Last night's (Sat., Oct. 18, 2014) HBO card from inside the StubHub Center in Carson, California, featured a boxing doubleheader occupied exclusively by knockout punchers and, in a turn of events so unsurprising it was almost surprising, both fights ended violently.
In the main event, rising star Gennady Golovkin (31-0, 28 KO) demonstrated once again that he can punch like few others, dispatching Marco Antonio Rubio (59-7-1, 51 KO) in under five minutes. The durable Mexican veteran, who missed weight by 1.8 pounds and made no effort to cut more, seemed more determined than that debacle would suggest in the first round, landing his share of body blows and steering clear of the ropes.
Once "GGG" landed clean, though, the writing was on the wall; a heavy right uppercut sent Rubio unsteadily to the ropes, where Golovkin pressed the attack before sending him to the deck with a left hook upstairs. Rubio, strangely, seemed disinterested in getting up, rising after the 10-count and protesting for unknown reasons.
In any case, Golovkin did not disappoint, showing off his huge power and killer instinct against a competent opponent. "I don't like dancing, I like fight," Golovkin said after his win. "This is true fight. Rubio didn't step back. He's a good fighter. I respect him."
The question now is whether any of the other standouts at middleweight (Miguel Cotto, Peter Quillin, Danny Jacobs) will step into the ring against the Kazakh destroyer or whether he will have to ply his trade eight pounds north.
Considering super middleweight titlist Carl Froch's stated intention to "swerve" Golovkin, pickings might be slim wherever he goes.
In the co-feature, unbeaten Jamaican puncher Nicholas Walters (25-0, 21 KO) scored the biggest and most impressive win of his career, knocking out multi-division champion and 2012 "Fighter of the Year" Nonito Donaire (33-3, 21 KO) at featherweight.
In the early going, the fight was relatively even, Donaire using his signature counter-punching to blunt Walters' offense. His brightest moment came in the waning seconds of the second round, when a counter left hook left Walters reeling. Unfortunately for Donaire, he had no time to capitalize and things went downhill quickly. Walters scored the first knockdown of Donaire's career in the next round with a right uppercut and, from then on, it was all one-way traffic.
Walters, working behind an excellent jab, methodically battered Donaire for the next few rounds, scoring both at range and in frequent point-blank exchanges. Late in the sixth round, a bleeding Donaire engaged Walters with his back to the ropes. The Filipino Flash overextended on a left hook and ate a massive overhand right that sent him face-first to the canvas.
Donaire beat the count, but his legs weren't there, prompting the stoppage at the official time of 2:59.
"The Axe Man" now finds himself in the elite of a stacked division that includes the likes of Jhonny Gonzalez, Abner Mares, and Evgeny Gradovich, all of whom pose intriguing challenges. Personally, I can't wait to see where he goes from here.
As for Donaire, the notion that Rigondeaux ended the former's reign as an elite fighter seems to be validated. Combined with his rough performances against Darchinyan and Vetyeka, it's hard to see the FIlipino slugger regaining his old form. He's still just 31, so he has time to turn things around, but the future is not bright for a man just recently considered one of the pound-for-pound elite.
There you have it.
For quick results and round-by-round coverage of the night's proceedings, click here.