Gennadiy Golovkin won again, but is the end near for his career? | Photo by Toru Hanai/Getty Images
Notes on Gennadiy Golovkin, Ryan Garcia, Sebastian Fundora, Mikaela Mayer, and more in this week’s update.
Rankings go up on Mondays.
Ranked fights this week:
Welterweight: (1) Errol Spence Jr vs (3) Yordenis Ugas, Apr. 16
Welterweight: (8) Radzhab Butaev vs Eimantas Stanionis, Apr. 16
Welterweight: (9) Conor Benn vs Chris van Heerden, Apr. 16
Welterweight: (10) Cody Crowley vs Josesito Lopez, Apr. 16
Lightweight: (10) Isaac Cruz vs Yuriorkis Gamboa, Apr. 16
Upcoming Fights: (1) Tyson Fury vs (6) Dillian Whyte, Apr. 23 … (10) Tony Yoka vs Martin Bakole, May 14 … (2) Oleksandr Usyk vs (4) Anthony Joshua, TBA
Upcoming Fights: (1) Mairis Briedis vs Jai Opetaia, TBA
Upcoming Fights: (2) Dmitry Bivol vs Canelo Alvarez, May 7 … (8) Joshua Buatsi vs Craig Richards, May 21 … (1) Artur Beterbiev vs (3) Joe Smith Jr, June 18
Upcoming Fights: (1) Canelo Alvarez vs Dmitry Bivol [light heavyweight], May 7 … (2) David Benavidez vs David Lemieux, May 21 … (9) Zach Parker vs Demetrius Andrade, May 21
Notes: Gennadiy Golovkin fought for the first time since late 2020, overcoming a slow start from himself and one that gave Ryota Murata some real confidence, holding up and rallying to score a ninth round TKO and unify the IBF and WBA titles.
I think GGG still deserves to be called the best middleweight in the world for the moment, especially considering Demetrius Andrade is at least set to dabble at 168 and see how that treats him, and Jermall Charlo seems to content to say, “You know, I beat Sergiy Derevyanchenko once,” and have that be the meat of his middleweight résumé.
But yes, Golovkin at 40 is faded from his prime. Without question. I still wouldn’t be super confident anyone in this group can beat him, but the September fight with Canelo Alvarez at 168 is a whole other kettle of fish. I’m still not totally dismissing it as being an entertaining and competitive fight, especially with GGG shaking some rust, but a key concern for him will be what we’ve seen against both Murata and Derevyanchenko, where body shots are affecting Golovkin more than ever. And Canelo is pretty decent at those.
Look beyond just the negatives of his stiff start, though, and there are positives to take from Golovkin’s win over Murata. He loosened up. He started moving a little better. And when it comes to hammering away in close and breaking opponents down with thudding blows, he still has something in the tank. The punch is not gone, and the heart isn’t either, because Murata had him on the back foot looking up against it early on, and he bit down, hung in, and came back to win convincingly.
Upcoming Fights: (3) Demetrius Andrade vs Zach Parker [super middleweight], May 21 … (7) Janibek Alimkhanuly vs Danny Dignum, May 21 … (2) Jermall Charlo vs Maciej Sulecki, June 18
Notes: Tip your cap to Sebastian Fundora and Erickson Lubin. We said that was really the fight of the week, and it held up and even surpassed expectations as an early Fight of the Year contender, with Fundora coming out on the winning side of a slugfest.
Fundora and Lubin switch spots this week, with the former going up to No. 3 and the latter dropping to No. 6. Lubin is still a good fighter; his losses have come to very good opponents, and he’s still young enough that he’s got plenty of time to win a world title. Is he going to be elite? I mean, that’ll depend on how loose your definition of “elite,” probably, but he should not be written off. And trainer Kevin Cunningham made the right call to end that one and live to fight another day.
Fundora is the real deal, but will remain vulnerable, and Lubin showed at times why. But really, a 6’5” or so junior middleweight, who doesn’t seem to have trouble making the weight? A guy who can go with that sort of pace and output? He’s got cheat code elements to his game. And jeez, even if he has to move up, it would be until heavyweight that his height isn’t abnormal for his division. (He’ll never fight competitively that heavy, probably, because that’s not his frame, but you get what I mean.)
