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Gennady Golovkin vs. Vanes Martirosyan preview and predictions

Gennady Golovkin & Vanes Martirosyan Media Workout Photo by Harry How/Getty Images

This Saturday (May 5, 2018) was supposed to feature a rematch between middleweight king Gennady Golovkin and Mexican superstar Canelo Alvarez in Las Vegas. Then Alvarez tested positive for clenbuterol, one thing led to another, and now Golovkin is fighting Vanes Martirosyan at StubHub Centre in Carson, California.

MMAmania will have LIVE coverage of the event, starting with the HBO broadcast at 11:00 PM ET.

The broadcast opens with undisputed women’s welterweight champion Cecilia Braekhus making her U.S. debut against Rhode Island’s Kali Reis, but we know what you’re here for. Let’s dig into this mess of a main event.

Name: Gennady “GGG” Golovkin

Age: 36

Record: 37-0-1, 33 KO

Last Five Fights: Saul Alvarez (Split Draw), Danny Jacobs (UD), Kell Brook (TKO-5), Dominic Wade (KO-2), David Lemieux (TKO-8)

Significant Victories (other than those mentioned above): Curtis Stevens, Matthew Macklin, Grzegorz Proksa


Name: Vanes Martirosyan

Age: 32

Record: 36-3-1, 21 KO

Last Five Fights: Erislandy Lara (UD Loss), Ishe Smith (MD), Jermell Charlo (UD Loss), Willie Nelson (UD), Mario Alberto Lozano (UD)

Significant Victories (other than those mentioned above): None. Did fight Lara to a technical draw in 2012, though.


Martirosyan was literally Plan D for Team Golovkin. After Canelo pulled out, they turned to undefeated super welterweight prospect Jaime Munguia, only to get slapped down by the Nevada State Athletic Commission. Plan C was Spike O’Sullivan, who initially agreed to the fight before the move from pay-per-view (PPV) to regular HBO lowered the price and changed his mind.

Despite a strong push from Golovkin’s IBF mandatory, Sergiy Derevyanchenko, Martirosyan got the call.

Martirosyan’s career is one defined by almosts. He drew with Erislandy Lara when the Cuban was the 154-pound division’s top dog behind Canelo. He almost beat Demetrius Andrade, dropping him early before ultimately losing a split decision. He almost beat Jermell Charlo, who’s now one of the top three super welterweights in the game.

I guess he can take solace in the fact that this won’t be another “almost.”

Vanes is a perfectly good super welterweight, sitting somewhere at the bottom or fringes of the Top 10. He’s got a good jab, a nice body attack, and won’t be making an effort to stink out the joint. But what can you possibly expect him to do against the best middleweight of this generation on less than a month’s notice? Especially when he hasn’t fought in two years and his current coach, none other than Edmond Tarverdyan, took his last boxing protege, Arif Magomedov, from an unbeaten prospect to losing two of his last three in one-sided fashion.

One of those losses was to a full-time landscaper in a fight where Magomedov was a 50-to-1 favorite.

Even if you think Golovkin is slowing down with age, he’s still bigger, more powerful, more effective with his jab, and puts Martirosyan’s body punching to shame. The only question is whether Golovkin will carry him a few rounds for the sake of the “Big Drama Show.”

Not one tangible or intangible is going Martirosyan’s way. Golovkin smokes him in the middle rounds.

Prediction: Golovkin via fifth-round TKO

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