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Golovkin vs Brook: Fight preview and analysis

Gennady Golovkin faces Kell Brook on Saturday in London.

Gennady 'GGG' Golovkin and Kell Brook Press Conference Photo by Jordan Mansfield/Getty Images
Scott Christ is the managing editor of Bad Left Hook and has been covering boxing for SB Nation since 2006.

Let’s break down this Saturday’s HBO (US) and Sky Box Office (UK) main event, between three-body middleweight titleholder Gennady Golovkin and IBF welterweight titleholder Kell Brook.

Gennady Golovkin vs Kell Brook

Gennady Golovkin

Gennady 'GGG' Golovkin and Kell Brook Press Conference Photo by Jordan Mansfield/Getty Images

Record: 35-0 (32 KO) ... Streak: W35 ... Last 5: 5-0 ... Last 10: 10-0 ... Stance: Orthodox ... Height/Reach: 5'10½" / 70" ... Age: 34

Thoughts: My thoughts on Gennady Golovkin are simple: he’s a bad motherf***er. Golovkin has trucked the middleweight division with such brutal force that basically nobody at 160 wants a damn thing to do with him anymore.

So on Saturday, he fights a welterweight. A good welterweight, mind you. An unbeaten welterweight who has shown power and skill. But a welterweight.

This is not what any of us wanted to see Golovkin doing this month. It should have been GGG against Canelo. But it’s not. Instead, both of them are facing questionable opposition from the UK. Golovkin is going on the road, which could be dangerous if he weren’t so good, and weren’t so likely to end things early.

If this fight was a challenge for Gennady Golovkin when all is said and done, it will have been a major surprise.

Kell Brook

Gennady Golovkin & Kell Brook Public Work-Outs Photo by Bryn Lennon/Getty Images

Record: 36-0 (25 KO) ... Streak: W36 ... Last 5: 5-0 ... Last 10: 10-0 ... Stance: Orthodox ... Height/Reach: 5'9" / 69" ... Age: 30

Thoughts: It’s hard to fault Kell Brook. He’s just taking a huge fight, a massive opportunity for him if he can, or even if he’s just competitive.

This is a fighter whose career has all but died since he went on the road and beat Shawn Porter for the IBF welterweight title in 2014. He’s tried to get a big fight. He and promoter Eddie Hearn thought they were finally close to a deal to fight Amir Khan earlier this year, before Khan was suddenly announced as Canelo Alvarez’s May 7 opponent. At that time, Brook said he’d be willing to fight Gennady Golovkin, the guy Alvarez was avoiding.

Mostly, we thought it was just Brook making a statement that he’d never have to back up. He wasn’t going to fight Gennady Golovkin. After all, it was still hopeful that Golovkin would get Canelo in September.

That didn’t happen. Neither did a proposed fight in London between Golovkin and Chris Eubank Jr, and when that one fell through, promoter Hearn took the same offer to Brook, who jumped right on it. And that’s how the IBF welterweight titleholder, who has only dabbled over 147 in his career, and never even at a full 154, came to be matched with the middleweight destroyer, GGG.

I mentioned his August 2014 win over Porter, which is far and away the best victory of his career. What he’s done since then is, frankly, awful for a guy calling himself world champion. He’s beaten two mandatory challengers — JoJo Dan and Kevin Bizier — and one voluntary, Frankie Gavin, who was no better an opponent than Dan or Bizier. It’s been a shockingly bad title reign, and the fact that it’s been going on for two years only reminds us how quickly time can pass us by. Two years, no decent title defenses.

That doesn’t seem to be Brook’s fault, necessarily. Whether or not it’s his team’s fault is another matter. The reality has always been that to fight one of the bigger names in the division, Kell was going to have to go to the U.S., unless it was Amir Khan, and that fight seems as if it will never happen, or if it does, will happen much too late to really be interesting.

Brook is not just stepping up in weight, jumping up two divisions, he’s also taking an even bigger step up in class, and with due respect to Shawn Porter, a good fighter, the gap between Porter and Golovkin is just as big as the gap between 147 and 160, if not bigger.

As a professional, Golovkin has never been so much as challenged. Brook has, by Porter, and also notably by Carson Jones in their first fight. Brook’s a better fighter than he was when he scraped past Jones, but is he better than he was in 2014 against Porter? This is debatable at best, because the evidence we’ve seen doesn’t amount to much.

This is a huge ask of Kell Brook. Respect him for taking the chance, but be realistic: he’s almost certainly in over his head here.

Matchup Grade: D+. No lower because Brook IS a good fighter. It’s just that he’s a good welterweight, and Golovkin is a great middleweight. I honestly do not see this fight winding up competitive at all. I don’t think Brook does anything better than GGG, to be honest. Whereas Amir Khan had big hand speed advantage over Canelo Alvarez, Brook has no big advantages whatsoever.

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