setting sights on mandatory challenger WBA interim champion Daniel Jacobs and WBO champion Billy Joe Saunders; each of those men have said through social media that they want to face Golovkin.
Brook revealed the swelling on his right eye was due to a broken eye socket and that was the true cause of the stoppage. Unfortunately for those who had hoped to see Brook face top welterweights in Keith Thurman or Errol Spence Jr., he also announced he will move up, down from this fight, to the 154lb. limit of junior middleweight. However, possible matchups with either Charlo brother, Demetrius Andrade, Julian Williams, Canelo Alvarez, Liam Smith, or Erislandy Lara all seem like competitive and sellable bouts that add some intrigue to that division.