Los Angeles: World middleweight champion Gennady Golovkin confirmed his status as the most devastating finisher in boxing, demolishing American challenger Dominic Wade inside two rounds to score his 22nd consecutive knockout.
The 34-year-old Kazakh star delighted a packed house of 16,353 fans at Los Angeles’s famous Forum sports arena with an explosive performance to overwhelm Wade.
The Los Angeles-based Golovkin is aiming to become the biggest draw in boxing following the retirements in the past year of Floyd Mayweather and Manny Pacquiao — and Saturday’s spectacular win only enhances his box office appeal.
Golovkin is hoping to secure a superfight against Mexican middleweight champion, Saul Canelo Alvarez, who fights Britain’s Amir Khan in Las Vegas next month.
Golovkin threw down the gauntlet after his latest knockout performance, challenging Alvarez or Khan to meet him.
“It doesn’t matter who wins,” he said of Alvarez and Khan’s May 7 fight.
“I feel great. I’m here now, and I’m here to stay. I’m not going anywhere. Give me my belt, give me my belt! Let’s fight.”
Golovkin, who improved to 35-0 with 32 knockouts, entered the ring to loud roars, with the stadium reverberating to chants of “Triple G, Triple G” throughout.
Echoes of Prince
Wade, unbeaten in 18 fights prior to the contest, entered to the strains of Prince’s “1999”, a homage to the music superstar who regularly played concerts at the Forum before his sudden death last week.
Yet a lyric from the song — “Trying to run from the destruction” — was to prove eerily prescient for Wade, who was in trouble almost from the opening bell as Golovkin went about his assignment with ruthless efficiency.
Golovkin dropped Wade for the first time near the end of the first, flooring the American as he countered a left hook.
Although the blows that felled Wade did not appear to carry much of a sting, there was no ambiguity about the strength of the barrage he uncorked in the second.
Wade found the canvas once again after another venomous hook from Golovkin left him doubled over.
Wade rose and fought on but two left uppercuts followed by a right sent Wade crashing to the floor once more from where there was no return.
“His power is real,” the outclassed Wade said. “I tried to get comfortable but once he hits you it makes it very hard to get comfortable.
“I could have done maybe one or two things differently but he’s a great champion and he’s got everything you need to be a great champion.”
Pound for pound king?
Golovkin’s trainer, Abel Sanchez, went further, insisting the Kazakh could lay claim to being the best pound-for-pound fighter in the world after a 16th consecutive title defense.
“I think it’s obvious who the pound for pound number one is,” Sanchez said.
“I don’t think there’s ever been a fighter, in any era, in any weight division that has dominated his weight division at a championship level the way Gennady has.
“He makes good fighters look amateurish.”
Sanchez, who works with Golovkin at his mountain training camp in Big Bear, northeast of Los Angeles, said he believed the Kazakh had not yet demonstrated the full power of his punching.
“I don’t think he’s ever hit someone 100 percent,” Sanchez said. “I think he may have hit someone 100 percent in the gym, but I don’t think he’s done it in a fight. That situation will come when someone tests him.”