It didn’t even take Gennady Golovkin five minutes to remind the boxing world he’s still the most dangerous middleweight boxer in the world.
Golovkin knocked out Vanes Martirosyan, the man who was selected to replace Canelo Alvarez for the May 5 HBO boxing card, in just two rounds to retain the WBA, WBC and IBO middleweight titles. The knockout came 1:35 into round two, giving fans at the StubHub Center a highlight reel from Golovkin not seen since the fall of 2016.
Martirosyan started the fight relatively well. In the first round, Martirosyan did not back down when hit with Golovkin’s powerful punches and even landed a strong right-left combination that seemed to stun Golovkin for a brief moment.
The win for Golovkin, who is the sport’s longest-reigning world champion, was also historic in the sense that it tied Bernard Hopkins’ all-time consecutive middleweight title defense record at 20. This was Golovkin’s first knockout victory since defeating Kell Brook back in 2016. Golovkin’s two fights in 2017 — a unanimous decision win over Daniel Jacobs and a controversial split draw against Alvarez last September– both went the distance, snapping Golovkin’s 23-fight knockout streak that started in 2008.
The fight against Martirosyan was not even the original plan for Golovkin on Cinco De Mayo. Golovkin was originally supposed to face Alvarez at the T-Mobile Arena on pay-per-view in a rematch that was expected to draw more than a million pay-per-view buys. Alvarez tested positive twice for traces of clenbuterol. Sensing he was going to be suspended, Alvarez withdrew from the fight in early April before getting hit with a six-month suspension by the Nevada State Athletic Commission.
After a lengthy process that saw Golovkin change venue for a fight twice and multiple boxers not getting the nod to fight for the middleweight titles, Martirosyan and the StubHub Center were selected to be Golovkin’s dance partner and host venue for the fight.
As for what is next for Golovkin, the biggest fight is still a rematch against Alvarez on Mexican Independence Day weekend, which takes place in mid-September. When asked about his future plans, Golovkin simply responded by saying that he wants to face everybody.