INGLEWOOD, Calif. — Gennady “GGG” Golovkin knows how to put on a show regardless of the duration.
The power puncher from Kazakhstan needed just a round and a half to stay undefeated, and the announced crowd of 16,354 at the Forum on Saturday night loved every second of it.
Golovkin connected on a monster right punch to knock out Dominic Wade in the second round and retain his World Boxing Association and International Boxing Federation middleweight titles.
A native of Los Angeles, Golovkin (35-0, 32 knockouts) entertained the fans from his ring entrance to the postfight interview.
“Muchas gracias, my friends,” Golovkin told the raucous crowd.
The fireworks started toward the end of the first round when Golovkin dropped Wade (18-1, 12 KOs) for the first of three knockdowns. Wade went down twice in the second round and didn’t make it up the third time after Golovkin landed the brutal right punch on the corner of the ring.
“His power is real, it was more than I expected,” said Wade, who was the IBF mandatory challenger. “I wasn’t able to get comfortable. He’s a great champion.”
Golovkin extended his streak of knockouts to 22 and made his 16th title defense. The man known as “Triple G” is closing in on Bernard Hopkins’ record of 20 consecutive middleweight title defenses.
With Wade out of the way, the boxing world is hoping for Golovkin to fight World Boxing Council champion Saul “Canelo” Alvarez.
The Forum erupted every time Canelo was brought up during the in-ring interview. Golovkin had a message for the Mexican fighter.
“Give me my belt, I need my belt,” said Golovkin, who landed 30 power punches.
In the undercard main event, Roman “Chocolatito” Gonzalez didn’t need a knockout to prove why he’s regarded as boxing’s pound-for-pound king.
The methodical Gonzalez displayed his entire arsenal en route to an easy unanimous decision over McWilliams Arroyo (119-109, 119-109, 120-108).
Arroyo (16-3, 14 KOs) did pick up a moral victory by going the distance against Gonzalez (45-0, 38 KOs), whose knockout streak ended at 10.
The Puerto Rican had more trouble in the ring than just Gonzalez’s quick punches. In a strange sequence, Arroyo’s right sole on his Adidas shoe fell apart during the fourth round. His trainers wrapped the bottom of the shoe with tape.
Boxing fans will have to wait until Alvarez fights Amir Khan at T-Mobile Arena on May 7 to get an update on the potential showdown with Golovkin. If Alvarez comes out victorious, and he’s expected to, the WBC has ordered the Mexican fighter to start negotiations with Golovkin by May 22 or lose the belt.
Golden Boy Promotions CEO and chairman Oscar De La Hoya, Alvarez’s promoter, doesn’t seem to be in a hurry to set up Golovkin’s first mega payday. De La Hoya recently said he would prefer to let the fight “marinate.”
If De La Hoya decides to put the dream matchup on hold, Golovkin will add the WBC belt to his stable of middleweight trophies, leaving only the World Boxing Organization belt to unify the division.
Golovkin often has said his aspirations are to unify the middleweight belts, something that hasn’t been done since Hopkins captured the four major sanctioning bodies’ titles in 2004.
The Kazakh could look to set up a match with WBO champion Billy Joe Saunders of England to complete the prestigious feat. Both fighters came close to a deal earlier this year, but talks broke down and Golovkin ended up fighting Wade.
If that route falters, Golovkin could look to move up to fight super middleweights Gilberto Ramirez, the WBO champion from Mexico, or Carl Froch of England.
Froch and Golovkin were close to agreeing to a bout in Las Vegas before talks fell through, according to Tom Loeffler, Golovkin’s promoter.
Contact Gilbert Manzano at email@example.com or 702-383-0492. Follow him on Twitter: @gmanzano24