Gennadiy Golovkin makes his return to the ring and his debut on DAZN on Saturday night, facing Canada’s Steve Rolls in a main event from Madison Square Garden in New York.
Our staff make their picks, which are predictable, but hey, maybe you’re on the toilet, give it a read.
I think Steve Rolls seems like a great guy, and as I’ve said a few times, I have no issue with him taking this fight. Of course he did, it’s a chance to change his entire life, not just his career. If he leaves jaws hanging by beating Gennadiy Golovkin, all of a sudden Steve Rolls is in the discussion for a fight with Canelo Alvarez or Callum Smith or anybody at 160/168. If he loses, so what? What changes? Nothing, other than more people have heard of him now.
Man, I know we’ve had a run of upsets, but I just can’t see this one at all. Julian Williams was a top 10 guy. I picked Jamel Herring. And Andy Ruiz Jr had at least fought at a high level as a pro before, and fought OK. It’s just that I’ve seen Gennadiy fight a lot, against varying levels of opposition. He doesn’t fuck around and he doesn’t take anyone lightly. I fully, 100 percent expect Steve Rolls to give his best effort. But I think Vanes Martirosyan, Gabriel Rosado, Nobuhiro Ishida, Matthew Macklin, Curtis Stevens, Osumanu Adama, Marco Antonio Rubio, Martin Murray, Willie Monroe Jr, and Dominic Wade all did, too, and Golovkin trounced every one of them. GGG is a fighter who consistently proves very conclusively that he’s on a different level when he’s on a different level. Golovkin TKO-3
Last week Andy Ruiz made me look like a dummy by writing him off, saying I wasn’t going to overthink the matchup as I expected Joshua to just plow through him. That should’ve probably taught me a lesson, but lo and behold here I am, taking the exact same stance on this fight. Ruiz at least had a great amateur pedigree to go along with some experience on the world level, while Rolls hasn’t even really fought anyone worth mentioning as a professional. Golovkin, now 37, is no spring chicken and has slipped some, but at his level even a little slippage still leaves him well above most of the middleweight pack. So if Rolls pulls off another unthinkable upset in back-to-back weeks, I’m just going to chalk it up to divine intervention and place all my bets on every no-hoper for the rest of the year.
If you’re looking for a little more “analysis,” well: Rolls isn’t much of a mover, isn’t particularly slick, and tends to cover up as he comes forward. Golovkin is probably salivating just thinking about it. It’s a good style matchup for him. And once Golovkin starts piercing Rolls’ guard with those ramrod jabs of his, I expect Rolls to realize he’s in over his head — and I don’t think he has the adaptability to effectively change his approach. I’m going with Golovkin via early stoppage. Golovkin TKO-3
Patrick L. Stumberg
Of all the potential takeaways from Golovkin’s two wars with Canelo, I don’t think “this guy would lose to Steve Rolls” is one of them. A decent jab and decent infighting aren’t the sorts of things to trouble what may still be the best middleweight on the planet. Hell, Golovkin’s power might not even be necessary here; unless new trainer Johnathon Banks has imparted some of the agonizing passivity he showed in the ring unto his pupil, GGG can win this purely on the strength of his jab and general boxing acumen.
I’m genuinely interested to see what adjustments Golovkin’s made, even if that involves blunting his trademark seek-and-destroy aggression. He reminds people why he’s so scary with a genuine beatdown. Golovkin TKO-5
Thunder doesn’t often strike twice on back-to-back weekends in boxing. If Steve Rolls can upset the applecart against the formidable Kazakh inside the Garden, then we all might as well throw in the towel ourselves. DAZN looking to spread their wings across Canada has a lot to do with Rolls’ selection for this tune-up bout, with the eyes of GGG firmly on a Canelo trilogy this fall. Swapping trainer Abel Sanchez for Johnathon Banks as well as adding a nutritionist and strength and conditioning expert to his team, I’m expecting Golovkin 2.0 this weekend — whether Rolls will put up enough of a fight for us to gauge any improvements is the question.
Rolls hasn’t been in with anyone of note and will find this step up in opposition a daunting one — it’s hard to see how the underdog lasts more than six rounds against the spiteful, heavy-handed former world champion. Rolling in the Deep springs to mind. Golovkin KO-3