Enjoy the journey of GGGFebruary 2, 2014
Middleweight titleholder Gennady Golovkin went to work on Saturday and boxing's most exciting fighter did what he usually does - he knocked off a bit early.
That's because 'GGG' scored his 16th consecutive knockout in destroying tough guy Osumanu Adama in the seventh round on Saturday at the Salle des Etoiles in Monte Carlo.
Adama had previously fought well in a world-title fight - a competitive decision loss to then-titlist Daniel Geale of Australia in 2012 - and had never been stopped. Yet Golovkin looked sharp in smashing him up and dropping him three times in the one-sided fight.
What else is new for Golovkin?
Dominating his opponents has become the norm for Golovkin (29-0, 26 KOs), who raised his boxing-best knockout percentage among active titleholders to 89.66 percent.
Golovkin hasn't heard the final bell since an eight-round decision win over Amar Amari in 2008. That means he has knocked out all 10 challengers he has faced in his title defences.
There's a reason he is must-see TV, even if HBO blew it on this fight and did not work out a deal to show the fighter who is under contract to the network and has become one of their cornerstone fighters (and best ratings draws).
Alas, the fight went on anyway with 100-plus other countries televising it, and Golovkin did what he always does. He stalked and punched and took little in return from a game Adama (22-4, 16 KOs), the 32-year-old from Ghana who lives in Chicago.
Golovkin dropped Adama three times - late in the first round with a right hand, in the sixth round with a left hook and with a jab (a jab!) in the seventh. When he rocked Adama with yet another powerful left hook in the seventh round, referee Luis Pabon called it off at one minute, 20 seconds.
It was an appropriate and merciful stoppage.
"I feel terrific. I'm very happy with my performance," a smiling (what else is new?) Golovkin said. "From the opening round I was comfortable with the fight and felt good about my power and the pace of the fight. He was a tough opponent but I was never hurt during the fight."
Now, I know that Adama was not an elite opponent, but so what? Golovkin is one of the busiest stars in the sport. He fought four times last year and plans on four more fights this year. And since none of the other big names in the middleweight division - or even in the super middleweight or junior middleweight divisions - have showed any real zest to face him, I applaud Golovkin and K2 promoter Tom Loeffler for doing what they are doing. They have Golovkin staying busy, fighting solid available opponents and then knocking them out in fan-friendly performances.
When Mike Tyson was blazing through the heavyweight division like a meteor in the 1980s, there were many mismatches. Nobody cared, though, that he was drilling guys with ease, because you just wanted to see him in action.
Golovkin has reached that point.
When he's fighting, no matter who is across the ring from him, I'm watching any way I can find the fight. A lot of boxing fans feel that way, too, because it seemed like I heard from thousands of them on social media in the days leading up to Saturday's fight as they crushed HBO for their decision to not take the world feed of the fight like more than 100 other countries did.
At least with this fight out of the way, Golovkin will return stateside on April 26 and headline an HBO card at the Theater at Madison Square Garden in New York.
He has no opponent yet, and I don't really care. I cannot wait to see him back in action.
The opponents Loeffler has mentioned as possibilities are Geale, longtime middleweight contender Andy Lee and junior middleweight contender James Kirkland, the ultra-aggressive puncher. If it's Golovkin-Kirkland, prepare for carnage.
Golovkin is OK fighting any of those guys or anyone else put in front of him, for that matter. Golovkin and Loeffler have made it very clear that Golovkin will fight literally anybody HBO wants him to fight from 154 to 168 pounds.
The 31-year-old from Kazakhstan, however, has one wish: He wants the recognised 160-pound champion.
"I want to fight Sergio Martinez to prove who's the best middleweight," Golovkin said.
Martinez, out with a knee injury since last April, is in the final stages of negotiating his return fight, a June 7 title defence against Puerto Rican star Miguel Cotto. That's a big HBO PPV fight.
However, should Martinez prevail, there is no reason Martinez-Golovkin can't happen later in the year. There are no network issues, no promotional issues and big paydays for both guys, not to mention certain fan interest.
For now, however, it's one fight at a time for GGG.
The top of the mountain might be a fight with Martinez, or even a showdown with super middleweight champ Andre Ward, but I, for one, am thoroughly enjoying Golovkin's journey.
This article originally appeared on ESPN.com