Boxing's most dominant fighter makes his 2016 debut on Saturday in what could be a tune-up for the most lucrative middleweight bout in decades. Gennady “GGG” Golovkin returns to the ring in a bout against Dominic Wade, who finds himself as a heavy underdog against the knockout artist, while superstar Mexican brawler Canelo Alvarez looms in the distance.
Golovkin is coming off his 21st consecutive victory via knockout, and 34th overall, having beaten David Lemieux in a middleweight title unification bout on Oct. 17 at Madison Square Garden. It was Golovokin’s first time in the main event of a pay-per-view, but as he continues to have trouble getting a bout against the biggest names in the sport like Alvarez, Golovkin is back to fighting on HBO.
Wade, the mandatory challenger for the IBF middleweight title that Golovkin won against Lemieux, is undefeated in 18 bouts against tepid competition. Wade isn’t close to being in the same class as Golovkin, and Saturday is expected to be another victory for the 34-year-old from Kazakhstan.
But Wade is determined to “shock the world,” and the fight could feature a few competitive rounds. Golovkin makes it a point to put on entertaining fights, seemingly letting some of his opponents hang around longer than they should.
“I think everybody likes ‘big drama show,’ you know?” Golovkin said Wednesday via USA Today. “I just want to bring my fans a show. Not jab, not moving. … Everybody’s paying money for tickets. For what? To drink? To watch like movie theater for two hours? This is boring. No.”
Sportsbook.ag puts the odds of the fight lasting beyond the fifth round at +115, and Golovkin is a +10000 favorite at Bovada.lv. Golovkin’s last three fights have all continued past the fifth round. From March 2013-October 2014, Golovkin fought six times, needing less than three full rounds to win on four occasions.
Saturday's fight will be met with particular interest for boxing fans hoping for a megafight featuring Golovkin and Alvarez. Golovkin may not even need a convincing win over Wade to earn a big payday against Alvarez, who fights Amir Khan on May 7. A Golovkin-Alvarez fight would help lift boxing's profile after the retirements of Floyd Mayweather Jr. and Manny Pacquiao.
Golovkin isn’t the only prolific fighter on Saturday’s card at the Forum in Inglewood, California. HBO will air two bouts, the first being a flyweight championship fight between Roman “Chocolatito” Gonzalez against McWilliams Arroyo. Gonzalez might be the only other fighter who can challenge Golovkin’s position as the world’s No.1 pound-for-pound fighter, having amassed a record of 44-0 with 38 knockouts.
Combined Golovkin and Gonzalez are 78-8 with 69 knockouts.
TV Channel: HBO
Start Time: 10 p.m. ET
Betting Odds: Golovkin-10000, Wade+1600