With Charlo-Castano 2 looming in mid-May, we’re getting a shot once again to keep this division cooking. The PBC side still dominate most of the top spots (and Tszyu is in the Showtime mix, too), but that’s not really the worst thing. It means we get good matchups more routinely in this division over the last few years than in many divisions combined.
Upcoming Fights: (5) Liam Smith vs Jessie Vargas, Apr. 30 … (1) Jermell Charlo vs (1) Brian Castano, May 14
Upcoming Fights: (1) Errol Spence Jr vs (3) Yordenis Ugas, Apr. 16 … (8) Radzhab Butaev vs Eimantas Stanionis, Apr. 16 … (9) Conor Benn vs Chris van Heerden, Apr. 16 … (10) Cody Crowley vs Josesito Lopez, Apr. 16 … (5) Jaron Ennis vs Custio Clayton, May 21
Upcoming Fights: (10) Montana Love vs Gabriel Valenzuela, May 7
Notes: THE RYTURN has come and gone, and Ryan Garcia is back and active, picking up a win over Emmanuel Tagoe. There was nothing all that special about the performance, as Tagoe’s ideas on how to win proved pretty useless early, and he spend the rest of the night fighting to survive, with Garcia struggling to cut off the ring effectively and build offensive momentum.
But a win’s a win, and he was never close to in danger of losing, either. Garcia is young, big at the weight for however much longer he stays at 135, and a money player. He’s a talented fighter and a threat to anyone, I think. Other than that, we have no more knowledge about Garcia than we did last week.
Upcoming Fights: (10) Isaac Cruz vs Yuriorkis Gamboa, Apr. 16 … (5) Gervonta Davis vs Rolando Romero, May 28 … (1) George Kambosos Jr vs (4) Devin Haney, June 4
Upcoming Fights: (1) Oscar Valdez vs (2) Shakur Stevenson, Apr. 30 … (3) Jamel Herring vs TBA, May 21
Notes: Luis Alberto Lopez won a mismatch on the Top Rank show nobody watched.
Upcoming Fights: (2) Mark Magsayo vs (7) Rey Vargas, July 9
Notes: Azat Hovhannisyan won a mismatch on the Garcia-Tagoe show.
Upcoming Fights: (2) Stephen Fulton Jr vs (4) Danny Roman, June 4 … (1) Murodjon Akhmadaliev vs (8) Ronny Rios, TBA
Notes: Jason Moloney won a mismatch on the Top Rank show nobody watched.
Upcoming Fights: (3) John Riel Casimero vs Paul Butler, Apr. 22 … (1) Naoya Inoue vs (2) Nonito Donaire, June 7
Upcoming Fights: (2) Kazuto Ioka vs Donnie Nietes, TBA
Notes: Junto Nakatani retained his WBO title in a mismatch on the GGG-Murata show. His opponent was game but the matchup was, frankly, absurd, way below Nakatani’s level. He remains arguable as the best flyweight in the world, but he also might move up to 115 for a big fight by the end of 2022.
Upcoming Fights: TBA
Upcoming Fights: TBA
Upcoming Fights: (4) Masataka Taniguchi vs Kai Ishizawa, Apr. 22
Upcoming Fights: (5) Errol Spence Jr vs Yordenis Ugas, Apr. 16 … (8) Tyson Fury vs Dillian Whyte, Apr. 23 … (1) Canelo Alvarez vs Dmitry Bivol, May 7 … (10) George Kambosos Jr vs Devin Haney, June 4 … (2) Oleksandr Usyk vs Anthony Joshua, TBA … (9) Kazuto Ioka vs Donnie Nietes, TBA
Notes: Mikaela Mayer won a mismatch on the Top Rank show nobody watched. Mayer did what you expected her to do against Jennifer Han, and now the hope is she gets a unification with Alycia Baumgardner or Hyun Mi Choi. The chance there is not zero percent, but it doesn’t seem good. Mikaela made clear, though, that she is willing to go to 135 to face the Taylor-Serrano winner, and that may be possible, and may even be the more likely option. But Top Rank just re-upped Mayer long-term, too, and we’ll have to see what they really want to get out of that. What’s clear is that Mayer is among the best, most polished fighters in the world, pound-for-pound.
Upcoming Fights: (1) Katie Taylor vs (3) Amanda Serrano, Apr. 30 … (10) Chantelle Cameron vs Kali Reis, TBA … (2) Claressa Shields vs (8) Savannah Marshall, TBA