Golovkin vs Macklin: Picks and predictions from the BLH staff

Gennady Golovkin faces Matthew Macklin tomorrow night on HBO. Will Golovkin prove to be what we're told he is, or will Macklin win his first world title in his third attempt?

Scott Christ

How would I describe the defensive skills of Gennady Golovkin and Matthew Macklin? Um, "competent, for the most part"? Golovkin gets hit a lot of the time, and we've seen both Gabe Rosado and Kassim Ouma have some success offensively, but neither of them could really battle against what came back in return. Of course, Rosado and Ouma were not natural middleweights, and Macklin is. Will that make a serious difference? One oddity from the weigh-in was Golovkin, listed at 5'9½", seeming to somewhat tower over Macklin, listed at 5'10". Is Macklin bigger than Golovkin? It doesn't appear so.

And even if there's something off about the way their heights looked at the weigh-in -- I didn't see if perhaps Golovkin was wearing American Cowboy Boots or whatever -- I'd still not expect too many middleweights, no matter how tough, to stand up to Golovkin's punishing offensive attack, unless they were top-level defensive fighters. Macklin is not a top-level defensive fighter.

How can Macklin win this fight? He's not going to outbox Golovkin, so his only shot may be to get into a toe-to-toe, bombs-away type of war, and get the stoppage in a fight where either man could be going down at any second. That could happen. I don't think it will, but that could happen. My guess is Golovkin proves to be on another level, and may even dominate Macklin en route to the stoppage, though the early rounds may look competitive. Golovkin TKO-9.

Fraser Coffeen, BloodyElbow.com

This one is pretty basic - you either think Golovkin is legit, or you don't. I fall into the first category. It's true that he has not yet faced an opponent of Macklin's caliber, and perhaps HBO is indeed a bit premature in how much they hype him up. But it's also true that he has just wrecked everyone he has fought. The guy flat out hits hard. Against Rosado, he also showed the ability to push through adversity - even when he didn't get the immediate win, he stayed in and kept on the pressure. I see him just overwhelming Macklin here. The only question I have is if (when?) he'll get the stoppage. I suspect he will. Golovkin by KO-8.

Tom Craze

On paper, there's little doubt that Matthew Macklin figures to be the toughest assignment for Gennady Golovkin yet. While the manner in which the Kazakh has torn his way through the challenges of likes of Ishida, Rosado, Proksa, and Fuchigami in quick succession has been hugely impressive, they have, ultimately, only been the challenges of Ishida, Rosado, Proksa, and Fuchigami.

Despite losing two of three since stepping up from the Shalva Jomardashvilis of the world, Macklin emerged from those defeats - to Felix Sturm and Sergio Martinez - with a good deal of credit, and did much (or, well, at least something) to repay the faith of those who consider him among the middleweight elite with that spectacular first-round knockout over Joachim Alcine last September.

It's worth noting that Golovkin fought two weeks before that Macklin-Alcine fight, and has fought twice again since. Admittedly, he clocked up less than ten full rounds in doing so, but it could count for something, and you get the feeling that Macklin would be best advised to not take any kind of rust into the ring with him against Golovkin on Saturday night, unless perhaps it's attached to some kind of heavy iron implement. Stylistically this wouldn't appear to be a favorable match-up for Macklin. While it's true that Golovkin can, and likely will, be hit, the swarming, all-activity style that served the Birmingham man so well against Sturm is simply asking for trouble against an opponent so precise, so heavy-handed, here. I think this could be over sooner than many might expect. Golovkin TKO-5.

Andrew Fruman

It would be a daring play, but I think Macklin's only chance is to take the exact opposite approach he showed against Sergio Martinez. He's not a good enough boxer to stay safe for twelve rounds, especially given his shaky stamina, so I think going right after Golovkin and trying to knock GGG out early is his best option. That might seem crazy, but as strong as Golovkin looks, his durability hasn't truly been tested yet. What happens when a strong 160lber cracks him back? It's no sure thing that he walks right through it.

That said, I think Macklin's going to try and box. He might win a couple of rounds, before GGG eventually rolls over him. Golovkin KO-8.

Kory Kitchen

"It bleeds, we can kill it."

So says Arnold Schwarzenegger when discussing the mortality of the chameleon-like alien in Predator. To the middleweights of the boxing world those words may be the only sign of shelter from the hard-punching, smooth boxing machine known as Gennady Golovkin. Thus far, Golovkin's weak spots have yet to be unveiled, perhaps waiting to be unmasked by the proper suitor. The only light at the end of the tunnel for his opponents has been the fact that his skin can tear; an unfortunate side effect of being human after all. But other than that minor detail, GGG has yet to show us anything other than heavy hands and seasoned skill.

Matthew Macklin will be his toughest test to date. Macklin, while no world-beater, is a legitimate contender and knows the position he is in. He is the underdog with little to lose. He knows that fans and boxing insiders are drooling over Golovkin like a child with their new toy on Christmas morning. Plus, a victory for Macklin likely grants him a title shot, perhaps another chance at Sergio Martinez.

While I don't think an upset here would be as impossible as some may believe, I still have to go with Golovkin. Both are heavy handed, but Golovkin's skill set is very solid, possibly even the best in the middleweight division. They will both land their share of shots, and I expect both men to shed a little blood. But, at the end of the day (!), Golovkin's greater skills and boxing ability will allow him to score from the outside as well as the inside. He is more versatile than Macklin and it will show in the mid to later rounds when he begins to pick his opponent apart. Golovkin TKO-10.

Dave Oakes

This should be a really good fight between two top class middleweights. This is, on paper at least, the toughest fight of Golovkin's career. Macklin is experienced at the top level and won't be fazed by the occasion. To counter that, Golovkin is the biggest puncher Macklin has faced. It's one thing trading shots with Sturm and Martinez, it could be an altogether different ball game with the mallet-fisted Kazakh.

Golovkin's punch power is well known but people shouldn't underestimate Macklin's, he's a serious puncher, as was shown against Amin Asikainen and Joachim Alcine. Golovkin's chin isn't the hardest to find either, he can walk onto punches at times. Neither fighter is what you could call a slickster but both have good fundamentals and are better stylistically than they are given credit for.

A chess match isn't expected here. The opening couple of rounds might be cagey as they weigh each other up but eventually they will start to look to cause serious damage to one another. I wouldn't be surprised if both boxers found themselves on the floor at some point. The fight may well come down to who can take the others shots the better and last the pace the better, which is why I'm leaning towards Golovkin. Macklin has struggled with his stamina in the past and that, combined with Golovkin's power, points to a late stoppage victory for Golovkin. Golovkin TKO-10.

Final Tally: Gennady Golovkin 6, Matthew Macklin 0.

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